Manitoba flour: what it is and what it is used for

Manitoba flour, also known as American flour, is obtained from grinding soft wheat cultivated in the fields between northern America and southern Canada.

The flour gets its name from Manitoba, the south-western province of Canada where the production of this particular kind of wheat, highly resistant to the cold, traditionally came from.

Currently, this term is used to refer to any flour that, irrespective of the variety of wheat used or production area, has resistant features similar to those of American flour.

With an index of bread making capacity (W) greater than 350, the Manitoba flour is classified as a special flour.

Indeed, it contains a high percentage of insoluble proteins, glutentin and gliadin which, when they come into contact with water at the dough making stage, produce a considerable amount of gluten. The gluten forms a firm, elastic mesh that holds in the leavening gases and allows the dough to “rise” with the formation of “bubble” like features at the baking stage.

Used mainly in “00” form, that is, without bran and with a very fine grinding, the manitoba flour is used for long period leavening doughs.

In virtue of its unusual characteristics, this allows the dough to leaven from 10 to 24 hours, without it running the risk of deflating or losing consistency. Mixed with other flour, it increases its strength and gives the dough, derived like this, a sound firmness and elasticity.

The manitoba flour is one of the ingredients used for the production of special bread, like the French baguette, slow leavening pizza and particular food products.

The ideal pastry making base for slow leavening desserts, such as panettone, pandoro and colomba, manitoba flour is perfect for preparing seitan, a highly proteinic food product also known as “wheat meat” or “vegetable meat” that is of particular interest to those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.