The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Straw poll: Low-Cost Ingredients and Supplies

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Elagins's picture
Elagins

Straw poll: Low-Cost Ingredients and Supplies

I'm considering setting up a business that provides commericial and hard-to-find flours, e.g., first clear, white rye, high gluten, buckwheat, and other ingredients like malt, seeds and compressed yeast, in smaller quantities that make more sense for hobbyist bakers. In addition, I plan to include a line of low-cost, restaurant-quality equipment == and all at prices well below what King Arthur charges. 


Any interest?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Stan.


If you can provide specialty flours that now are 1) hard to find, 2) only available in large quantities, and 3) very expensive to ship at reasonable prices, I would think you would find lots of business.


The special discount for TFL members you haven't thought of yet is a great idea, too! ;-)


David

Elagins's picture
Elagins

1 appreciate your feedback. i also intend to offer low-cost peels, high-temp, commercial quality baking stones, and a variety of other items that KA charges thru the nose for.


 


Stan

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Stan.


Just to start a list for your product line:


1. A variety of high-extraction flours (in addition to first clear).


2. Rye chops. Medium rye. (in addition to white rye)


3. Durum (not Semolina) flour.


4. Imported French, organic flours (T55, T65, T80, etc.)


5. Good quality, low cost bannetons. Especially hard-to-find specialty shapes, e.g., for coronnes.


David

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I now carry durum flour- not semolina. It is certified organic and I grind it to order. Also, please check out ehanners blog on this site on the test he did with my organic wheat flour


www.organicwheatproducts.com

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Rye chops and other difficult to find ingredients that some authors, e.g., Hamelman, use in their recipes would be great.


--Pamela

Aprea's picture
Aprea

I am interested as well - Jacksonville has NOTHING!  Not even a co-op.  It seems the very few groceries have a monopoly on all things flour/bread.  I have been harping about this since I took up this hobby in December.


I would love to join you in being a distributor - My mission is to bring good bread to the ovens of Floridians.


 


 


 

Dhaus's picture
Dhaus

NW Florida has nothing for supplies.

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Nice co-op, but not much for unusual flours.  I buy a lot onlin!


Summer

Aprea's picture
Aprea

Who do you buy from Summer?  I too am in Florida - but am on the East side - I am looking for an online source that is closer to the SE U.S.

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Anna - The SE, not being a big producer of wheat, is kind of a wasteland for bread makers.  Local cornmeal everywhere but not much for wheat!  The nearest online source that I have used is Wade's Mill in VA:


http://wadesmill.com/new/store/cart.php?m=product_list&c=3


I have gotten 25 lb. bags of WW bread flour from them but I noticed that that size is no longer listed on their website.  However, they are very friendly and helpful on the phone so it might be better to just order from them that way.  They are also less expensive and more organized than Barry Farm Foods (it took them two weeks to ship my order), though the selection is not as extensive as Barry Farm:


http://www.barryfarm.com/


I also ordered a couple of 25 lb. bags of organic flour from flourgirl51's farm in MN for a very reasonable price even though it was from so far away:


http://www.organicwheatproducts.com/


Good luck!


Summer

suave's picture
suave

I am not averse to the idea as long as shipping is reasonable. I'd be interested in things like


1. Fancy durum


2. High extraction flour


3. High-gluten flour


4. Medium rye


5. SAF gold, may be even repackaged -  something along the lines of 2 oz in a ziplock for a buck

blockkevin's picture
blockkevin

Interested...you bet!


 


I actually work for a large Natural and Organic Food Co-op in the Seattle area, and I can't find half of the items that I would like to buy for my bread baking pantry.


Keep us updated!


Kevin


 

cafe-moi's picture
cafe-moi

Elagins - Can I assume that you will be operating in the US?  What region?


I'm on the West Coast, so shipping could be an issue for me if you are setup for the East Coast. 


Otherwise, sounds like a great idea.  I'd be interested in organic or ecologically grown heritage grains like Whole grain Spelt, Einkorn/Emmer, Kamut, Farro, Whole Wheat Durum flour as well as Semolina flour.


Good luck with your venture!

Elagins's picture
Elagins

am lining up sourcing/shipping capabilities from the East Coast (and possibley Midwest). Obviously, given enough demand, there's no reason why we couldn't offer those grains as well.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I carry organic whole grain spelt, whole wheat durum flours in addition to other organic flours and grains that we grow. ehanner just did a blog on this site regarding the wheat flour he tested.


