It all started in 199 when the the plant breeder and researcher Hans Larsson fetched seed samples from different old cereal varieties in NordGen’s collection. He sowed the seeds, harvested and ground them before he baked bread with the flour. His love to the older cereal varieties was instant and ready to be shared.
“The Ölandswheat first became popular in Denmark. Then a TV-chef baked with it in Sweden and the trend spread there as well. I think it’s the taste of it that makes it such a hit”, Hans Larsson says.
Today, the love of the formerly forgotten wheat is greater than ever.
Christine Heger is one of its many vivid supporters.
“I am very fond of Ölandswheat. With Ölandswheat the dough gets a lovely elasticity and the loafs a nice volume. I also like the taste of it, which is somewhat nutty and sweet”, says Christine Heger who is the owner of Bröd och Kvarn, a company that evolves around flour in different ways. Through it, Christine sells small kitchen mills, write books and keep a blog as well as lead baking courses.
Ölandswheat was commonly grown until the beginning of the 20th century when the wheat breeding focused much on increasing the yield. But while chasing larger yields, many other important characteristics disappeared, such as the high protein content found in Ölandswheat. The wheat variety is also well suited for ecological farming as the straws are tall, which makes it difficult for weed to grow in the field.
– The older cereal varieties contain larger amounts of minerals and antioxidants, says Hans Larsson and Christine Heger adds that many find that they feel better when they’re eating the older varieties rather than the modern, white flower.
Ölandswheat is today expensive to buy and used in the finest bakeries. Among other places, it’s served at New York Central as well as exported to Germany.
Not too bad for an old forgotten wheat variety that once only existed at NordGen.
The story of Ölandswheat is merely one of many examples of how NordGen’s work contribute to benefits in the society. Discover a few more in our brochure available for download here.