The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Getting more flour out of KAF

Ricko's picture
Ricko

Getting more flour out of KAF

Due to the amount of bread I'm baking, and now considering my local farmers market, I think I could handle 5-10 50# bags of KA Sir-Lancelot flour. We all know that to purchase this on line would be cost prohibitive. I contacted KA to find their distributor in my state who I then contacted.


The short of it is, they're not interested in selling flour to those of us (general public) who are more than a home baker, who bakes for ones own family, but short of a deeply in debt struggling commercial bakery.


Considering these tough times, I even offered to pay cash for my order to no avail. So what does it take to get a larger amount of flour, a registered business name and tax I.D. number?


You would think KAF and its distributors would encourage such entrepreneurial spirit and support those looking to step out ahead.



xaipete's picture
xaipete

Why does KA sell their AP flour in 25 pounds but not their bread flour? I don't think it is just the cost of shipping; it seems to me that there is a marketing issue here.


--Pamela

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

It would be interesting to really know what is going on with KAF with their pushing of AP vs. Bread Flour for us bread bakers.  My guess and it is only a guess is that under current market conditions they are making more money per pound selling AP than they do selling their great Bread Flour.  I have noticed that besides having almost all of their yeast bread recipes call for AP rather than Bread -- you can almost not find the Bread in thier sales flyers anymore.  Doesn't matter to me since I buy their flour locally, yet it still seems strange that when you have one of the worlds best Bread Flours you push AP.


Dave

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Dave,


Brand names or even classifications like "AP" or "Bread Flour" can be confusing -- especially to any baker who can't interact with flour techs like many pro bakers do.  The flour technicians can help wade through the names and pick the flour strength, tolerance, and extensibility you actually need.


The names are marketing tools meant to direct certain types of consumers or pro bakers to certain flours that are appropriate for certain products, but those names often don't adequately describe what a given flour can or can't do.


For instance, there's a commercial flour made by KA called "Sir Galahad" that is used by many pros (including yours truly) as a standard bread flour.  It is milled from hard winter wheat, which means that its gluten-forming proteins are plentiful enough for most breadmaking but not so high as to be ideal for something like bagels.  Many use it for baguettes and other hearth loaves, since it can make a strong dough that tolerates long fermentation and is extensible enough that it stretches without being torn.  You can also find this in the supermarket under the designation "King Arthur All Purpose".  KA's all-purpose is the same flour, according to Todd Bramble, their flour tech.


Most other millers use a blend of soft wheat and hard wheat to make their consumer-intended AP flour, but KA uses all hard winter wheat. "White Lily" brand AP, which is marketed mostly in the southeast, uses all soft wheat since their customers make more biscuits than bread and they want a more tender result.


So "all-purpose" has no legal definition or specific meaning, and the same designation can be applied to flours that exhibit very different characteristics.  Just because General Mills or Pillsbury AP seems inadequate to the task of breadmaking, that doesn't mean KA's will be.


KA also has a commercial flour made from hard spring wheat -- spring wheat is usually stronger than winter wheat -- and its name is "King Arthur Special".   I believe Todd Bramble disclosed that this same flour is marketed to home bakers as the "King Arthur Bread Flour".  It's stronger and more absorbent than their AP flour, and if that's what you need, go for it.  But their AP flour is the same flour that many, many artisans use to make great hearth breads.


So get the flour you want, by all means, but keep in mind that names and designations can be misleading or confusing, and higher gluten levels aren't always better for your bread.

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Since you use the Sir Galahad (known to us home bakers as "all-purpose") for bread baking, do you know if their organic all-purpose could be used interchangeably?  Does it have the some properties?  Thanks in advance.


Summer

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Their "organic all-purpose" is rated at 11.3% protein, while their conventional all-purpose is 11.7%.  I'm guessing here, but the organic flour is probably milled from hard winter wheat as well (at least mostly), given the lower protein.  So the organic one is a bit weaker, but, if I'm right about the wheat being hard winter wheat,  that should still make good hearth breads.


