The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Freshly milled flour cooperative or business - can this work?

108 breads's picture
108 breads

Freshly milled flour cooperative or business - can this work?

I was thinking that the packaged whole wheat flour I get never tastes very fresh and how nice it would be to have freshly ground flour in a variety of whole grains and even white flours. The question is whether in my large city/metro area something like a cooperative or business (maybe on a subscription basis) would work to sell fresh flour.

Wheat, rye and spelt are being farmed within 100 miles and there are a couple of larger millers a couple of counties away. This is all in the DC/Baltimore area.

I have to admit that I have no idea where to even start with this. I know a handful of local bakers, but no clue about possible demand.

proth5's picture
proth5

to give you business advice on this. I, too, think of it from time to time and would start with any kind of local food coop or Slow Foods chapter. You might also join the Bread Baker's Guild of America (bbga.org) which is a fine organization anyway, but I've seen a real uptick in interest in these type of flours coming from Guild Members. Some of the Breadlines articles (which you must be a member to read on line) discuss these very things. These are places where you might get contacts to send you to contacts. A start. Perhaps not the best.

What I will do is try to re set your sights a bit.

With most small milling operations, whit flour is not really feasible or practical. You need a roller mill to do that. Most small milling operations can't afford that - I would leave that to the big boys. Also, white flour isn't usually used when fresh milled - it must be aged first. Once you age it, you are offering nothing different than is currently commercially available.

Where you can realistically produce something that is different in the market is in various fresh ground bolted flours. With the investment in an eccentric sifter you may be able to produce a small ranged of fresh ground "not completely whole grain" flours. There seems to be growing interest in these flours and there may be a role for you to fill.

Hope this helps.

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Buying a grain mill seems to be the most convenient way to get freshly milled flour. Then all you need to worry about is having the grains on hand that you want to grind.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast