Shepherd's Grain maintains longstanding relationships with both private and public wheat breeders. Communication with the wheat breeders gives us the ability to identify which varieties may be acceptable for our high standards.
Wheat & Flour Quality
We rely on the opinions of the wheat quality councils, which are made up of millers, universities, and scientists. These councils identify varieties that are not acceptable, and this process is an early gate to eliminate varieties that we will not accept.
Working with varieties that are at least rated acceptable by the councils, we recognize that varieties also have different sensory attributes. For instance, there may be a Hard Red Winter variety that bakes into an impressive looking loaf of bread. But is its crumb and crust color appealing? What about its flavor? How does its aroma hit the nose? These attributes can vary widely between varieties. Shepherd's Grain performs its own bake tests to pick the best of the best of the wheat varieties available to farmers.
This process results in an Accepted Variety List that we provide to our farmers. These varieties perform well in the field, and they are the cream of the crop for the bakery setting. Because our farmers want to grow the highest quality food they can, these bake tests are invaluable.
At harvest time each Shepherd's Grain farmer submits a small sample of their wheat to go through farinograph and bake testing. This provides us data for each grower, including protein, absorption, mixing tolerance, stability, loaf volume, etc. We know the variety grown by each farmer is excellent, and we know everything about that variety once it is harvested.
Shepherd's Grain is a uniquely managed identity-preserved supply chain, and it takes a lot of hard work and diligence by the farms, Shepherd's Grain, and the flour mill, to make it happen. The commodity wheat system is not set up for identity-preservation of grains, and while mills try to manage the quality of the wheat that comes into their facilities, they often do not know much about that wheat except for its protein content.
Shepherd's Grain is different and is able to micro-manage quality at levels that most mills cannot, and this results in superior quality and consistency.
Grain Craft, the exclusive miller of Shepherd's Grain flour in the U.S., identity-preserves Shepherd's Grain wheat through the milling process. Grain Craft's expertise on wheat varieties, flour production, and their management of quality control at their mills brings Shepherd's Grain's World Class Flours to market.