The durum is not listed on my website yet but is available. It is a whole wheat durum flour, not semolina.


www.organicwheatproducts.com

cafe-moi's picture
cafe-moi

If you are on the West coast, then you are probably aware that we have a strong locavore movement here.  Since I live in the West, I try to buy all my staple items from local and regional producers.  This includes the grains and flour.  The only grain CSA in the region has a waiting list a decade long.  This is one of the reasons Stone-Buhr's Find the Farmer program is so popular.  If you can offer bread ingredients grown/produced in the region of the customer, that would be a plus.  You could then post your services on LocalHarvest.org as well.  That may be a more complicated business model than you want, but since you're doing a straw poll, I thought I'd toss in the wish list items.  :)

Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

We live in the SW.  Buying good quality, fresh flours, actually anything basic...err.."Bake-ish" is difficult.  A few stores stock a couple  KA flours in 5# bags only.  Would be very interested in finding an affordable mail order baking-supply source.  Couldn't care less if the product is local.  Just want quality. And, larger bags of flour with reasonable shipping.   I order 50# bags of flax for my horses,..and have no problems getting them shipped affordably.  Why can't flour be the same way..?

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

just curious- how are those bags shipped?

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

I have been a good customer of King Arthur over the last 5 years but have been very frustrated with them lately.  Their prices keep going higher and higher -- seems to be all about covering the cost of their special "deals" rather than serving the scratch baker.  I love their basic flours and can buy them locally in the store but it is all of the other things I would like to obtain for a reasonable price.  I understand that shipping cost money.  I am willing to plan ahead and group things so to have an order that makes sense size wise.  (I live in the woods, western North Carolina, 2 hours from major shopping areas.  We depend on UPS for many things.)  My interests are in Breads, not other baked items, and I have no interest in mixes.  I make bread from scratch and I want to control and experiment with the make up of the recipe.


Shipping 50 pound bags of bread flour from the west coast will not make sense for me, but shipping 5 pounds of a speciality flour will.  One item I like but have been rather frustrated with the price has been Baker's dry milk.  I wish I could buy this in 5 or 10 pound size.


Dave

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

We have organic grains available in case you are interested.


www.organicwheatproducts.com

jimrich17's picture
jimrich17

I am in New Jersey and would be very interested in a source for supplies and ingredients at prices lower than KA , Whole Foods, et al


Jim

judyinnm's picture
judyinnm

I'd be interested in your products; not only cheaper than KA, but closer to me in proximity, too. 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I think where KAF misses the boat is that they only offer small quantities of most of their products. It is nice to be able to buy a 3 Kb bag of European flour as a sample but if I like it I would like to be able to purchase a 25# bag at a reasonable price.


So keep in mind the need to offer a sample size and larger options. There is a growing market for artisan bread products sold to home bakers. KAF is totally ignoring the trend. I would support the concept if you can get a deal going with UPS or Fed-X for reduced rates. Both of those company's are feeling the pinch and I'm sure if you can demonstrate volume they will deal.


Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.


Eric

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

I don't mean to be hard on King Arthur but I think they have changed their business model.  I don't really think they are interested in scratch bread bakers any more.  Their new model sells mixes to "non bread bakers"  Fine a bread recipe on the King Arthur site that uses bread flour any more -- all they push is All Purpose.  In their last sales fly-er it was hard to even find their Bread Four listed any more.  This is really sad because I have been a strong customer of King Arthur and recommended their bread flour to a lot of folks that like my bread.  I think their margin on AP flour is a lot higher than on Bread Flour and that is why they are pushing it.


Time will tell -- don't be surprised if they remove Bread Flour from store shelves.


Dave


PS  I remain interested in high quality flour at a fair price.  (I will always pay more than Gold Metal.)

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Dave,


Do you think it is really a change in their business model or just an attempt to expand their clientele?


But another thing I've wondered about is what the specific difference between the AP and Bread is, i.e., I think the protein content is nearly the same.


