Club wheat: Functionally, the best sub-class and sub-species in soft wheat

© Copyright 2009 AACC International.
Published January 2009.

A.D. Bettge. USDA-ARS WWQL, Pullman, WA

Bettge, A.D. 2009. Club wheat: Functionally, the best sub-class and sub-species in soft wheat. Online. AACC International Cereal Science Knowledge Database

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Club wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. compactum) composes a subclass of soft white wheat, and is a component of two other subclasses, within the U.S. grain grading system. Club wheat is grown almost exclusively in the Pacific North West (PNW) area of the U.S., representing about 5–10% of PNW soft wheat production, or about 360,000 tonnes/year. Only small amounts of club wheat are utilized as a pure class; it is mostly blended with soft white, forming the market sub-class “Western White”. Club wheat does possess unique end-use qualities that may justify its use as an unblended, pure class: its flour yield is 2% (on experimental mills) to 3% (on a MIAG semi-commercial mill) greater than that of soft common wheat; its break flour yield is similarly 2–5% greater, despite having NIR and SKCS wheat hardness values similar to that of soft white. Club wheat kernels can be thought of as providing greater amounts of patent-grade flour than any other class of wheat. The milling properties of club wheats mean that mills necessarily need to re-balance their mill flow to accommodate increased flour yield early in the milling process to maximize extraction. Club wheats, bred specifically for reduced protein content, also have fewer HMW-glutenin genes. Typically, the null/6/2+12 pattern predominates. As such club wheat has less potential for gluten strength / elasticity or dough water absorption (3–5% less than soft white absorption). Club wheat flour is therefore eminently suited to production of cookies/biscuits, requiring less bake-out and producing a more tender product. Club wheat flour, however, is best used for cake-baking, especially Japanese sponge cake production, where cake volumes are greater than those of soft white wheats, which also produce excellent cakes.

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