The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What flour and where do you buy?

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jerrry94087's picture
jerrry94087

What flour and where do you buy?

I was usually buying an organic all purpose flour in Costco (The Natural Choice) for $0.55/lb. Now looking at the Walmart page I see that King Arthur Flour All Purpose Organic Flour is $2/lb. I am wondering, is this King Artur flour better in some way to warrant such a price difference? Or maybe Costco flour is lacking in some way? I am usually trying to understand the product and its pricing. It should make sense. But based on the product descriptions, they are the same!

 

Where is the good place to buy flour in US? I want to get good quality and also don't want to be overpaying. Wholesale is, I think, potentially the best.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Where do you live?

In some areas there are wholesale bakery supply outlets that will sell to retail customers.

In other areas there are stores that specialize in selling to small restaurants and pizza shops.

If there is a Walmart nearby, you probably have choices. 

IMHO $2/lb is excessive.  I can get the same flour for around $.70/lb in 5 lb bags (but I don't).

I676's picture
I676

Agreed, $2/lb for the KA is way off.  Around here--Philly--I think it's in the $1 range.

Also agree with others that premium flour is not an absolute must. I frankly get decent results from the store brand unbleached AP, though I've dabbled in KA bread flour. The difference is palpable, but not earth shattering. I don't exactly push the limits of my flour, however.

polo's picture
polo

Prices for King Arthur flour vary wildly in my neck of the woods (Ohio). Local grocery store asks $1.25 per lb. for a 5lb bag. I can buy it in a small shop down the street for 61 cents per lb. (1/2 the price). It makes no sense to me.

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

Regular, non-organic KA flour should be in the $1/lb. range. But the organic stuff is more expensive. I've never seen it in a store, just on their site.

 

polo's picture
polo

I am speaking of the regular KA flour. I have found organic KA AP in some stores around, but not many.

grind's picture
grind

If you like the Costco flour and it meets your needs and expectations, stick with it.

jerrry94087's picture
jerrry94087

I am new at baking and had been primarily using Costco flour. Maybe I just don't know what I am missing, or maybe not. That's why I asked. Maybe KA flour is superior, or maybe it is just excessively priced.

 

I am near San Jose, CA. And googling doesn't reveal any wholesale baking suply stores.

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

In the Bay Area you have access to both Giusto flours and Central Milling flours. Just Google them. Central Milling is way up in the North Bay (Petaluma), but I believe Guisto is on the south peninsula somewhere.

The Costco flour you're referring to may be a Central Milling flour. Like KA, CM is great flour.

linder's picture
linder

Guistos is on Littlefield Ave. in So. San Francisco. 

Linda

grind's picture
grind

Maybe find out who's milling the Costco brand; tt could be Central Milling doing a private label order.  Or another way, just buy a bag of KA and compare.

Patf's picture
Patf

I have a friend who bakes her bread with the cheapest supermarket flour she can find. She and her family are quite satisfied with the result.

I prefer a more expensive wholemeal flour. But it's all to do with personal taste, as long as you're only baking for your family.

As the last poster wrote, buy another kind and compare the 2.

 

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

There are three Smart&Final stores in your area.

Their First Street Bread Flour and La Romanela high gluten flour are excellent.

Both are currently selling for ~$16/50 lb bag with the First Street a few cents more than the La Romanela.

Some stores may have 25 lb bags of one or the other or both at a slightly higher price per pound.

Colin2's picture
Colin2

I can't speak for their San Jose stores, but the Cash&Carry stores here in Seattle stock "Morbread" from Pendleton Mills in 25 and 50 lb. sacks, at a good price.  

discussion: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23044/pendleton-mills-morbread-flour

It's my staple flour.  They'll also sell you yeast and other good things.  No membership, credit cards accepted.

Cash&Carry #571 - San Jose, CA1731 WEST SAN CARLOS ST
SAN JOSE, CA 95128
408-971-2637
lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Another vote for Smart and Final. Last time I bought King Arthur 10-pound all-purpose flour there, it was selling for about $9. On occasions they do go on sale. 

I purchased a 25-pound bag of First Street all-purpose flour for about $7.89. I also like their First Street unsalted butter which comes in 3 1-pound slabs for $5.99. For 1-pound, it's around $2.70.  They also sell Plugra butter at about $3.70 for 1 pound. Butter at other places are much more expensive.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

in the grocery stores in Phoenix sells for $5.50 for a #5 bag or $1.10 a pound.  It is a super, super,  premium priced flour.  La Fama, my favorite AP flour at 10.5% protein is $1.99  for a $5 bag or 40 cent a pound .  The  La Fama is is nearly 3 times cheaper and it performs plenty good enough for the multi grain breads I tend to make most often.   The store private labels are about 10 cents more a pound but only have 9-10% protein.  KA AP has a lot more protein than LaFama but I have found it isn't really necessary for the mix  unless the rest of the flours in the mix are very low gluten like spelt, kamut, farro, buckwheat  etc.     KA AP has as much protein as other brands bread flour or even more.  If you need more gluten for a bread KA flours have it! 

Greg D's picture
Greg D

I value KA as a resource and a good place to purchase hard-to-find items, but living in the Pacific Northwest as I do, I think I can get equal or better flour products from Bob's Red Mill or from Pendleton or even from Costco.  But if you have to have KA and can deal with large quantities (typically 100 pound sacks) you can usually buy flour from their professonal distributors and save a lot of money.   Use this link to locate the distributor in your area:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/distributors.html

Happy Baking!

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Most of the Costco flour sold in the KC area stores in 25 lb. bags is produced by Conagra. Other than the AP packaged in two ten lb. bags and plastic wrapped, the Conagra flour is bleached and bromated, characteristics that I'm not interested in.  The packaging includes print that indicates it aimed for commercial bulk baking applications. Conagra does have the capacity to produce the flours that I'd like to buy, Costco just doesn't carry it. If I recall correcetly, Conagra does contract production for King Arthur to KA specifications. The Conagra flour in the local Costco is inexpensive but in their Nashua, NH store, they've stocked KA AP in 25 lb bags for less than $18.

If they stocked the KA AP in the KC area, I'd be well stocked.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

A long time ago I did a comparioson of flours at sourdoughhome.com.  I did as close to a double blind test as I could.  I set sliced bread on a plate and left the room.  My wife tried the bread without me there.

Yes, there ARE differences between flours.  However, by and large they are overstated.

In the end, I think that King Arthur represents more a triumph of the marketer's arts than the millers.  Yes, it's good.  But not insanely better than anything else you can buy.

Like other posters, I prefer to avoid bleached and bromated flours.  When I puchase whole grain flours, I definitely go with organic flours.

Beyond that, "it's a poor workman who blames his tools".

 

judsonsmith's picture
judsonsmith

But for bread bakers the flour is not so much the tools as is it is the wood

sunyfun's picture
sunyfun

Costco in San Jose carries The Central Milling Company flour (2-10#bag package).