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Would like to purchase freshly milled flour, Chicago Area

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kensbread01's picture
kensbread01

Would like to purchase freshly milled flour, Chicago Area

Hi,  I am new to this forum but have been baking bread for many years and have recently been going with the Tartine Bread formula by Chad Robertson.  I've been using store bought flower, some of it has been in the cub board for over a year and I would like to use fresh milled flour to see how much flavor is added.  Without running out an buying a flour mill, I would prefer to buy a few pounds locally but do not know where I can get any milled to order without doing a shipping thing.   Does anyone here know of where I can buy freshly milled flour locally?  I live in Elgin, about 40 miles west of Chicago.

 

thanks,

 

Ken

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Some (all?) Great Harvest franchises are milling their own flour and selling by the bag. I recall  a GH in LaGrange but don't know of others in Chi area. A healthy indie food shop in Andersonville (Urban Garden maybe  --  Jacqueline Colussi of BreadStorm fame will know) sells ww flour from a Chi area mill. Don't recall the name.  

Flour age is more an issue with ww than white flour of course. I've been happy with One Degree Organic sprouted whole wheat for our 100% ww sandwich loaves . It's whole milled, which is a good thing.  Packaged in heavy plastic resealable bags.  WholeFoods sells it.  I'm also happy with the mill attachment for my old KA mixer -- not for all my flour but for the 40% that is whole grain in our weekly miches, it's been very adequate. 

Tom

JacquelineColussi's picture
JacquelineColussi

Hi Ken, Hi Tom.

Doing some late-night browsing of thefreshloaf and stumbled on this thread. I _do_ like keeping up with the locally milled flour on offer in the Chicago area. Thanks for the BreadStorm plug, Tom! Now I know why my ears were burning ;-)

Re: Great Harvest. There is a franchise quite close to Chicago, in neighboring Evanston, IL. According to their website (http://evanstonil.greatharvestbread.com/), they mill their own flour. Not sure if they also sell bags of this flour.

Re: Urban Orchard in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago. At one point (until summer of 2012, I believe) this market was selling whole wheat bread flour grown and milled in small batches by Roger's Creek Grist Mill (http://rogerscreekgristmill.com/) in Milledgeville, IL. But then Urban Orchard stopped stocking it, and soon after that the market changed hands. I used Roger's products extensively for a couple of years: the whole wheat bread flour, whole wheat pastry flour, coarse rye flour, and cornmeal. The first, in particular, is a favorite of mine. It's fresh, fruity, redolent of wildflowers, and ferments entirely differently than store-bought flours that have been sitting on the shelf for weeks/months at a time. I find I need to use much less yeast when baking with Roger's flours, but I digress.... I'm not sure where one can buy Roger's flours these days. If you'd like to reach out to the mill, you're welcome to email me (jacqueline@breadstorm.com) and I'll send you their contact info.

Some other Chicago-area flour thoughts...

The Dill Pickle Co-op (http://dillpickle.coop/) stocks bags of various flours, might be worth a browse.

Molly Breslin grows wheat on her farm (http://breslinfarms.com/) and sells her flours at farmer's markets around Chicago, as well as at the Dill Pickle Co-op (mentioned above).

Restaurant Nellcôte (http://www.nellcoterestaurant.com/) in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood is milling their own flour, and bags are available for purchase from the restaurant.

Tomato Mountain Farm (http://www.tomatomountain.com/) runs a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. The farm partners with Lonesome Stone Milling in Lone Rock, WI (http://www.lonesomestonemilling.com/). Households that subscribe to the CSA program can elect to have Lonesome Stone flours home-delivered. On offer are rye flour, whole wheat bread flour, all-purpose flour, pastry flour, and artisan sifted bread flour.  Elgin is just outside the area in which Tomato Mountain makes deliveries, but the farm is a growing operation. So it might be worth getting in touch with them. Ask for Robin or Chris. (Our household has been a member of the Tomato Mountain Farm for 2-1/2 years, great stuff.)

Last thought... Great River Organic Milling (http://www.greatrivermilling.com/) based in Fountain City, WI is selling some of their flours in 25- and 50-pound bags via amazon.com with free shipping.

I hope something here proves helpful. Good luck with your search, Ken, and please keep us posted.

-Jacqueline

totels's picture
totels

A word of caution, as with most things bread (or so it feels), the terminology can be a bit confusing. While a flour in your cupboard that's over a year old is a bad idea (probably rancid), the phrase "Fresh(ly) Milled" is probably not what you actually want. There are some benefits to flavor and workability in flours that have been oxidized, you don't want to bake with "green flour". (http://www.juniperandrose.co.uk/oxidizing-and-over-oxidizing-flour/)

Assuming you live in a place with food laws, your local (super)market is not going to be allowed to stock old/expired flour. If you change to an entirely different flour from an entirely different source you'll be adjusting too many variables to rely on the freshness of the flour to be the factor that is actually changing the flavor. I'm not saying you shouldn't seek out better flour, just don't compare your rancid flour loaf to something you bake with good local flour, any flour left for a year on the shelf will be bad.

kensbread01's picture
kensbread01

So would you say that any type of flour, more than a year old is bad for baking bread?    What about white flour?  And should they not date flour with an expiration date?  It never occurred to me to check the packaging for expiration date.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Only if the flour is whole wheat with the germ included is rancidity a major issue. It is the oil in the germ of the wheat that can (eventually) turn rancid. Ideally, all whole wheat flour would be refrigerated, but I've never seen a store that does this.
 The milling date of WW flour is most important, but, again, I've not seen this info on WW flour for ordinary consumers (tho if the bag of WW flour has a lot number on it, you could contact the company and see if you can get more info. If you do this, pretend to be a professional baker.)

White flour generally has a "best used by" date on it, but I've found I can successfully go 6-9 months beyond this with no appreciable change in baking qualities. High heat plus high humidity during storage can shorten the life of commercial white flour, but, generally, the stuff is pretty robust.

If you can find a whole wheat flour you like, it is best to store it, on purchase, in the frig or (better yet) the freezer. Green flour is flour that has been recently milled. This isn't an issue with commercial white flour and probably not an issue with entire whole wheat flour as long as it comes from a major distributor. If you were milling your own flour, then it would be more of a consideration.

Some commerical whole wheat flour does not contain the germ (which has been removed to prolong shelf life). If this has been done, it should say it somewhere on the package (though sometimes in *very* small print).

Best of luck in finding a brand of whole wheat flour that is suitable for your needs. If you have questions about specific brands, I've found that there's always at least one baker (and sometimes several) on TFL who has personal experience with the flour and can help you out (or try the search box).

Dreasbaking's picture
Dreasbaking

Hi Ken.  I live in Crystal Lake and mill my flour.  I am a home demonstrator with the Grain Pantry.  I have both a Nutrimill and a Harvestmill (very similar to a KoMo mill).  I often sell people a few pounds of fresh flour to try out.  If you're interested, send me a message and I'm sure we can figure something out!