The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Where to buy bulk flour

Linda's Loaves's picture
Linda's Loaves

Where to buy bulk flour

Hi.  I am trying to locate 25 or 50 pound bags of unbleached bread flour and white whole wheat flour in the Detroit-Ann Arbor, MI area.  I've been to GFS, Costco & Sam's Club, but I can only find bleached and regular whole wheat flours.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I have been using 5# bags of King Arthur flour with good results, perfecting my recipes.  Now I have an opportunity to sell my bread and would like to get larger quantities of flour to bring my costs down.  I really don't want to compromise the quality or type of flour I'm using.  Any help is appreicated!  Thank you.

asicign's picture
asicign

You should try a wholesale distributor that services restaurants and bakeries.  You should be able to find one that does cash and carry business to the public.  However, these establishments oftentimes have a minimum purchase requirement. I had to create an account at the place I go to, but am pretty happy with the KA flours I get in 50 lb bags.

PeterS's picture
PeterS

and ask them who the local distributors of bakery ingredients are. I also suggest emailing your favorite flour companies and asking them who their distributor or agents are in your area. For example, I met Nathan at Wheatstalks last week in Chicago, he's a great guy and I am pretty sure he could help you find what you need. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/Nathan-Hildebrandt.html.

Delivery may not be economically sensible for small orders, but I expect that most distributors would sell directly to you if you go their warehouse.

If you are serious about baking as a business, I recommend that you check out the Bread Bakers Guild of America; bbga.org. It is a fantastic organization of professional bakers, bakery owners and serious amateurs (yes, I am a member) and a tremendous resource to it members. They have an active yahoo message group for its members where questions like this are posed and answered regularly.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Find a small donut shop close to you and ask them if you can get your order placed with theirs to their bakery supplier and pick it up as soon as it is delivered.  You are not competing with them and it might get them a discount (which you want to give to them).  There are lots of them so when one says no, just keep walking down the street.

 

Pioneer Foodie's picture
Pioneer Foodie

I go straight to the mill and I get it for $35/hundred.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

I get mine from Honeyville.  They ship #50 lb bags of all sorts of flours and the shipping is free. 

Just as a side note, if you're selling your bread for profit, you should probably get a license to do so.. then you can have access to other sources for businesses and bakeries.  You can also see if there is a bread cooperative in your area - that might help. 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Is that a feature for professional bakers only?

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Check out their website:  http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/

They are a mill in Utah, just north of Salt Lake City, I believe.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

*Honeyville Grain, Inc. reserves the right to modify shipping rates at any time. Most basic orders are shipped via UPS Ground at a cost of $4.49 per complete order (not per item). You can add as many items as you'd like to your cart and still be charged just $4.49 for ground delivery anywhere in the contiguous United States. For our flat rate shipping all items in your order must be shipped to the same address. As we ship with UPS, we are unable to deliver to PO Boxes. The shipping address you provide must be a physical street address. Honeyville Grain no longer ships to APO and FPO addresses. We also will not ship your order overseas or to Canada. We can ship via UPS to Hawaii or Alaska, but additional freight will apply. Call for details.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

I have bought quite a few things from Honeyville over the past couple of years, and am in fact awaiting a delivery this week.  In my experience the shipping charge, as others have already posted, is $4.49 per order.  I was curious whether there was another section to the website, with free shipping.  Evidentially not.  To say that the shipping is free is a bit misleading because, even though it is a small fixed cost, if you only order one small item the shipping becomes a substantial amount of the total cost.

I have never bought flour from Honeyville, but I have been happy with the whole grain I have bought from them.  They are not the cheapest, but neither are they the most expensive.

 

 

 

PeterS's picture
PeterS

Honeyville's shipping is built into their prices: Honeyville AP $46.99+$4.49 to ship anywhere in the US=$1.03 lb. For comparison, most all purpose flour from the major mills and through local distributor is less than $25/50 bag and if you buy enough, i.e. by the ton, it can be half that. King Arthur bread flour can be had retail in the Midwest (Meijers supermarkets) for $3.99/5lb bag; earlier this year it was on sale for something like $2.99-3.29, IIRC.

