Ontario wheat projects
By Michael Reimer
By Michael Reimer
Grain Farmers of Ontario is working to improve the functionality and appeal of Ontario wheat for use in Canadian baked goods.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is working to improve the functionality and appeal of Ontario wheat for use in Canadian baked goods. Part of its approach involves a partnership with the Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI) in Winnipeg, Man. Through this partnership there are many exciting projects underway examining the potential of existing and new classes and varieties of Ontario wheat in the production of pan breads, pitas, bagels, tortillas and artisan breads.
CIGI has 40 years of experience working with bakery clients both in Canada and around the world to promote and demonstrate the application and versatility of Canadian field crops in different end products. With this experience has come world-class knowledge of milling and baking processes that is now being utilized to incorporate high-quality Ontario wheat into all types of traditional and non-traditional products. CIGI is home to state-of-the-art lab- and pilot-scale milling and baking facilities, which allow for the production of all types of flour and baked goods on both a small and a commercial scale. Over the years, CIGI has developed the knowledge and expertise to replicate the milling and baking procedures utilized by a variety of end-users throughout North America and the rest of the world.
An example of a recent work with Ontario wheat at CIGI, funded by Grain Farmers of Ontario, successfully demonstrates that Ontario wheat can be incorporated into pita flour blends to improve dough handling properties as well as the sensory attributes of the final baked product. Another project underway aims to identify the flour-quality characteristics of specific Ontario-grown wheat varieties and match these characteristics with suitable end products. Testing at CIGI will examine how two new classes of wheat in Ontario, hard white winter and durum wheat, can be used in products such as whole grain and artisan bread.
In addition to milling and baking activities, CIGI is involved in extensive quality testing with Ontario wheat. Grain Farmers of Ontario runs the Ontario Quality Scoop program to keep the Ontario wheat industry up to date on the quality of the new crop by having CIGI perform milling, analytical and baking tests on hard and soft wheat samples immediately following harvest. The aim of these types of programs is to continue to improve Ontario wheat quality and consistency as well as create awareness of the opportunities that exist for Ontario wheat.
Michael Reimer is the Ontario Wheat Technical Specialist for Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI).