The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Where do you buy your flour?

MissyErin's picture
MissyErin

Where do you buy your flour?

Hi!

I searched the forums for this topic and didn't find anything, so I apologize if this has already been covered and I just didn't see it.

I was wondering where you all buy your flour from?  Specifically, high extraction flour, clear flour, more of the specialty items... 

I went to my local Whole Foods, and they just had KA's basics - I thought they might have a more eclectic selection, if anywhere.  

I am wondering if my only option is to mail-order, which I will do if I have to, but I don't want to necessarily wait for the mail to come each time I get the desire to try a new recipe.

 

Thank you!!

Melissa 

MissyErin's picture
MissyErin

oh! And the KA's type 55 flour version... I just don't see any of these, and I'm wondering if some stores that I'm not even thinking of are the ones that do carry them.

(thanks, again!) 

 

Melissa in Atlanta

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I followed the lead of crumb bum and leemid and went to the local Cash & Carry, which is a food wholesaler. I got a 50 pound bag of really good Pendleton Mills flour for around 15 bucks. I opened it in September or October and just finished it off.

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

I would suggest looking for smaller, health/bulk foods type stores in your area. In the larger markets I've found a comparatively smaller variety of flours, as well as other ingredients. When just buying for myself, I would just dip into the bulk bin, but our store also offers direct catalog ordering through a distributor, which greatly opens up the options and reduces the price. Now I buy Heartland Mills flour in 25# sacks. And its been more likely that a smaller place could procure something specific that they don't have for you than a larger place.

-Cyrus

latida's picture
latida

In the classroom and in many of the popular artisan baking books, it seems consistency in protein content and quality of flour is stressed. Recipes here talk about as little as 0.1 grams of yeast, which we can't even measure on the average bread maker's scale. It seems consistency of the flour and protein content might be important. They are certainly a bigger proportion of the final product. King Arthur, Bob's Mill, and North Dakota Mill (https://www.ndmill.com/ndmill/new/index.cfm) often come up as trusted sources. Has anyone had trouble with the "big names" products, bargain products, or bulk food products?

 I don't want to sound stuffy. Several of my beliefs have already been exposed as urban legends in the short, 3 days I have been following events here. 

Greg

mcs's picture
mcs

Greg,

In my humble opinion, as they say, I find it best to use the flour that's available in the local area. When I lived in VT, I used King Arthur, when I lived in Hawaii, I used the cheap ConAgra stuff from Costco, and here in Montana, I use Wheat Montana and Bob's Red Mill. There are always adjustments to make with different flours, but they are more minor than you may think. When I was working at a bakery in VT, we normally used KA unbleached white, and their mill was down for a week, so the supplier substituted another brand for us to use. Even with recipes using 50lbs of flour at a time, the adjustments were very small.

As for the yeast question, what I do is spend some time measuring my own ingredients in larger quantities, then when a recipe comes up with a .1g type measurement, I convert it myself. For example, measure 1/4 cup of yeast in gram (I come up with 40g). Since you need .1g, you divide it by 400. 1/4 cup is the same as 12tsp, divide by 400=.03tsp or about 1/30 of a tsp, also known as a small pinch.

I measure all of my ingredients like that ahead of time, then if recipes call for cups or wierd stuff like you're running into, I've got my data to work with. 

Take is easy.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

latida's picture
latida

Mark,

Thanks for your comments. Very helpful information.

Greg

bwraith's picture
bwraith

I'm a Heartland Mill flour fan. For a high extraction flour, the Golden Buffalo is pretty much a standard, if I'm not milling and sifting my own. Their white and whole grain flours are also excellent.

KA is where I go for small amounts of specialty flours and I like their organic AP flour, too.

For high protein whole wheat flours, Wheat Montana is very good, and their AP is really an excellent higher protein white bread flour.

However, the shipping costs of doing this over the internet make things much more expensive. It's probably cheaper to get flour locally, but then you have to work on  finding out how often they purchase and how they store. So far, for freshness and consistency, I like getting flour shipped from Heartland Mill or Wheat Montana, even though the shipping is costly.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

yesterday, in the Asian market. But it wasn't cheap, imported over England from no where land.

lisah's picture
lisah

Hi Melissa,

I mail order mine from Honeyville Grain.  I love their artisan flour.  I buy it in 50 pd bags and with shipping it ends up costing a dollar a pound, which is much cheaper than if I buy it locally.  There web site is www.honeyvillegrain.com

 They have most other flours you would want as well.

 Hope this is helpful.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Another place to look is your local grocery health food section. I was actually shocked to find KA Select Artisan flour in my local store although they only stock the small 2-lb bags. Still, they work out to be less expensive than ordering online from KAF when you factor in shipping costs.

 

There are many different flours in the health food section that are not stocked in the regular baking aisle and it took me a while to figure this out so check out your local store.

 

I love Heartland Mill Golden Buffalo high extraction flour and their durum flour which is fantastic and though it costs a pretty penny to ship them it is worth it to me. I order special flours from KAF such as their French style flour and Italian 00 and medium and light rye which I simply cannot find locally.

 

I just try and plan ahead and get quantities that I can store and use. I have no other option when these flours are not carried locally and I'm pretty sure that won't change any time soon. I love bread baking so much and experimenting with these flours so I just consider it part of the bread baking process.

 

 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I've found rye and other 'specialty' flours in the health food, or organic, section of our supermarket too.  They're expensive, but I can buy small amounts.  For unbleached all-purpose flour or regular ww flour, I always buy Robin Hood, 10 kg bags for $15.00.  That's up from $9.00 just last year, and the occasional sale price of 10 kg bags of Five Roses, another Canadian brand, of $3.99 is long gone, I'm thinking.  Then again, I know a baker in the far north who pays over $30 for 10 kg of all-purpose.

somegeek's picture
somegeek

My local cash and carry has 50# bags of Pendleton Mills High Pro flour for $25.  My wife picked up a 5# bag of Gold Medal Bread flour for $5 today... figure I'll just get a 50# bag to tie me over for a bit and save some $.

Any tips on storing a bag of flour this large?

Hans 

beeman1's picture
beeman1

I have been ordering flour from a local health food store. I don't have to pay shipping. You just have to be carefull you get what you order.

Jolly's picture
Jolly

We were in the process of moving and I had just opened a 25 lb bag of organic unbleached flour by Montana Millings. A portion of the bran is sifted out and the wheat germ is left in making the flour tan in color. Many home bakers do not buy this flour in such large quantities for fear of the flour going rancid. As I made mention we were in the process of moving and I had just bought a huge stone crock that weighed a ton. I stuff the 25 lbs of organic Montana unbleached flour into the crock. We ended up moving to Oregon, elevation 5,000 feet, mountain country.

After we moved the crock was set aside and forgotten you know what its like when you move. About a year later I discovered my crock. I opened the crock knowing full well that the flour would be rancid, especially this kind of flour. To my surprise the flour smelled sweet and fresh. I could hardly believe the flour wasn't rancid after being stored in a cool arid place for over a year and no bugs in the flour.

Now I have 5 huge stone crocks where I store all my grains and flours. If I had not experienced storing my flour in a stone crock for over a year, especially a flour that is known to only keep for a short while. I would never have thought of using stone crocks for storage of grains and flours.

So now I'm buying the highly perishable flour in 50 lb sacks and storing in a stone crock. The climate here is very dry and cool for the most part. If we do have hot weather of 100ºF during the summer we get no more than a couple of weeks of hot weather. Winters are dry and we do get snow. I don't know if the weather also played a big part.

I have to buy flour in volume for we live quite a distances from town. So all my storage containers for grains and flours are stone crocks and I never have problems with bugs at this elevation either. I also notice that the stone crocks are cold to the touch when stored in a cool storage room. So that may make a difference too. My stone crocks will whole 50lbs of grains or flour. I've decided to buy at least two more.

I'm now baking with this flour and producng beautiful high rising loaves. I also use this flour for making my starters.

Jolly


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Rock or Ceramic?

Mini O

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

I live in Los Angeles, and use Organic flour only. Until now I have been buying 5lb bags of AP and WW from Whole Foods which I believe is a repackaged Giusto's. Their price has recently risen to $3.69 for a 5lb bag. However, now I discovered that both Ralph's (owned by Kroger) and Pavillions (owned by Safeway) both have AP Organic flour under their own brand name for $2.99 for a 5lb bag. So I get my white flour there now.

Rudy

ldh058's picture
ldh058

Love the site as it is a wealth of information! I have been baking for years and have for the most part milled my own flour with a Retsel Mill. I have stored flour and the berries in a non-working chest freezer in the basement and that has worked out extremely well. The basement was cool year around (non-finished) and due to the gasket on the freezer, I never had bug issues.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

We grow it and grind it. www.organicwheatproducts.com


We also have rye and spelt flour available.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

I have pondered ordering flours from KA, but can't justify ordering $60.00 of the stuff just to get free shipping...


