The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fresh grains and fresh flours

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cauterets's picture
cauterets

Fresh grains and fresh flours

Hello everyone,


I have just joined The Fresh Loaf and have read a few of your comments.


Does anyone know where to find fresh grains (barley, oat, millet, wheat), how do you know how fresh your grains are?


The same idea applies to flours, when you buy flour, how can you tell when it was milled.


Thanks fo your replies.

pixielou55's picture
pixielou55

A place I got wheat berries from is www.wheatmontana.com. After several weeks of searching for the best price and quality, they came out on top. I had several people around the country verify that their wheat berries are very good quality. I also got Kamut berries, 9-grain cracked grain and long-grain rice and they also have raw honey.


If you go by their order system, your shipping will be very high - it is for very large pallet-sized orders. Send and e-mail to amym@wheatmontana.com and she will calculate what the shipping should be for a small order (I ordered about 200 pounds).

beeman1's picture
beeman1

Wheat Montana has resellers in many states. I am in west central Fl. My reseller orders 4 times a year and the order is put on one truck which cuts the cost of shipping way down. I suggest you try the dealer locator page of the wheat montana site for the state you are in.    http://tinyurl.com/bh3ohs  

sewcial's picture
sewcial

I buy Wheat Montana's wheat also. It's fresh and makes wonderful bread. There is no local dealer, though, and the shipping cost to order directly is way more than the cost of the wheat.  


The nearest place I can order it from is Dutch Valley Foods in PA. I can pick it up if I am making a trip up to the Lancaster area (still about 2 1/2 hour drive from me). You need a $500 minimum order for a home delivery. A local person who sells at the farmer's market will allow me to put my wheat on her delivery and I pick up at her house. I did that once.


Then, on a recent road trip to the west, I saw a billboard for Wheat Montana Farms, quickly pulled off the road and, sure enough, I was at the source. They have a lovely bakery and gift shop and the bags of wheat were right there. I got 100 pounds so I'm set for a while. Now that I'm beginning to make crusty white bread, I hope I don't get away from using my wonderful home ground wheat. They are a family business and use all natural growing techniques. They have hard red Bronze Chief and Prairie Gold white wheat. I'm not sure if they have soft wheat, but the store had small bags of other grains and some other flours, already ground. If you live near them or have a dealer who sells it, I highly recommend it.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I am not certain what the actual meaning of "all natural growing techniques" might be,  but Wheat Montana uses chemical fertilizers and that does not strike me as being all that natural.


Jeff

sewcial's picture
sewcial


Jeff, Here is what Wheat Montana says about their farming. They say they do not use chemicals even though they do not use raw cow manure. I am not sure what you are referencing about the chemical fertilizers. I do know it makes wonderful bread, though. 
"Wheat Montana’s products are not “certified organic”, however grains grown on our farm are “chemical/pesticide free” proven via an independent lab test for 125 different Herbicides, Organochlorine, and Organophosphorus Pesticides, as well as Semi-volatile organics. Organic farming procedures benefit both the consumer and the environment. Wheat Montana Farms believes in the value of organic farming but we take our process one step further and subject our products to a final chemical analysis to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want, clean, fresh, wholesome, chemical free, grains! In order for us to produce “certified organic” wheat berries, Wheat Montana Farms must use “natural fertilizer or manure” (cow, sheep, chicken, etc). Since our products go directly from the field to the table with no irradiation or pasteurization, we are concerned about the possibility of cross contamination from virulent bacteria. We do not, at this current time, use animal manure in order to eliminate any possibility of cross contamination for our customers. WE DO NOT USE G.M.O. (GENETICALLY MODIFIED) VARIETIES OF ANY KIND. NO G.M.O.!!"


Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

After reading Wheat Montana's marketing I found myself confused as to exactly how it is that they grow their wheat so I went to them in person and asked.  This is what they said:


"We use chemical fertilizers".


Jeff

smaxson's picture
smaxson

The dangers of "organic" should not be underestimated. If you put organic carrots in your pot roast, they will be heated sufficiently to kill e-coli and other bad things, should it be present from the manure used as fertilizer. You cannot even legally sell  produce raised in areas insufficiently spaced from grazing cattle, and many of the e-coli incidents that have marred the food industry in this country (think raw organic spinach) have been the direct result of drainage from nearby grazing cattle during rains. Yet spreading manure on your field is viewed as a virtue by many. In one of his books, Peter Reinhardt talks about getting food poisoning a couple of times from eating raw organic veggies (which are no doubt wonderful tasting)  and blames the chef for a lack of kitchen hygiene-this is probably wrong, as e-coli and other bugs are an inherent risk of any organic food that was manure fertilized and not heated to a sufficiently high temperature (I have seen both 240 F and 256F cited as the required temperature). You simply do not want to eat bread cooked only to an internal temperature of 200-210 F which was freshly ground from organic flour derived from grain fertilized with manure. Again, think of all the raw spinach troubles of recent history. The e-coli cannot be washed off, it is internal.


I believe in and eat a lot of organic veggies (and "regeneration" produce is even better).  But, please pay attention in class or you will be sorry. I will cook mine until "well done", thank you. Proper responsible use of chemical fertilizers can be more benign than the use of "organic" manures, both to the land and to the user of the products of the land, but this flies in the face of many who simply have not thought things through. And, there is no certification of proper use of the chemicals like there is a certification of organic-organic corporate farming probably means no fertilizer was used at all to replenish the land, since "organic" fertilizers and other additions are either too expensive or the corporation risks being wiped out financially if it gets sued over some e-coli outbreak (think raw spinach again).


I have never seen any research on whether proper composting will eliminate e-coli, but I suspect it is probably very beneficial in this particular narrow regard (as well as in the ways that organic gardeners value it for). But there is no economical way to prepare sufficient compost (all done properly) for 12,000 acres of wheat. You would probably have to heat tons and tons of manure to a sterilization temerature, then innoculate the compost with certified cultures, etc. Or, let the manure rot for more years than you would like.


All this having been said, I do buy organically raised wheat and grind it to make bread, but I tend to be a bit careful about the source and nervous about it when I do think of what I am doing. I think that the slow breads and sourdoughs in particular may be very important here, where e-coli and the like may lose the fight for supremacy and survival in the resulting dough. I know I had one batch of sourdough starter I was starting from scratch went nasty and stayed nasty, and it wouldn't surprise me if some pathogen was to blame.

beeman1's picture
beeman1

I understand there is an outfit called azure standard that sells bulk wheat. In many areas Wheat is available through Breadbeckers. The cheapest wheat by far is through the LDS cannerys.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

We still grow some grain in my area here in California. I just went to my local grainerie and bought 50 pounds of Red Winter Wheat for $11. The grain is just as clean as what I got from Wheat Montana and tastes better. I also know who the local grower is.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

We sell organic grains- www.organicwheatproducts.com


 

pixielou55's picture
pixielou55

While I was looking all over the midwest for good wheat berries, I never came across your website. Well, after I use up my 245 lbs of wheat berries, I will certainly contact you!

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

Thanks! Ours is certified organic and makes great bread.