Frederick wheat was developed only in the 1900s in Ontario by a researcher looking for wheat that performs well in colder climes.
Historically, ryes and other less glutenous grains, like barley, were the grains of choice in cold areas, but as demand for wheat grew, researchers like Frederick Gfeller, for whom the wheat is named, looked for ways to produce deliciously flavored wheats for baking applications in northern locations.
Phenolic compounds are what gives red wheats their distinctive color, and they also impart a strong taste–one of the reasons our Glenn bread is so unique and almost like a spice cake, or that Red Fife is so celebrated for its flavor.
Being a white wheat means that Frederick is devoid of that oomph, and being a winter wheat means it is naturally lower in gluten and starches due to the natural inputs available when the wheat is growing. The end result is a grain (and eventual bread) that is incredibly delicate in flavor, completely naturally taking on a taste that some describe as more akin to a pastry flour.
In sweet applications, you can use less sugar when cooking with Frederick as there’s no need to drawn out the “savory” flavors of many other wheats. In a single-grain sourdough bread, that same lack of “wheatiness” creates a bread that tastes sweeter naturally.
This is a very low-gluten strain of wheat, less so even than our low-gluten Warthog, which is a hard red wheat. Red wheats tend to have more flavor compounds than white, creating more of a wheat-y or bread-y flavor in a flour.
Couple that with the fact that Frederick is soft (rather than hard) and winter (rather than spring) wheat, and it has a much more delicate flavor and texture than many of the other wheats we use.
You can see this new Frederick in the middle—it’s the very while, slightly golden grain in the middle. Notice how fat and round it is compared to the grain on the right. That’s spelt, another grain with a light flavor and low gluten.
Ancient grains tend to have the more elongated shape you see in the spelt, while modern wheats (as you can see in the grain on the left, which is a hard red spring wheat, Glenn) tend to be more rounded and compact.
The “white” color of the Frederick soft white winter wheat is especially striking compared to the left bowl of Glenn, which is a red wheat, and has a distinctive strawberry-hue in this light. The spelt on the right is darker than the Frederick, but doesn’t have that pink-y tint you get with red wheats.
Frederick is a Canadian cultivar, so it seems like it would have some similarity to Red Fife, a famously flavorful wheat we also made a single-grain bread from. But it couldn’t be more different!
It has such a lovely soft texture, in fact, that it’s commonly used in pastry flour blends.
I find that Frederick has the most in common with einkorn, an ancient grain. However, einkorn is incredibly hard to work with (unlike modern wheats, it has a very hard hull that must be carefully polished off the grain, rendering it twice as expensive as any other grain we use), so Frederick has the benefit of being easier to grow, easier to harvest, and thus more supportive of our local agri-system.
Ingredients: Freshly-milled Frederick wheat from Lakeview Organic Grain, water, natural levain, Amagansett Sea Salt.