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Durum Wheat

Durum wheat is also referred to as pasta wheat. Did you know that pasta is made from a specific type of wheat? There are different types of wheat that all have a unique purpose. Durum wheat makes the best pasta! This is because durum wheat is very hard and starchy, which makes good dough for pasta. Hard wheat is high in protein and gluten which helps noodles hold their shape and also gives noodles a rough texture that will let sauces stick to them.

An illustrated image of Sir Charles Saunders standing in a wheat field.

The next time you eat some yummy pasta, think about how cool it is that some durum wheat was grown just for you to eat it!

Durum wheat was developed from the emmer wheat that was discovered around 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, which is on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It is the second most grown wheat in the world and does excellent in drier climates. It is the most common wheat that is grown in the Middle East.

This golden-coloured durum wheat crop is ready to harvest.

Photograph of pasta being made by putting dough through a hand-held pasta cutter.

Durum in Latin means ‘hard’, and this is the hardest of all wheat species to mill! It’s hard and starchy qualities are what makes it good for pasta!

An illustrated wheat plant is shown, as well as the roots below the soil.
Hard Red Spring Wheat
This is the current style of wheat that is the best for making bread. It makes up 95% of the global production of wheat.
Durum Wheat
Durum wheat seeds are ground into a flour that is used to make pasta. Although it is the second most popular wheat species, it only makes up 5-8% of global wheat production.
Marquis Wheat
Marquis wheat was developed by Sir Charles Saunders in 1904. It matured 10 days earlier than other types of wheat at the time. It was also superior for bread flour in the early 1900s. It had a phenomenal yield of 2.8 tonnes per hectare (41.6 bushels per acre)!
This ancient wheat was discovered thousands of years ago in the Fertile Crescent. It is high in protein, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. People find it easy to digest because of the fibre, but it is not used very often because it is not suitable for making bread.
This ancient wheat was discovered thousands of years ago in the Fertile Crescent. It is higher in protein and vitamin E than many other kinds of wheat, but it is not suitable for making bread. It is primarily used for animal feed.