The grain is made up of three main parts, namely: 

  • germ
  • endosperm
  • and bran. 

A distinction is drawn between soft wheat, with a white crumbly kernel, and hard or durum wheat in which the kernel is yellower and harder. 

  • Soft or common wheat 
      Originally from Mesopotamia, soft wheat is one of the most ancient cultivated crops in the world. Soft wheat produces a white spike or head bearing 12 to 15 spikelets containing 2-3 flowers. The grain produces a siftable flour used in bread making. 
  • Hard or durum wheat
      Hard or durum wheat is a tall grain (80-120 cm) with low tillering, producing bushy heads or spikes and large kernels. The grains are ground to make pasta, couscous and semolina.
      • Pasta 
      • Semolina and couscous

Cracked wheat 
As its name indicates, these are cracked kernels, i.e., broken into pieces. The advantage is quicker cooking. 

The grains, triangular black achenes, are used mostly for food (e.g., France's buckwheat crêpes, Italy's black polenta). 

Spelt or Farro
An ancient variety of wheat and the most-used grain in the 19th century because of its hardiness. 



Whole grains are sold with their outer covering, or bran, removed. They need to be soaked for 12 hours before being used as is, raw, added to soups, braised or legume dishes, or coarsely ground. They can be found in muesli and various kinds of breads. Did you know they're also used in making whisky?


Hard-wheat flour
this variety contains more gluten (grain protein) and is used especially for making breads and doughnuts.

Soft-wheat flour
this flour contains more carbohydrates (starch) and less gluten and minerals; it is used in pastry-making for pies, cakes, pancakes and muffins.

Durum flour
used to make pasta.

Spelt or farro flour
this variety is the ancestor of hard bread flour; it produces a denser loaf.

Kamut flour
kamut is the ancestor of durum wheat; it produces an excellent flour for making pasta.


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