Although a hybrid developed by man, Triticale (Tricosecate) has been around for well over a century. It was first bred around 1845 in the northern hemisphere both in Sweden and Scotland. Basically it is a cross between wheat & rye giving it a combination of characteristics derived from both grains.
The protein content of Triticale is actually higher than that of wheat. On the other hand it also has a lower gluten content than wheat (which could be good news to gluten intolerants, not cealiacs though because it does contain gluten after all). So as much as it has wheat like qualities, it has inherited the rye like components of low gluten, but I will reinstate here that it is not a gluten free flour.
It was only after the 1970s that farmers’ started to grow this grain on a commercial basis. However, its low level of gluten has kept the grain relatively unpopular with the bread baking fraternity. A suggested solution around this has been to blend wheat flour with the Triticale flour 70:30. This works very well, having tried it myself as shown in my featured picture above.
In an attempt to better understand the idiosyncracies of this grain, further ferreting of info on this grain has revealed to me that unlike in the case of rye flour it actually has a very low tolerance in the absorption of water/hydration. Therefore, I would not recommend high hydration levels, 60% if making a 100% Triticale bread is a good start and only increase the hydration level if the dough feels too dry. Density of the crumb is higher on an unblended version compared to one that has had wheat mixed into it. However, what is also interesting is that the grain appears to benefit from the lactic fermentation process of a natural leaven. This helps to make the protein more soluble and improves the viscosity of the dough itself. The dough also benefits from the “no knead” and “folding” method of making bread because it has a low mixing tolerance. A prolonged fermentation period actually does no favours to the dough because it will cause the dough to breakdown and reduce its ability to brown nicely. For this reason, unfortunately, a %100 Triticale bread does not produce bread with good crumb quality and it tends to stale faster than normal wheat.
From this perspective the flour is a good candidate for blending rather than using it totally on its own.
Key points to remember with Triticale are:
- lower hydration
- lower mixing tolerance
- shorter bulk fermentation
Triticale is mostly grown in Europe, and can be founds in North America and Australia. In fact, I’m thrilled that it is available here in South Australia at the very mill from where I source nearly all of my flours: Four Leaf a certified organic producer.
What I like about the grain is that it is a good source of minerals & vitamins like: magnesium, phosphorus; thiamin and folate. It is also a good source of fibre and is low in sodium and thus overall a friendlier option for the microbiology in our gut.
From a farmer’s point of view it is a hardy & disease resistant crop that produces a good yield and uses soil nutrients better than wheat which gives it good marks from the environmentally sustainable perspective and for this reason really deserves a better press. From all the hybrid grain breeds that have been developed in the past so far, at least this one has been around for well over a century, meaning that as a grain it has had more research than some other stuff that has been developed in the last say 30 years.
As I commented earlier, unfortunately it is not a solution to a cealiac sufferer but certainly a feasible consideration for anyone suffering of gluten intolerances, specially if you take the path of making it with sourdough and sticking to basic #RealBread ingredients! If you are interested in getting: hands on coaching; lowering the gluten content of your bread & increasing essential amino acids and nutrients in your bread diet, then, as your BreadCoach I’m happy to show you the way, just get in touch via my Flour-and-Spice contact form . Discover how easy it is to make #RealBread in your own domestic oven!