Hallfreda, Yeoman and Holdfast yeasted trials

Harvest 2021 at Green Acres Farm, Shropshire has been successfully completed and the grain has gone off for sampling. Mark has milled the first grains on his Alma Pro stone mill on the farm.

I am testing Hallfreda, Yeoman and Holdfast using instant yeast to get a standard comparison between the three wheats and test how they bake.

I am using sifted white flour, sifted to the same grade by the Alma Pro. Being stone ground flour, rather than roller milled, the flour contains most of the germ and some of the very fine bran particles.

All three wheats were treated the same and made at the same time.

They were all made with 500g flour, 4g instant yeast, 7g fine sea salt, 330g water (66% hydration) in the first instance. The Holdfast flour needed an additional 20g water (70% hydration) to reach the same consistency as the Hallfreda and the Yeoman. I use the stretch and fold method to develop the dough.

Halberd

This wheat has been grown as part of the Liveseed trials, a European wide programme that Green Acres participates in as an organic farm testing wheat seeds for suitability. Halfreda is a Swedish wheat developed by LM Seeds for the Northern European Market. I tested a sample of Hallfreda in October 2020 prior to planting and the results of this can be found here https://www.millingfresh.com/fresh-milling-with-halfreda-and-montana-wheats/.

I have not yet received the sampling results so cannot indicate protein strength or falling number, but the sifted flour felt stickier and heavier to work with than the Yeoman or Holdfast. It had similar handling qualities to a white rye flour initially. The stickiness reduced as the gluten developed. The dough proved more quickly than the other two wheats but did not fill the tin to the same height.

Hallfreda is the dough on the left of this photo, Holdfast in the middle and Yeoman to the right

From the photo above you can see how Halfreda showed a weaker structure when proved than the Holdfast and Yeoman wheats.

Hallfreda sifted yeasted

It baked well with a red crust colour, you can see in the crumb photo above how it had started to over proof slightly. It tasted good, sweet and nutty and the sifted flour has an attractive darker colour than a roller milled white flour.

Yeoman

Yeoman was first bred (from a British wheat, Browick, and Canadian Red Fife) in 1916 (see https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/a-brief-history-of-wheat/ and http://berrischarnley.com/pdfs/charnley-landmark-2009.pdf for more information)to help feed the country during the First World War. It is a high yielding wheat suited to British conditions and was part of the “Home Grown Wheat Solution” based on securing a better price for wheats grown in the UK that could compete in terms of baking quality with those imported from abroad.

Yeoman is an easy flour to work with. The dough developed well at 66% hydration. It rose well in the tin. It resulted in a slightly less voluminous loaf than Holdfast or Hallfreda and has a paler crust colour than the other two. It can be seen at the centre of the photo below for comparison.

Holdfast Left, Yeoman Middle, Hallfreda Right

Holdfast

This wheat variety was bread in 1935, a mix between Yeoman and White Fife, it is high yielding and was a popular home grown wheat during the Second World War. It baked beautifully as you can see in the photo above, it developed well during the stretches and folds and has a lovely even crumb and golden crust. It required an additional 20g of water as it mixed stiffer than the other two doughs. I would expect the protein content to be higher in Holdfast than in Yeoman and Hallfreda when the results come in.

It is an easy wheat to work with, bakes well and tastes good.

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