--Pamela

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

Pamela,  I not sure about KAF business model -- and we are getting off of the original thread here -- but I have loved KAF bread flour and their history.  Recovery from a company that got down to 5, yes 5 employees to a going concern based on Great Bread.  (For years KAF has been a marketing company -- they contract for their flour, packaging and distribution.)  Still I have see this drift away from Bread to Sweets.  Increasing market is fine, but don't leave your base behind.  (Bread video are out of "print".  Short Pullman pans no longer stocked etc.)


As to the difference between KAF Bread Flour and KAF AP the protein content is more than 1 percent higher in the Bread Flour.  That a big difference when it comes to the breads we are baking here.


I haven't given up on KAF -- that is still the flour I buy -- just wish I didn't feel like they were leaving the Bread folks behind.  Maybe my relatives will buy them out.  Who knows, they bought White Lily, from Knoxville, TN and Robin Hood in Canada.  (My family name is Smucker, related but no money connection. No special knowledge of the food industry either -- I'm a retired engineer from the aluminum industry.)


Back to the orginal thread -- I support well priced products both grain related and equipment for the home bread baker.  I will support this by buying.  But I buy only for my family, what I give to friends and the church.


Dave

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I don't know what KAF's business model has been, since they've been selling flour for around 200 years, but I do think you may be on to something


I checked out their yeast bread recipes.  Of the 52 listed, 41 use AP flour (including many of their ryes) and four call for bread flour.  They even stuck in AP flour as an option for one of Jeffrey Hamelman's rye recipes.  There also seems to be a reliance on additives for flavor, rather than natural development of the flavor.  


I've never used KA's AP flour - it's only available at one store in my town and they charge $6 for five pounds.  I pay $3.68 for five pounds of KA BF at another store.


I have found a food co-op about 35 miles away that sells Heartland Mills organic AP in bulk, so I'll be going there this weekend to check out the price.  They apparently can also special order Heartland Mills organic bread flour, but I don't know in what quantity.


I hope KA doesn't pull their bread flour - it's the best product I've been able to find locally. To date, at least.


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I want to purchase 25 pounds of bread flour not 5 pounds. And ditto for other flours as well.


Bob's Red Mill sells 25 pounds, but it isn't bread flour. But maybe it doesn't matter. I just don't know.


--Pamela

baltochef's picture
baltochef

I seldom order any longer from KA Baker's Catalog simply because many of the bread baking staples that I could once count on purchasing from them are no longer being sold..


I once was a frequent mail order customer of two other companies that have changed their business models the same way that KA has been doing over the past 5 years..Williams-Sonoma and Smith & Hawken are mere shadows today of their founder's original reasons for starting the companies..Williams-Sonoma was originally started as a means of providing reasonably priced textiles and cooking equipment that were unavailable for purchase in stores to American home cooks..There were some high priced items, but they did not dominate the catalog as they currently do..Williams-Sonoma is now aimed at well to do people with above average incomes..


Smith & Hawken was once a mail order company that brought hard to find European gardening tools to American gardeners..Then, the company was sold to a big conglomerate, the business model changed, and high priced tools became the norm, rather than the exception..Now the company is more about very expensive garden furniture and do dads such as one might find in a very expensive garden belonging to royalty in Europe..Most of the tools are no longer to be found in the catalog..


King Arthur is now more about selling fancy expensive bakeware, gadgets, and tons of ingredients oreiented towards a person's sweet tooth, as opposed to bread baking..They have lost sight of their original purpose for being..


As far as Elagin's OP, I would be interested in hard to find baking ingredients, especially in 10, 20, 25, and 50 pound quantities..


Bruce

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I can get multigrain and whole wheat flours from my local coop, but it would be cheaper to head all the way to the other side of Iowa to buy them from the farm they're raised on.


I'd also highly prefer buying in larger quantities, say 10 pounds at a time instead of 3 or 5, because it saves me money most of the time. Experimental baking is one of my hobbies. I tend to go through more flour than the average person baking for a 2.5 person household. Once my kids are grown, I'll probably go to buying 25 pound bags of flour.


Also, living in Iowa, I have less access to artisinal flours. Heck, I have trouble finding a good dark rye flour. Even going to Des Moines, it's tough to find a store that has anything but the normal light rye flour.


Long story short, if you can do this with shipping prices good enough to make it worth my while to order, I'd be a customer. The only thing I'd keep buying locally is the Paul's Grains 7 grain flour that I absolutely LOVE.