I've only briefly worked with it, so I can't give you first-hand comments about it's use.  It would probably be less absorbent, but not by a metric ton.  Go ahead and try it.  If you're using it as a bread flour, hold back a smidge of water (for a 5qt recipe, a smidge is an ounce or so) from the mixer until and unless you know you'll need it.  Make that decision before 2 minutes of mixing has elapsed.


And, as I keep saying to everyone, be willing to "fail." There are no shortcuts to gaining experience, and a big part of any baker's useful experience is the stuff that wasn't precisely what they aimed for.  If the dough comes out too wet with the organic AP, just subtract a bit (see "smidge", above) or water next time and you'll probably be closer to what you want.


--Dan DiMuzio

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

I'll try it and be "willing to fail."  I really appreciate the response; especially about holding back a little water.


Summer

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I was looking to get maybe 100lbs a month, but no go. I think you have to go to a distributor and the closest one is four hours away.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Ricko,


Sorry to hear about the hassles you're experiencing. 


You might be surspised to know that most distributors make 10% or less in margin for most dry goods.  So if you buy five #50 bags at maybe  (I'm guessing here) $20 per bag, that's $100 worth of transaction that gets them only $10.  They might want that $10, but it can take various staff (ordering clerk, forklift driver, dock checkout) collectively anywhere from 20-30 minutes worth of man-hours or so just to process that transaction.  I think you get the picture.  They'd much rather have their guy moving a pallette of flour than a few bags, which, with a fork lift, probably takes about the same amount of time.


 If you haven't already, you might try either finding a smaller distributor who is more hungry for the business, or, if you're being refused by a general distributor like SYSCO, search for a dedicated bakery distributor.  Either way, you'll probably have to set yourself up as a business, pay cash at all times, and pick up the orders yourself.  I realize that the distribution center may be far from your home or business, but they usually won't stop a truck for less than 300-500 dollars or even more, and THAT'S if you're on an established delivery route.


I wish I had better news.  Good luck, and try poking around a bit more before you give up.


 


--Dan DiMuzio


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD


The short of it is, they're not interested in selling flour to those of us (general public) who are more than a home baker, who bakes for ones own family, but short of a deeply in debt struggling commercial bakery.



I really think that's an unfair and unkind analogy.


Supply contracts are common between distributors and suppliers.  Did you offer to enter into a contract with the distributor, to purchase X hundred pounds of flour each week or month?   Since distributors sell at wholesale prices to commercial ventures, and you plan to be selling bread, you should consider that option.    Yes, a d/b/a certificate and tax ID (both easy to get - you could DIY) would probably help to obtain wholesale prices.


Or check into another mill.  Heartland Mill sells its strong bread flour in 50# bags.  You could contact them and try to arrange something.


At 14.2 protein, Sir Lancelot is a high gluten  flour.  What kind of breads are you baking that you would need 500 pounds?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

You can buy WW and Rye from Flourgirl51 for less than half the cost, delivered to your door. I haven't had any trouble finding a restaurant supply dry goods outlet that would sell to me in 50# bags. I don't use that much weight but depending on where you live I would be surprised if you can't find a grocery or bake shop that wouldn't agree to let you buy from them. Just make sure you pay them a little extra and be a good guy about it.


Eric

jacobsbrook's picture
jacobsbrook

As a business owner, I know that it is absolutely easier to deal with distributors when you have a business name and tax id versus being the "general" public.  That is just the normal practice with all wholesale distributors that I have dealt with.   I suggest you try that route especially since you will be selling bread and then the "doors" will open easier for you.  Plus as Dan mentioned, they sell in bulk and make very little off of the small transactions.  I have also found there is usually a minimum order of $100-$500 depending on the distributor.  Best of luck, I'm sure you will find a way.   

Ricko's picture
Ricko

Thanks to all for your comments and encouragement. Yes, the KA AP and bread flour are available at my local supermarket. I just purchased a couple of 5# bags of the bread flour for $5.83 per bag.


