The artisan flour is Ancient Agro Organic Sonora Wheat Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour (Agro):
The “regular” flour is Natural Directions Organic Whole Wheat Flour (“ND”):
Here’s what the two flours actually look like:
The ND is on the left and the Agro is on the right. The ND is slightly pinkish in color and soft to the touch. The Agro is a definite light yellow in color and feels mealy when I rub it between my fingers.
I decided to use the flours to make my favorite whole wheat bread, whole wheat walnut cranberry.
In retrospect, I should probably have used a simpler bread – say, plain whole wheat bread – because the walnuts and cranberry ended up adding “distractions”, so to speak, when trying to compare the flavors and textures of two types of whole wheat flour. However, I didn’t use all the bread I made in my taste tests (as I expected, or, at least, hoped), so now I’m left to enjoy a bunch of my favorite bread, whole wheat walnut cranberry, instead of plain whole wheat bread. :)
Here’s what the two sets of unbaked bread looked like:
The ND version is on the left (the round loaf), and the Agro version is on the right (the oblong loaf). The ND loaf has a definite pink tint, like the ND flour, while the Agro loaf is yellow, like the Agro flour.
Here’s what the two sets of loaves looked like after having been baked:
Both versions rose nicely and provided beautiful little loaves.
The Taste Test
So what did people think of the taste? I set up a little table at Ava’s Downtown Market and Deli and offered people a blind taste test. I told them that I had two sets of bread that contained all the same ingredients, with the exception of the whole wheat flour. I asked them to sample each version, tell me which they preferred, and why. After they gave me their response, I told them which is which.
Here’s what people had to say:
People were pretty even divided in their preferences. Overall 16 people preferred Agro over ND, 14 preferred ND over Agro, and 2 couldn’t taste a difference. Some observations:
- A couple of people noted that one or the other version was “sweeter”. I suspect this might be caused by their having a cranberry in the sample of bread they thought was sweeter and no cranberry in the other sample.
- When two people together tasted the samples, the second person’s response tended to mimic the first person’s. A more formal taste test should probably isolate individuals before having them provide their response. An alternative would be to have them write down their comments, rather than providing them to me orally. However, that would have required a lot more effort on the part of the tasters, and I wanted to make it as easy for them as possible. Also, oral responses enabled me to ask for clarifications when needed.
- The descriptors provided in the table above are, for the most part, the exact words that the responders provided. I found it curious that some people thought Agro was drier/moister/more flavorful/more floury/etc. than ND, while other people thought the exact opposite.
The whole wheat walnut cranberry bread I made uses half white flour and half whole wheat flour, which is standard for most recipes that call for whole wheat flour. The owner of the artisan flour company asked me to try a new taste test that involved a plain whole wheat bread (i.e., no distractions) that uses all whole wheat flour. Stay posted for the results of plain, all-whole-wheat-bread taste test…