The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Experience w/ General Mills 50 lb flour?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Experience w/ General Mills 50 lb flour?

Does anyone have home-oven baking experience with these flours from General Mills?  I found these while looking for local flour distributors.  I found two in the Indianapolis are.  I haven't contact them yet.

I use so little white/refined flour (about 10% per loaf, and for feeding the starter), I don't think I can justify a 50 pound bag. But I'm a curious sort.  I only have a small freezer on top of the fridge, so I can't freeze much, either.

Based on the protein percent, it looks like "Harvest King" is Gold Medal "Better for Bread."

"All Trumps" is popular at pizzerias.

80+ types of flour at General Mills:  https://www.generalmillscf.com/products/category/flour

Of note to bread and pizza bakers, this is everything 11% and up on the page, that is also UNbleached and UNbromated): 

See right side for form to locate a distributor based on zip code.

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addendum, other references:

King Arthur professional flour, mostly 50 lb bags: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/pro/products

Caputo (mill in Naples, Italy):  http://www.mulinocaputo.it/en/flour

US distributor of Caputo/All Trumps / mail order/ repacks: https://brickovenbaker.com/collections/all/flour

Brick Oven Baker's explanation of Caputo Flours: www.brickovenbaker.com/pages/information-about-caputo-flours

Central Milling (Utah):  www.centralmilling.com/store

Keith Giusto Bakery Supply, KGBS, Petaluma CA, part of Central Milling: https://kgbakerysupply.com/bakery-supply-products

Explanation of W, PL, ash%, extraction, Italian/French/German/US specification systems: www.theartisan.net/Flours_One.htm

 

 

Gatorengineer64's picture
Gatorengineer64

Thanks for the post.  They may not sell to you without a tax ID number. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Yes, you're right.  They may not be set up to collect sales tax, due to the business-to-business nature.  Or they may not wish to deal with small-fry customers.  Fortunately, Indiana does not tax food sales outside of restaurants (with some exceptions).   I've encountered other local food distributors who have done "counter sales" to the public, so it's worth a chance to see.  

I put the info out there, because these are "artisan style" flours, even though they come from big corporate mills.  And if people can find a local distributor who does counter sales, that eliminates the huge UPS/FedEx shipping fees.

I found such a local distributor for 35 pound bags of Pop Weaver popcorn.  They normally supply movie theaters, but will sell to public over the counter.  

I just remembered, white flour keeps a few years if you vacuum seal it with an oxygen absorber.

suave's picture
suave

A distributor probably also won't sell less than a pallet.  What he needs a restaurant/bakery supply store, but those are also typically loath to sell to general public.

I used to use Harvest King quite a bit and liked it better than KABF.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

The distributors for General Mills that I'm looking at in Indy (which are also listed as distributors on the  GM web site) do serve the restaurant and pizzeria market.

I've already patronized two other local food distributors (theater and concession stand distributors) who do counter sales or "showroom sales."  

I live close to a restaurant, so I might be able to work a deal with their distributor, pay in advance,  and pick up the 50 pound bag in person off their truck without them having to make an extra stop.  

I'm thinking of a TFL post where people can add comments to list their local distributor of 50 pound bags of flour, who also sells to the public.  And another one for local whole berry suppliers, which are even harder to find.

Some of the bakers here on TFL likely go through 50 pounds of white flour in 4 to 6 months.   50 pounds of King Arthur at a grocery store, in 5 pound bags, is going to cost $53.  50 pounds of Gold Medal at a grocery store, in 5 pound bags, is still going to be $38.   (Local Kroger prices.)

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An easy and convenient source of flour in bags greater than 5 pounds, if one is willing to buy foreign flour, are Indian grocery stores.  They sell in 10, 20, and 50 pound bags.  Many carry Sher brand flour from Brar Mills, which is Canadian wheat -- durum, and whole grain hard red spring.   But most of the flour from India does not have exact duplicates in US flour.  It can be good, but won't use the same formulas.

"Sharbati" is an Indian variety of wheat that is sweet and flavorful, and comes in whole grain flour, 10 pound bags, from Aashirvaad brand.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

like Cash and Carry (some now called Smart Food Service Warehouse Stores), and others like them.  I see a variety of flours and brand names in the two SFSW stores near me in the greater Seattle, WA metropolitan area.  I see Harvest King and All Trumps most of the time, as well as a couple Central Milling options.  I see all the combinations too:  bromated and Un-bromated, bleached and not.  They carry both 25# and 50# bags, and sometimes I see smaller bags of brands like King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill at attractive prices.  No store has them all, or all the time, but I buy a lot of my flour thru those outlets, and from Costco (Central Milling).

Happy Baking 

OldWoodenSpoon 

PeterS's picture
PeterS

Hi Dave.

Indeed, many local food distributors that stock flour will do counter sales.  I'm in Chicagoland, and there are several.  I have also bought flour from local pizza joints if I'm looking for high-gluten products. I wouldn't be surprised if they would also order whatever other flour I might want--especially if I offer to pay in advance; no need to work out a special arrangement with the distributor.  Talk to the owner or manager.  Probably wouldn't be too difficult to find a local restaurant that would do the same.

There is a Restaurant Depot in Indy.  They stock a variety of flours, bleached and unbleached.  The one I go to has been stocking more unbleached hearth and neopolitan pizza types in recent years.  They are wholesale only; one needs a tax number.  Any non-profit church will have one and may even have an account there--if you know of a congregant, they might be able to put you in touch with whomever does their event food buying.  I've seen a lot of church goers at Restaurant Depot ;)  There are also a lot of mom and pop store and restaurant folks shopping there. I bet if you asked one of them on site to buy a bag of flour for you--reimburse them with cash--they would do it.

Gordon Food Service (GFS) also stock flour in 25 lb bags (and maybe larger, IIRC). However, their selection is limited, mostly bleached and high gluten.

PS

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

I use about 600 lbs of Harvest King per week. I used to use Dakota Maid All Purpose and I noticed no difference with the switch. I am very satisfied with the flour. Sometimes the shade of brown of the bags changes week to week though.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Michael:  I like your web site!   Excellent combination of insouciance and bathos!

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

Thanks for the kind (and new to me) words!

PeterS's picture
PeterS

Dave,

The big mills sell some differently named products across the US which are often essentially, if not entirely identical or functionally, the same.  It is a historical matter arising from the consolidation of the industry.  Newer products may be more widely distributed under the same name.  Products may also have been devised for a certain regional customer or market.  Some similar performing products are also differently specified due to differences in the sourcing of their grain. 

Many some General Mills, Ardent, Pillsbury, Bay State, and probably other flour millers, commercial products are available in both bleached and unbleached versions under the same name--with different product numbers.  One has to read the label.  Some flour products are also marketed under different brand names in different parts of the country, i.e. certain brands are not available in all markets.  

Ardent calls its Minnesota Girl a high protein flour, but its sales specification is nearly identical to King Arthur's all-purpose flour.  Both of which are about about 10% higher protein that your typical supermarket all purpose flour, e.g. Gold Medal, Pillsbury and store brands--10.5% protein, give or take vs. 11.7%)

I've bought Minnesota Girl, unbleached, at E&S Sales (Shipshewana) for less than $20/50 lb bag.  I don't know what their current price is, but I bet it's still a deal.  E&S is a great place for the home bread baker.  They sell white, whole wheat, rye (including pumpernickel and chops!), and some others in large bags and also repackaged in 5 and 10 lb plastic bags.

Ardent King Midas or General Mills Harvest King can be directly substituted for KA Special Patent (KA Bread Flour at retail) with minor tweeking.  Harvest King is very popular with many well known and accomplished independent bakeries.  I've used all of these and they are excellent products.

I've used a few different ADM flours with good success, but they are not easily available at retail or over-the-counter wholesale.   It think most of their sales are direct to large bakeries.

General Mills Unbleache/Unbromated Product Brochure

Many flours are essentially commodity products, but are marketed at the retail level as a specialty because it is much more profitable.

White flours have good shelf lives and can be stored unrefrigerated in dry conditions for several months after its manufacturing date.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Good comments and info.

I've been to E&S sales, but I didn't know about Restaurant Depot in Indy.

E&S was worth the drive. Wow, talk about being a kid in a candy store.  I hope to get there again, as soon as this virus thing settles down.

(I did help another "Loafer" discover Delco Foods in Indy where he obtained a 50-pounder of KA flour at a decent price.) 

 

 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Just went to check out Restaurant Depot in my area (Southern California).  i used to have membership there through my friend's restaurant, but it's since expired.  HOWEVER, due to COVID. they currently allow non-members to shop. just no returns, no alcohol and no live seafood.  at least at the one i went to.

High gluten flour selection: (all 50 lb bags)

Grain Craft Pendleton Power  $18.79

Harvest King Winter White $13.75

General Mills All Trump (Gold Medal)  $15.43

Chef's Quality Maximum High Gluten Flour $12.52

Arden Mills Kyrol Hi Gluten $13.15

Grain Craft Mondako (bleached) $17.80

Arden Mills Stone Ground Fine Whole Wheat $12.00

Crazy good prices... just where am i going to put them?  If anyone has experience with any of these please comment. i'm looking to get a bag or two to share among a few friends.

PeterS's picture
PeterS

Depends on what you're making.  All Trumps and Kyrol are high protein, 14%, WGM Harvest King is 12, the others are probably somewhere in between.  Idd like my pizza flour to be on the highWh side, for breads I like 11-12ish%.  I am partial to unbleached flours.  I like ddddddGM's Harvest King; it is a great product and I know of a some highly regarded bakeries that use it.  It is purportedly the same product as GM's retail (Better for) Bread flour.  Its sales spec is similar to KA Bread Flour--as best I can tell the latter is slightly higher protein (12.7% vs 12%, both +/- 0.2%).  At $13.75 it is a great deal: equivalent to $1.35 for a 5lb bag; GM Bread flour typically retails for $3.99+/5lb bag.  Since I bake much more bread than pizza, if I want a higher protein, say for pizza, I add some vital wheat gluten.

Read the labels carefully, some of the flours come in both bleached and unbleached versions, e.g. All Trumps, Kyrol.

Whatever you buy, to store, use a heavier plastic bag (like a ziploc freezer bag), fill to the top and keep (white flour) in an air tight container.  I use a 5 gal pail from one of the home stores.  I recommend putting whole wheat in the freezer or, minimally, the fridge if it cannot be consumed with a month or two.  Check the manufacture date carefully for whole wheat flours.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Per their websites:

All Trump 14.2%
Kyrol 14%
Grain Craft Power 13.5%
Mondako 11.7-12.3%
Harvest King 12%

I make mostly european style crust breads and will be making lots of sourdoughs, and sometimes pizza.

What do you suggest?

what other flour characteristics should be considered besides protein level?

PeterS's picture
PeterS

I think the Harvest King is a good bet.  It will make everything including pizza.  If you want more strength for pizza, replace some flour with vital wheat gluten. 436 g Harvest King (12%) and 14 g VWG (75%; Bob's Red Mill) will give you 1 lb of 14% flour.  Sift 2-3x or stir the flour well with the wheat gluten before adding liquid.  Second choice is the Mondako--only because I have never used it--but it reads like it is a Harvest King competitor. Same rationale as the Harvest King. buy whichever one is freshest.

If you must have All Trumps or the like, try going to the closest family owned pizza joint and see if they'll sell you a few lbs.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Thanks Peter, i'll give the Harvest King a try. i got a buddy getting into deep dish pizza business who can give me some Pendleton Power for higher strength. 

PeterS's picture
PeterS

Let us know how you like it.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

first batch with the new flour (Harvest King ) just out of the oven.  was easy to work with, my starter loved it and i think just the right amount of protein for sourdoughs.  i have photo in my other post here. See the 2nd bake in the comments. first bake was with AP. 

i need to do a simple one flour version and report back for a better review of the flour.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

what combination, if any, of bleached and bromated was it?

Did you end up divvy-ing with friends, or keep the whole 50 pounds?  Let us know what your friends think of it. Thx.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Harvest King Unbleached Unbromated.#53722  I've already handed out 25 lbs of it and used up about 8 lbs.  i'm going to need to get another one!  which is fine, i need to get more cranberry and walnuts too. got my third batch in the fridge right now while by seeded dough is bulk fermenting.  Trying to see if i can manage double or triple batches. i think the bottleneck is going to be number of bowls/bannatons i can find.

my 25 lbs of organic rye from Great River is almost down to half as well.

PeterS's picture
PeterS

IIRC, GM Harvest King is only unbleached/unbrominated.

PeterS's picture
PeterS

I visited their mill in WI a few years back and brought home a bag of whole wheat flour.  It had been milled only two weeks prior and was in its prime.  Best bread I ever made.

Suggest you refrigerate your rye if you're going to have it for more that a few weeks.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Just bought 100 lbs of flour today.

finishes my harvest king so I got another one. I liked it enough to get another one. And then spent $12 on a bag of Ardent Mills Stone Ground Whole Wheat flour. 

I’ve been cranking out my cranberry walnut sourdough and some wheat and rye boules. Right now I have a few chocolate hazelnut loaves in the fridge.