STORY: New crops - what bakers need to know
As we come to the end of the summer, bakers will need to start thinking about the incoming wheat harvest. Here are a few things to remember which will help prepare for new crop flour. This change from last years to the new harvest can also be referred to as ‘crop change’.
Before the harvest;
- Mark out some time during the end of August/early September on a calendar. This helps to keep the occasion in the forefront of your mind.
- Speak to your flour miller about the incoming crop. They will be able to tell you when you might expect new crop flour and in what quantities - it doesn’t always come in at once!
- Make a few notes and take pictures of your current products looking great so you know what the benchmark is.
During the crop change:
- Ensure that when the new crop flour comes in, it is segregated from the old crop if possible (unless a silo is in use, in which case it may be blended).
- Spend some time testing a few recipes with the new crop flour. Depending on the flour characteristics you may need to adjust the water, improver, or mixing time.
- Speak to your improver manufacturer - their technical department will be able to provide advice on adjusting the recipes.
After the crop change:
- Record and save your notes on this year's crop change - what adjustments did you make? Which recipes did you test? Having this information recorded properly with photos will help in years to come.
- Ensure the switch is made properly. It is important to make sure no old crop is left for use once the switch is made so that the recipes are correct.
- Mark down a date in late summer 2022 to call your flour miller and get their advice on the timelines for the next crop change. Better to be organised now!