All About Triticale


Triticale is a new grain that was created by crossing rye and durum wheat. It's kernels are longer than wheat seeds and are plumper than rye. It's color can range from the tan of wheat to the gray-brown color of rye. Triticale is a new, man-made grain first grown in 1875. But it's development didn't really begin until the 1930's. It took scientists over 30 years to get it perfected to the point they felt they could release the grain for commercial production. This happened in 1969. Triticale is still in the middle of it's period of accelerated evolution which will continue into the future.

Triticale takes the best qualities of durum wheat and rye and ends up with properties better than both grains. Rye is known for it's ability to grow well on poor ground, dry conditions and cold climates. Triticale is just as hardy. And Triticale contains more protein than either of it's parents, rye or wheat. The scientists haven't worked out all the 'bugs' yet in Triticale, however. The lower gluten content of Triticale is one of them. Because of this, bakers who use Triticale use 50% wheat flour so the loaf won't be so heavy. As the world becomes more populated and we put ever poorer soils into production, Triticale's importance will increase with it's higher yields over wheat or rye.

Triticale is a healthy grain. We've already mentioned it's higher protein content. Of that protein, it has a higher quality amino acid balance than it's parents. It has a higher lysine content than wheat and like wheat, can be stored for long periods of time. Presently, 6 million metric tons of Triticale are grown, mostly in Europe, with about 7% of this production here in North America. This will only increase in the future.

When using Triticale, treat it much like you would if you were using wheat or rye. With it's flavor that's much like wheat, it can be cooked whole as a breakfast cereal in about an hour. Rolled or cracked, it cooks up much more quickly. It can also be ground and used in the multitudinous recipes where wheat flour is used. Perhaps we should again mention that because of it's weaker gluten content, when making leavened breads, you should use at least 50% wheat flour to ensure a good rise. Don't knead the dough excessively as this can damage Triticale's delicate gluten.

The Prudent Pantry by Alan T. Hagan