Featured Grain: Sonora

Let’s talk about the Wheat Flavor Wheel and Sonora!

At Grist & Toll, we’ve been milling landrace Sonora wheat into flour since the day we opened our doors. What is a landrace wheat? Landrace wheat varieties have been grown for hundreds of years without modern breeding or genetic interference. Though not necessarily indigenous, landrace seed would have traveled with immigrants to new worlds and naturally adapted to its new environment through farmer selection. For California and the West Coast, such long and natural adaptation translates into critically important crop qualities such as drought tolerance and disease resistance. Landrace wheat has more natural genetic biodiversity and was grown long before modern flour milling was invented. It is believed that Sonora wheat seed traveled with missionaries from Sonora, Mexico in the late 17th century and until the mid 1800’s was a dominant wheat crop in California, and very important to Arizona agriculture as well.

In addition to its rich history, there is so much to love about Sonora. It mills to a very fine, soft textured whole grain flour with a lot of baking flexibility. It’s a soft wheat, so not the best choice for bread baking, but when paired with a stronger wheat variety like a Hard White (our Star in particular) or a Hard Red, Sonora contributes creamy, mellow flavors while getting a boost in gluten strength from the stronger wheats. Exactly what kinds of creamy flavors? Now to the main point of this post! Here is what we taste in the flavor profile of Sonora.

Flavors of Sonora

And here are some of our favorite ingredient pairings for Sonora.

Some favorite Sonora pairing ingredients

So, how do we bake with Sonora? To be honest, we use it for just about everything! But, some standout favorites are: scones, biscuits, muffins, tortillas, cookies, cakes….pie dough! And no one does Sonora pie dough better than Roxana Jullapat. If you aren’t following Roxana on Instagram (@roxanajullapat, @wearefriendsandfamily), you should be! She recently posted several videos about making, shaping and baking holiday pies. Here’s her favorite recipe, featured online and in her book, Mother Grains:

Sonora Wheat Pie Dough
245g G&T Sonora flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
170g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
170g cold cream cheese, cubed
1/4 C ice water
Put flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add butter and cream cheese and mix at medium speed until the fats break down into smaller pieces forming a coarse meal. Add water and mix just to combine. Transfer to floured table and knead into a ball. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 days.

Be sure to look for her crimping videos – amazing!

The Roxana Jullapat Double Crimp!

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