I know that they say that hard winter wheat can last a long time, but I didn't believe it till I opened up some stored wheat that I have had since 1999. Near as I can tell from reading online, it says that as long as the wheat doesn't taste bad and has been stored correctly it should have retained it';s good quality. My husband picked up a bag of Montana Winter White wheat in Boise a few weeks ago, and I decided to compare loaves of bread side by side using as close to precise measurements as I could. One loaf would be from the wheat I had stored and the other would be from the fresh wheat he picked up from Walmart.
This is where I first noticed a difference, the loaf on the left is the newer wheat. I made sure that I wasn't even a gram off in my measurements, yet it appeared to be a higher hydration dough then the one on the right. The weight of the dough was exactly the same when I weighted it after fermentation and before shaping. These are each exactly 2 lb loafs of bread.
Color differences were due to temperature difference, between the loaves and the rolls. The loaves were baked together at the same temp. One on the left is the newer wheat. Hard to tell here, but the one on the right is actually a bigger looking loaf.
I accidentally switched the position of the cut slices, so the one on the left is the older wheat. I cut both loaves at what I perceived to be the tallest part of the loaf. The newer wheat had a slightly denser crumb. The taste in both was very good, really couldn't tell much of difference there. The only noticeable difference was that the newer wheat had a higher moisture content possibly and caused the dough to be at a higher hydration even though they had exactly the same ingredients. For some reason even though it appear to have a higher hydration, the older wheat had a better crumb and a taller loaf.