A study conducted by scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Soft Wheat Quality Research Unit in Wooster, Ohio, may help plant breeders zero in on promising new wheat plants that might be tomorrow’s superstar producers of whole-grain soft wheat flours for cookie doughs. That is to say that, in the future, cookies may be made with a larger proportion of whole-grain flour instead of familiar, highly refined white flour.

Scientists used 14 different commercial varieties of soft wheat for this research. The study showed that breeders and foodmakers can rely on the SRC and a new softness test for early screening. Later, when they want to narrow their focus to only those plants that are uniquely superior sources of whole-grain cookie dough flour, they can invest in the “wire-cut cookie test.”  The sucrose Solvent Retention Capacity test and the milling softness equivalent test-aren’t new. But the Wooster team’s study is perhaps the most thorough examination of the tests’ reliability as an early screen for a new soft-wheat flour’s performance in whole-grain cookie doughs.