Oh yeah, one more thing: I have been told that GFS will order in for a customer if they don't have something. Linda, you might ask them if they can do that for your bread flour. I recall that GFS sells All Trumps which is a General Mills product; their Harvest King bread flour gets good reviews--I also know of a certain very well known NYC bakery that uses it for all their rustic breads.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Even a bag of flour in the grocery store is inclusive of shipping, so you're paying for it no matter what.  My point to say "free shipping" was meant that if you calculated the actual cost to ship a 50 lb bag of flour, you might be surprised at how much that shipping really costs.  I now shop at one of the Honeyville outlet stores in my area, so I no longer buy it online, but back when I did, there was no additional charge for shipping.  However, even at $4.49 to ship, it's a bargain.   Remember, you can order 1 or 10 bags of flour and the shipping costs remains $4.49. 

For me, you get what you pay for when you buy flour.  I avoid King Arthur because it's overrated and overpriced, in my opinion.  It also doesn't perform nearly as well as Honeyville or some other local mills.  I'd much rather buy good quality flour and not have to pay extra for fancy marketing, magazines, websites and staff.  Most bakeries can't afford or choose to use a different flour brand than KAF or Bob's Red Mill, simply because of cost and there is no noticeable difference in quality.  

The poster may also want to consider using Amazon Prime and ordering flour - you can often times get free shipping using Prime in exchange for a yearly fee, which is fairly reasonable if you buy a lot from Amazon.  You can get All Trumps if that's what you feel you must use for about $40 for a 50 lb bag.  You won't be able to buy it cheaper unless you get it via pallet load or have a business/bakery license.  Then, it can be very cheap.. again, you get what you pay for, however.  As a small output baker, however, you can make up for your additional costs in your product sales.  Remember that people pay good money for your products because of the quality and standards - it's what sets you apart from all the others.  If you use a sub-par or poorly performing flour, are you really any different than anyone else? Just my opinion, of course.

One of the reasons I bake all my breads at home is because I don't want cheap flour in what my family eats - unbleached or otherwise.  I would rather pay a bit extra for the best quality out there.

Good luck.

 

PeterS's picture
PeterS

BellesAZ, how do you define quality and how do you measure it?

PeterS's picture
PeterS

I was not recommending All Trumps, but making the deduction that if GFS sells one General Mills product that they may be able to source another...

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Dawn Food Products, Taylor, MI (Detroit), 800-654-4843 distributes KAF flours.  Call them and see if they will set up an account for your business.

I pay about $20 for #50 of KAF Sir Lancelot and around $17 for #50 of KAF Sir Galahad (AP) because I'm able to source these flours through the kindness of a business in my area (Northern Michigan) which is supplied by Dawn.   

If Dawn won't supply you direct, see if a local restaurant owner who uses Dawn will work with you.  Since you're in Ann Arbor, that shouldn't be a problem.  You might even try visiting Zingerman's to see if they can point  you in the right direction.  Bakers are generous people.

Good luck with your project!

CJtheDeuce's picture
CJtheDeuce

Linda's loaves

Miceli & Oldfield in Taylor Mi. just off of Telegraph rd.    web site is micelioldfield.com . They have 25 & 50 lb bags for sale cash at the window when you pick it up. 374 946 4500 call before you go to get price & stock info. I go every couple of months & pick up General mills flour that I'm very happy with for less than $17.00/50lbs. It's well worth the drive from Ohio, the last time I spent .32 a pound.

Charlie

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Your local GFS will be happy to work w/ you.  ConAgra also sells 50# Unbleached, I can't remember the name, but then again I have been using "Seal of Minnesota" from them for so long...  Speaking of Seal of minnesota flour, it used to be called "Gold Medal" if I remember correctly, until ConAgra bought their mill.

Mike

LindyD, you cheater, you could have told me you had a cheap source of KAF bulk in N. Mich.

 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I got lucky thanks to the friend of a friend, etc.  and sure would be happy to share, Mike, next time I order.   :-)

Can your buddies at the doughnut shop place an order for KAF? 

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Unfortunately, I have parted ways with the doughnut shop.  It wasn't the Cops (they're really great) but their manager didn't appreciate the value of volunteer labor.  It was becoming an extremely caustic atmosphere there.  They would ask me to bake more variety (which I did) and then berate me when it didn't sell.  Eventually I felt like a "step-child" there and they agreed that I was, so I left.