The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Where to get fresh ground flours in SF Bay Area and Sacramento Area.

Tasty Little Dish's picture
Tasty Little Dish

Where to get fresh ground flours in SF Bay Area and Sacramento Area.

I read on another bread baking website that for home bakers it is best to use fresh ground flour for our breads.  Does anyone here do that?  Where would I get fresh ground flour?  Or the fresh items to grind my own (I can probably do this in my Vitamix)?


I want to make the best breads possible with the best ingredients possible.  I'm sure I can find better than the bulk bins at Winco ;)


Thanks in advance for all the suggestions!

arlo's picture
arlo

You could try your local Great Harvest Bread Company. We grind our whole wheat flour fresh from the berries on stones each day.  Just walk in and ask if you can purchase a few pounds. They would most likely be glad to help you out.

Crider's picture
Crider

Do the Great Harvest stores use little Meadows mills? I had no idea they grind their own flour.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

At risk of starting an unhelpful flame war, I'll be a contrarian here:


Fresh ground flours and/or growing your own wheat can make the difference between the 97th percentile and the 99th percentile. They are not however something worth pursuing when you're just starting. There's a whole lot of things like temperature, measuring, steam generation, scoring technique, storage, and so forth that can have dramatic effects on the bread you bake. My suggestion is to master all those things first before searching for "fresh ground" flour.


I agree flour from the bulk bins or the big box stores may not be what you want even for starters. But before jumping all the way to "fresh ground", consider the flour sold in sacks by your local supermarket. Just be sure you get "unbleached, unbromated". And buy in small enough quantities (ex: a 5-pound sack or even a 1-pound sack) you're not stuck with a huge amount of flour you don't want if you make a wrong choice.

Tasty Little Dish's picture
Tasty Little Dish

That actually makes alot of sense.  I still have alot to learn and it is nice to have some one be able to put things in perspective!

Nikkito's picture
Nikkito

The flour at Whole Foods, just the store brand, is working really well for me.  It runs $2.99 for a 5# sack, (at least down here in Los Angeles) and I have had no issues making bread with it.  Matter of fact, when I switched from what I had been using (I think it was Kroger brand unbleached AP) I had some pretty decent results.  And the bread tastes great.  Their 100% whole wheat is the same price, and they also have several other "specialty" flours in the same section, in case you are looking for something special. 


Hope that helps a bit.

spacey's picture
spacey

I haven't found a big difference between King Arthur AP, Heckels AP, Whole foods AP, or Trader Joe's AP for making bread or pizza.  All are unbleached, and all seem to turn over on the local shelves fast enough that I'm using fairly fresh flour.


That said, I just discovered that there's a local company called Cayuga that's selling flour grown and milled in upstate NY at the farmer's market, so I'm going to get a chance to see what really fresh flour is like when I bake a few loaves this week (my 2 lb bag of 50% whole wheat, 50% bread flour has already been sitting in the proofer for its first rise, and is now in the fridge waiting for me to get home and make a sour loaf).  They're expensive - I think about a 4x markup, but I'm willing to experiment a bit to see what the difference is.