I use the following:


Whole Foods All Purpose, Unbleached Flour


Whole Foods Organic Whole Wheat Flour


Heckers All Purpose Unbleached Flour


Heckers Whole Wheat Flour


King Arthur Bread Flour


Arrowhead Mills Organinc Rye Flour


This is what's easily available to me here in NYC...

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

We have organic hard red wheat, soft red wheat, hard and soft white wheat, rye and spelt in case you are interested. If you would like to message me for a shipping quote please do so or call toll free 866-546-9297,

Drifty Baker's picture
Drifty Baker

I buy my flour from a local mill in Freport, Minnesota.  Swany White Flour Mill has been a family run flour mill for a long time and they flour works great!


 


Drifty Baker

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

Funny you should mention them. They just bought a semi load of our wheat last week for their mill. They like the quality of our wheat a lot.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

5 lbs for $3.16    They have four or five varieties, hubby just called.


Not a bad price !

drdobg's picture
drdobg

I too was curious as to where to get my flour so I tried a taste test.  I chose my favorite baguette recipe and made with KA flour, Bob's Red Mill, Dakota Maid , Gold Medal and Sam's Club bread flour.  I then asked family and friends to taste them blindly.  I and my family and friends agreed that the Sam's Club flour actually tasted best, had best crumb and crust was comparable to the best of the "artisanal" flours.  I was quite surprised, but also pleased that I could continue my hobby with an affordable bulk flour from my local warehouse club.  I have since switched to Harvest King unbleached bread flour (Gold Medal's artisanal bakery flour) that I get from a local restaurant in 50# bags that they will order from Sysco with their weekly order when I need it.  I think method is far more important than substrate in most instances.

agordo's picture
agordo

For those who have not heard, Swany, a wonderful producer of organic flours, in Freeport, Minnesota, burned down a few days ago. The family that has operated it for more than 100 years has said that they have no plans to rebuild.  Good products.  A real loss.

imaloafer's picture
imaloafer

Do you have a wholesaler in your area. I'm spoiled to have Giusto's, one of the nations top producers of organic flour and grains just an hour away in Petaluma, Ca. They sell to the public and I get Central Milling "Artisan Craft" organic bread flour and their whole wheat flour in 50 lb. bags at about $.28 a pound. Big difference than the $1.30 range many stores are in now. I also buy bulk grains, seeds, etc at much kinder prices than Whole Foods and other type stores bulk dept. Very nice staff here and last time in I was asking about a whole wheat they mill on premise and ended up with Nick Giusto taking my wife and I into their bakeshop and showing me the setup, breads he was working on with that whole wheat flour, etc. 

Bontanica's picture
Bontanica

Hey imaloafer, 

I'm from the same area and was looking at Giusto's flour online. Buying online the prices didn't seem as good as what you are getting, how do you go about purchasing it? is there an actual store to go to to buy it would totally be worth the trip. 

Bontanica's picture
Bontanica

Thank you so much for your help! Much appreciated!

imaloafer's picture
imaloafer

I drive over to Petaluma and get the Central Milling Artisan Baker's craft. They are set up for retail in the front office. I get 50 lb. bags but it did take a jump to mid $40s last month when we bought. They said it will hold for the next year, but that like everything, grain $$ went up and they finally had to make an adjustment. Just Google Keith Giusto, Petaluma and you should get info. Hope this helps.

 

plamumba's picture
plamumba

I buy French flour (T55 and T65) from L'Epicerie in NYC (www.lepicerie.com).  The prices are good considering the flour is imported (it sells for about what KA  wants for its copy) but I'm not sure what the minimum size is.  (I have been getting 25 Kg bags, about 55 lbs.)  It is a nice, honest flour free of the "improvements" most of the U. S. millers seem to think they need to add and is sort of refreshing in that way.  The T55 is fairly close to a typical AP flour while the T65 has more of the grain in it so is somewhat closer to a whole wheat in having a creamier color but does not have the whole wheat texture or slight bitterness.  The T65 is what seems to be used in making baguettes these days.  Of course, shipping is a problem in that it runs close to half the cost of the flour.  You can get an organic version for more, naturally.

TLRISKI's picture
TLRISKI

They have rebuilt!!! Opened the end of Novemeber. http://swanywhiteflour.com/ also on Facebook.