The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour in Canada !!

  • Pin It
johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

Flour in Canada !!

The last Canadian miller, Robin Hood, has been sold to Americans, and I can't find decent white bread flour any more. All of it that I can find now has miserable gluten content, and all the mass market ones now have ascorbic acid added to try to make up for it.

Has anyone found a Canadian source of good white bread flour (4g per 30 g 'serving' minimum) that doesn't have junk added (other than the legally required B vitamins, of course)?

 

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

Every region has its own mills.  In the maritimes, there's Speerville Mills http://www.speervilleflourmill.ca/product_list.htm

I've had very good luck with their flours including the whole wheat, unbleached white, spelt and rye.  Superstore (Loblaw's) carries them here. 

In Quebec, there's La Milanaise - more expensive though.

That's very sad that RH has been sold!

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

Ottawa ON (check my profile)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Robin Hood hasn't changed their flour mix, still source locally grown Canadian grain, use local Canadian labor and the Canadians who once owned it made a pile of US dollars. 

No one in the US is avoiding Chrysler cars made in Canada  but we do prefer Apples over Blackberries :-) 

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

Regrettably they have changed it. RH never used to have ascorbic acid added, and it used to have an exceptional nutty flavour that it no longer has. And, despite the ascorbic acid gluten enhancer, it doesn't rise as well as it used to. I measure these things.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

If you happen to be in the Ottawa area, I can suggest some sources.

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

I am indeed in Ottawa. There are lots of health food stores here that grind fresh whole wheat flours, but I haven't found anyone that supplies white bread flour in reasonable quantity. Metro carries Red Mill in boutique packages, not bread making sizes; Rogers claims they are carried by Metro, Walmart & YIG, but aren't at any of my local ones in fact...

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

I've seen people post about good bulk Canadian flour from Costco, including discussion of who mills it although I don't have a membership so no personal experience. 

 

 

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

Have you tried Rainbow Foods on Richmond Rd?  I get 10 kg. of Organic white flour for $35.69 and 10 kg. of (non-organic) white flour for $25.49.  Both are from Grain Process (out of Scarborough, On).  They do not contain ascorbic acid and contain 13% protein.  Here are the package labels.

 

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

That looks great, Julie - I'll pay them a visit.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

I hope it works out for you.  They actually have a very nice selection of flours, both bagged and in bulk.  I drive across town periodically to stock up.  I also discovered the La Milanaise products are carried at La Boite in Gatineau.  I've never found them in Ottawa so don't mind making the short trip across the bridge for that.  

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I buy the Loblaw's no name unbleached flour and have never had any problems with it.  I find the RH flour tends to have lumps in it and I wind up sifting it.  Five Roses is way too expensive for me, akin to the RH.  By the way, RH was sold to Smucker's years ago.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Cargill ownes it now?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

How long ago was the change with RH?  I hadn't used RH in about a year, then after running out of my local Anita's Mill flour, I used RH for the last few bakes and I didn't notice a performance difference at all.  If anything, my last few bakes turned out better than when I used RH a year ago.  Not crazy about the additive change, but I sure didn't notice a negative to the bake.

John

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

I buy the Grain Process Hard white (bread flour) and get it in Scarborough. Last time I was there I bought 2 x 20KG bags and it was under $50. Apparently you pay a lot more out east!

diana_m's picture
diana_m

and the cost of shipping, then try the flour from Arva Flour Mill in Ontario. It's near London, and they have a store at the mill, but they sell online too, that's how I got my bread flour. It is pricey, however, at least for my budget. 

On a related note, I have been looking for finely milled durum flour (I'm in the western GTA) to make semolina bread, but I haven't yet found a source. Any ideas?

Yeasty_Beasty's picture
Yeasty_Beasty

Although I'd rather have no additives, I don't really see why adding ascorbic acid/vitamin C is any different than adding vitamin B complexes.  

I am also looking for a new flour.   I might drive to Tavistock and check out Oak Manor Farms.

It's really shameful that it's this hard to find something reasonable.  Of course, we ship off most of our commodities so it shouldn't really be surprising.

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

Unlike the B complex added to flour, ascorbic acid breaks down during baking into a mess of diketones - it doesn't stay vitamin C. It's only used to cover up cheap flour with inadequate glutens.

Yeasty_Beasty's picture
Yeasty_Beasty

Never really considered the reaction products.     I'll have to read up on that, but it looks like that could lead to furan production as well....which is not appealing at all.

I picked up a bag of Selection organic unbleached AP flour today that appears to be similar in spec to the RH flour without the additional ascorbic acid.  I purchased it at Sobey's, but I plan on checking Fresh Co. as well.

The Sobey's I went to also carried 1kg bags of Milanaise Rye, Buckwheat and Kamut flours.

Yeasty_Beasty's picture
Yeasty_Beasty

I stopped by Fresh Co. (the discount chain of Sobey's) and found they also sell the Selection organic unbleached AP flour.  Same price though and only in the 2kg bags.    They also had the non-organic version, which I didn't see at Sobey's, but it contained ascorbic acid.

I also went to an Asian supermarket, Superking, today for other reasons and checked out their flour section.    Interestingly they carried Nutrasun Foods Organic AP flour, so I picked up a couple of bags to try.    The one thing I noticed about this flour though is the inclusion of silicon dioxide (which is likely acting as an anti-caking agent).  They also carried a couple of Italian 0 flours, which I plan to try for some pizza dough at some point.

Once I am actually a more proficient bread baker, I will post some results from these flours.    Any suggestions for a good test recipe?   Is there a standard recipe used for testing various flours or methods?

 

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

I always start with my basic loaf and compare it with others. I've just picked up a 10 kg bag of Grain Process Hard White from Rainbow Foods and will be trying it shortly. There's an ingredient list but curiously no nutrition label on their flours there, so I've no idea as to the protein content... Isn't it strange - natural hard flour was the mainstay of bakers for so long - why can't more millers leave it alone for those of us who just love bread??

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

"I've just picked up a 10 kg bag of Grain Process Hard White from Rainbow Foods and will be trying it shortly. There's an ingredient list but curiously no nutrition label on their flours there, so I've no idea as to the protein content..."

Hi johnsankey.  Did your 10 kg. bag of Grain Process Hard White not have the same label that I showed in the second photo in my previous post?  Mine did have the nutrition info on the label.  In any case, if you ask the staff at Rainbow foods, they will give you a print-out of the nutrition label.

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

Julie, I took your word for it. My first loaf - it needs noticeably more liquid than even the old RH, rise is a bit slower, but good strong texture bodes well for my love of adding tasty extras for the flour to carry and taste is good with 20 minute autolyse - I'll try longer next loaf to accentuate it.

grind's picture
grind

you can call Grain Process and they should be able to give you the stats on the flour, as long as there is a date stamp on the bag.

grind's picture
grind

It's a little harder to get an open crumb when ascorbic acid is present in the flour.  The crumb tends to be finer no matter how much water you add.  In fact, too much water makes an inferior loaf imo so it's best to make a drier, higher loaf with a finer crumb.

Just my experience.

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

Less hydration is best with ascorbic acid in my experience too. Since I love moist loaves, it's a double problem.