- I suggest you always go with a organic or chemical free grains. You are taking the time to mill the flour use the best wheat berries.
- The next choice is to buy a spring berry, instead of a winter berry. The difference is the spring berry is planted in the spring by the farmer and it grows all season and is harvested. The winter berry is planted as a second crop after the spring wheat. When the winter wheat is planted the soil is still warm and the wheat grows some, then the cold weather stops the growth and over the winter it goes dormant until the following spring. Then it will finish growing and finally be harvested. This starting and stopping of the growth reduces the protein or gluten in the grain.
When I first started to mill my own flour, I didn't know that much about the different grains. There is nothing like experience to teach you that cakes made with a hard grain (hard red or white wheat) would bounce off the wall due to the high gluten.
Understanding the different grains and characteristics of each will help you with all your baking items. Cookies, cakes, muffins any baked item that is chemically leavened with a baking powder or baking soda will need grain a that has low gluten to create a tender textured finished product.
Soft White or Soft Red Wheat = Pastry Flour
My first choice for making baked items that are chemically leavened with baking powder or soda is a soft white spring wheat. I usually choose a soft white wheat berry over a soft red wheat berry just to keep the end product lighter in color. Both will work fine, it just depends on what you want the final product to look like. The other grains below are often substituted as part of the flour in the recipe and mixed with the soft white to produce a unique mix.
Heirloom Grains = Spelt or Others
Spelt is an heirloom grain that has gluten but not as much as a hard wheat. You could use this in cookies, or mixed with a soft wheat berry. I would not use 100% spelt flour it you are making a cake.
Oat Groats = Oat Flour
Oats do not have gluten, and sometimes you want the cookie to be very tender. Like short bread cookies, which have a melt in your mouth texture. Mixing a soft wheat with oat flour could be an option. Oats do have a taste so consider that when choosing oats.
I do not mill my own soy flour, because I have a stone mill and soy has some oil which is not good for stone mills. A small amount of soy flour is used as a dough conditioner when making bread. When you add soy to a cookie recipe it gives the cookies a very soft, melt in your mouth texture. It only take a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 c. for the recipe.
Pearled Barley = Barley Flour
Barley flour does not have gluten and like the soy it also gives cookies a soft texture. The barley gives the cookies a nutty taste and you only need a few tablespoons in the recipe.
There are many other options but these are my usual mixes. You can use all soft white flour in your cookie recipes but if you substitute some of the flour in the recipe for a different grain you can come up with a wonderful cookie mix that is unique in taste and texture.