The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

finding flours in los angeles

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shakesignal's picture
shakesignal

finding flours in los angeles

hi everybody! i am banging out a menu for what i hope will be my bakery/catering business. i am still pretty early on, but i have been home baking seriously for 3 years, and going pro would make me 4th generation. however, i am getting kinda frustrated that LA (which i love), seems not too friendly to the budget-minded, experimenting baker. by that, i mean most flours are criminally overpriced, and sometimes there seems to be only one game in town (whole foods) for anything other than white and whole wheat flours. not to mention natural ingredients for cookies, cakes, etc.; just try finding non-hydrogenated peanut butter chips for less than $4 a bag.


there is a distributor of king arthur (my preference) wheat flours close by, but i really want to be able to go nuts and make tons of practice loaves of all types, especially rye and gluten-free, without having to worry about spending $3 for another paltry 1.8 lb. bag of rye. in that vein, i LOVE KA flour, and plan to use it proudly and exclusively at my bakery, but right now, $6 for 3 lbs. of first clear is outrageous!


maybe i am being lazy, but i thought i would ask you, the fresh loaf crew, for help. i know i should be pounding the pavement and hitting up bakeries, especially jewish bakeries, for flour, but i feel like such a mendicant. i guess it's what i have to do for my passion, but does anyone know of any bakeries or distributors, especially for King Arthur, in LA that can help me out? i might even be willing to help establish some sort of cooperative or buying club to get any other LA area bakers and oven jockeys the flours and ingredients we are jonesing for, at acceptable prices.


anyway, sorry for being so long-winded. i am extremely appreciative in advance for any help offered. THANK YOU!

rrossi's picture
rrossi

I'm not sure what part of LA you live in, but I live in the SFV area.  have you tried Henry's Market?  I just bought KA bread flour 5lbs for $4.99 a bag.  They also have lots of flours and grains in bulk.  This link may help you find a store near you: http://www.henrysmarkets.com/h/find/


Good luck,


Richard

Marni's picture
Marni

For what it's worth, Whole Foods gives 10% off when you purchase a case of something.  I don't know how many bags are in a case of flour though.


Marni

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Shakesignal,


Would you be averse to making a run from LA to the SF area to source some flour?  Giusto's and Central Milling are both available there, plus a number of stores carry their products.  Use the TFL Search function for additional leads on either of these sources.


Paul

Marni's picture
Marni

Here are two other local distributors, I'm not sure if they'll have everything, but you can check these out:


Natures' Best: 800-765-3141 for Bob's Red Mill.  They are in Brea, not too far.


Tree of Life (they're on E. Slauson): 800-899-4217  for Arrowhead Mills.  I was told they only sold 25 lb bags though.


Hope this helps,


Marni

osx-addict's picture
osx-addict

Another few places in a pinch..


 


1) Smart-n-Final.. I bought a 10lb bag of KA unbleached all-purpose last night for $6.99 (IIRC).. Not bad considering most stores carry the 5lb bags for $4-5


2) Surfas Restaurant Supply in Culver City usually carries some sort of wheat -- not KA as far as I recall-- last time I was there they had some nice hard white winter wheat but that was some time ago.. I might be there this weekend and will scope it out..


 

shakesignal's picture
shakesignal

wow, thanks everyone! i truly appreciate your desire to help a total stranger (except to marni...hi marni!). i am leaning more toward the unwieldly 25 lb or 50 lb sacks, as one can get a sick deal if one looks. goldberg and solovy in vernon sells 4 types of king arthur pro flours, according to another poster here, for like $20 for a 50 lb. sack. that's less than half of what we pay at the supermarket! that's what i meant by starting a buying club. imagine getting a 10 lb sack of short patent or sir lancelot from a club for $5...


san francisco seems way more suited to our needs, at least prima fascia. paul, if i had time and money to make a run up to SF, i totally would. giusto's is pretty good from what i hear and read. i usually just rely on king arthur because i know their ethics and commitment to quality. i am not averse to other brands, as long as they are not genetically modified or generally junk. otherwise, i would get the crap they sell from gold medal at smart and final.


rye and first clears are going to be tough. traditional jewish/NY-style deli's and bakeries would seem to be the place to hit up, i guess. the only rye i have found, at least on the west side of LA is the whole grain stuff from whole foods. not bad, but it's too sweet and not savory enough. maybe one of the co-ops has better rye flours?


i may also get a chance to work for la brea. the breads i have had from them are weak, but think of the access to materials and ingredients!!!


 

farina22's picture
farina22

I live in the SF Bay Area and yes, Giusto's flour is excellent. I buy it at my local natural foods market when I am buying 5# at a time. If I need more, I buy it directly from them in 50# bags. Or I buy multiples of 5# bags directly. I do that with their 00 Organic flour. But they are only an hour away from me. Alternatively, I buy the flour from a distributor who generally services restaurants and markets. You can ask at any good bakery, like La Brea,  who the flour distributors are and call them directly. You'll want to begin developing those relationships anyway if you are planning on going professional. Good luck!

phosmer3's picture
phosmer3

Shakesignal et al,


I am willing to split a 50 lb bag of medium rye flour. I'll bring a 5 lb bucket with a liner to carry it away. Do you have a bathroom scale?


A buying cooperative is really the answer here as we can get the flour costs within reason this way. We do not have to pay shipping (just gas) and don't need a large space to store it in.


If someone wants to go in on this trial, please email me at my "bakers email" phosmer3@ca.rr.com .