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.
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.
From the photo above you can see how Halfreda showed a weaker structure when proved than the Holdfast and Yeoman wheats.
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 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.
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.
3 thoughts on “Hallfreda, Yeoman and Holdfast yeasted trials”
Thank you for this interesting test and report.
I would make a comment about your scientific method. Not so much for this article, but based on reading a few of your articles this morning.
It seems very scientific to subject each flour to a standard bake with a standard hydration to compare the loaves.
I think this method is erroneous.
Let us say you settled for a 65% hydration with a dough development plan (coil folding and rest times etc). Were you to compare say Mulika to a modern Canadian flour the Canadian flour would not fare very well. That is because the hydration and dough development is not suited to high glutenin flours.
O.K It’s an extreme example. Here’s a metaphor. With rocket fuels some are higher calorie than others. An engineer comparing fuels must alter the oxygen injection to ensure each fuel burns cleanly and at it’s best.
So too in comparing flours we must alter the hydration and the schedule to get the very best out of each flour in order to compare them.
So the false precision of using a fixed method is lost. However with a full lab. that precision could be regained by chemical analysis. Yup, I don’t have a full lab. either.
I say all of this not as a theoretician, but as a home baker of some forty years using organic flours and grains from the U.K.
I do hope this isn’t a boring post, nor unwelcome.
Thanks for your work. I find it so very informative.
One day millers will publish the W factor for their flours. Such a helpful measure.
I baked a 3 loaves from a bag of Green Acres ‘Yeoman’ ’21 harvest (Felin Ganol milled) . Very disappointing taste …. very bland . Good to work with and a very decent rise but without the taste what’s the point .
Ah that’s disappointing to hear that you found it bland tasting. I like the taste of yeoman personally, I find it quite nutty tasting. But everyone’s taste profile is different. If Anne and Andrew from Felin Ganol are milling another flour from Green Acres it would be worth giving it a try until you find the one that you like best. I hope you will try another.