As for the Sir-Lancelot, I find that works the best for me and is the most consistent in rise, oven spring and overall finished  product batch after batch. I have recently tried the White Lily bread flour resulting in poor oven spring. I've also tried the Hi-gluten Dakota Mills bleached flour. This worked with satisfactory results, but I'd rather not use bleached flour. This was the flour I was able to get from a local bakery for $20 per bag out the door. No paper work required, billing, etc. etc. I loaded it myself, paid cash with the offer of a graturity for his trouble which was refused. He also said I could order anytime as long as I put my order in on Monday morning for Tuesday morning pick-up. I was also able to purchase a bag of Dakota First Clear from him for $20, and we all know how hard it is to find this flour type.


I'm going to make an assumption here by saying that most small commercial bakeries use the cheaper bleached flour. After all it comes down to the bottom line. I think that KA flour would be considered a premium priced flour to the commercial bakery owner and less desirable for that reason. This is probably why all the 50# bags of flour I see at Sam's Club, Gordon Foods, and Costco are of the bleached variety and less costly per bag.


Incidentally, I do live 13 miles from King Milling Co. I contacted them about purchasing flour in 50# bags, but they wanted to sell me a train car load only! Well, my quest continues for now.

Leiif's picture
Leiif

Have you tried these folks. I just ordered from them and from the research I have done you will NOT be dissatisfied. Check it out:


http://www.organicwheatproducts.com/


They are a family operated farm and they have some family business to tend to so it might take a couple extra days. Take a look at their site, there is a lot of good info there.  And look at this thread also:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11756/amazing-organic-whole-wheat


Best regards,


 


Leiif


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I've not seen any high protein bread flour at the organicwheatproducts site, other than a sprouted flour for bread, but it's $3.25 a pound.   


Organic whole wheat is available locally, including Golden Buffalo.  I just got an email from an organic food co-op advising that organic bread flour isn't in their UNFI catalog.


The Heartland Mill organic strong bread flour seems pretty reasonable, but I've not yet checked into shipping charges.

Leiif's picture
Leiif

LindyD,


From /www.organicwheatproducts.com site:


Our hard red spring wheat is 14% protein and is excellent for baking whole grain breads.


 


I think 14% is on the high side. It isn't like gluten flour but gluten flour is NOT whole grain. Again from their site:


 


Certified organic stone ground 100% whole wheat flour for bread .60 per pound.


 


That is a very reasonable price. Especially if you consider that my local natural food store they wants 1.35 for ww bread flour. And with /www.organicwheatproducts.com it is ground on an order by order basis. It can only be fresher if you do it yourself. If 14% is high enough it is worth a try for the freshness factor.


 


Best regards,


Leiif


 


 


 


 

suave's picture
suave

LindyD, would you mind telling me which co-op sells it?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The Grain Train  You can order it.  The number is #484576, 25 lbs. Brad is the guy you want to deal with.  If you need his e-mail, let me know and I'll send it to you privately.

suave's picture
suave

... but do they ask you to buy the whole load?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I'm not sure if you can order smaller bags, Mike.  They do carry whole wheat in bulk at the store, but I'm not sure if it is Golden Buffalo.  


When I was there, the bulk flour bins gave no details except "AP," "Rye" and "Whole Wheat."  Not even the mill was identified or whether the flour was malted (it's not, as I discovered after baking with it).  I've been told they are changing that and will offer more details on the flour bins.


I'd be happy to ask about the whole wheat during my next visit.

photojess's picture
photojess

I just want to say this thread has been really informative.  Thanks!

Ricko's picture
Ricko

I believe I've found a source for Conagra Mills flour which is much easier to obtain than the KA flours. One in particular is the Conagra King Midas Special. Unfortunately, the Conagra site gives no specifics about this flour in terms of protein, ash content or whether it is bleached or unbleached. I was wondering if there were any Conagra flour user on the forum that might know the answers to these questions. A search of this forum on King Midas gave no hits. Thank you in advance for the help.

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

While looking at information on Wheat Montana, I happened upon the site of one of their distributers.


www.dutchvalleyfoods.com


If you find you way to their flour section you will find a whole series of Conagra flours and by clicking on "Nutrifacts" to the right of each flour bag you will get complete flour data.  King Midas Special is a bleached flour, 12.6 % protein they also give moisture content, ash and falling number.  


Conagra also has a Seal of Minnesota Unbleached at 12.6 % protein, and a Producer Flour -- bleached but High Gluten at 13. 4% protein.


Lot of data on this site on various flours.  Some of the information is better and more detail that others.  All seem to be PDF's scaned from data sheets (best) to just a scan of the nutrition label off a flour bag (poor).

I have never tried to buy from dutch valley foods, but we used to have a retail outlet here that got some of thier product from dutch valley.  They purchased in bulk and repackaged.  They got to advanced retirement age, couldn't sell the store and just closed it.  I miss them.


Dave

Ricko's picture
Ricko

Dave,


I have ordered from DV in the past without any trouble. Unfortunately, the flour was $20+ a bag and shipping cost was $30+. It's really not cost effective if you do a lot of bread baking.

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

I was not so much suggesting to purchase from Dutch Valley -- I am sure they are a fine company, but that their web-site had detailed data on most of our flours of interest.  KAF, Conagra, Wheat Montana etc.


The whole key is finding someone in your area buying a major shippment of flour from which we can buy a 50 # bag or two.  Shipping flour by UPS rather that truck freight is a real killer.  For me I am still way ahead to buy KAF in our local market at $3.48 per 5 pounds for their bread flour.


On the other hand if you have a local group that can buy a major shippment and then break it up it would be a good deal.  One thing on my list do is to see what one of the major food distributors in our area carries and purchase from them through a friend that has a retail shop.  (Buys weekly, truck makes a regular run through our rural area.)


Dave 

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

That's why I can never buy anything online.  Can you imagine the shipping cost to Canada?  The cost is just one thing, a lot of these companies won't even ship outside the US.


Ricko's picture
Ricko

Dave,


The idea of a local group makes a lot of sense. I've never seen anything on this site that attempts to show or list all the bakers per a geographical area. It would be nice indeed to have this information so that we could pool an order, thus opening doors that are otherwise shut to us individuals. Good idea.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I wound up at a pizza forum while looking for flour information, which led me to this link at General Mills.


I figured it was worth a shot for you to find your local rep and make contact.  I've heard only good things about All Trumps.


Hope it works out.

Chef Rich's picture
Chef Rich

Can't tell from your posts, what state you're in, Ricko, but Restaurant Depot is in many:


http://www.restaurantdepot.com/Misc/locations.aspx


They carry many ConAgra Mills products in locations near me (Chicago), but alas, all the bread or hi-gluten flours are bleached. You do need a resale or tax-exempt id.


Also by me is Gordon Food Service Marketplace:


http://gfs.know-where.com/gfs/


GFS allows the public to shop there, no tax-id or membership needed. All white flours are bleached here as well.


If you're selling that much bread (500 lb. flour a month makes probably 750 to 1000 lb. of bread.), you should probably get a resale tax i.d. anyway before the IRS and state Dept. of Revenue get curious how much bread your bread is bringing in.


Good luck!


 

Ricko's picture
Ricko

I'm located in West Michigan. I was just able to secure a source for the Gold Medal flours. I purchased 2 bags of the 50143 All Trumps flour to try. The 50143 is unbleached and unbromated. Per the Gold Medal site, there are four versions of the All Trumps flour. Depending on the prefix code number ordered, you can get it either unbromated,bromated, unbleached, bleached, enriched or malted.


I'm also looking into getting a few bags of their 53395 Full Strength flour which is 12.6% protein. I believe this to be their commercial version of Bread Flour. Also unbleached and unbromated.


I'm finding that a little extra digging in these tough times does provide its rewards.