Availability of Central Milling Co. Flour (with digression on Chicken Cacciatore)
Several TFLers (myself included) have had good experience with flours from Central Milling Company (affiliated with Keith Giusto Bakery Supply) in Petaluma, California. In particular, I have been loving CM's Organic Artisan Baker's Craft flour for baguettes and other hearth breads, and I and Brother David have been very happy with CM's Organic Type 85 flour for miches. KGBS provides flour to some of the best artisan bakeries in the Bay Area and beyond. When I went to pick up some flour in November, I met Nicky Giusto (the "front man" for Keith Giusto Bakery Supply) and he is a great guy, very committed to making artisan organic flour available to all interested bakers. He spent quite a while describing their numerous products and recommending specific flours for specific applications.
After David's exuberant review of CM's Organic Type 85, a number of questions came up about the availability of KGBS flours. I spoke with Nicky today and got some answers.
It has been mentioned that CM mills the AP flour and whole wheat flour that Whole Foods sells under their 365 label. Nicky confirmed that Whole Foods' organic all-purpose flour is their Organic Beehive Unbleached Malted All Purpose flour, and it is available in all Whole Foods Markets. Nicky said he thinks this flour is the best they produce for making baguettes. Whole Foods organic whole wheat is also from KGBS. And Whole Foods' conventional (inorganic?) all-purpose flour is another KGBS product, Gilt Edge All Purpose.
It has also been noted here that COSTCO in some Bay Area stores carries CM flour.
Beyond the flours available through Whole Foods and COSTCO, Nicky says that his regional distributors are not really set up for small orders (under $500). KGBS will sell direct to home bakers any of their flours that they have broken into 5 pound bags. These are available either to pick up (best to call ahead) or by UPS shipment if it is an order of 20 pounds or more. Different flours are available at different times. When I was there, he had 5 pound bags of about 6 or 7 different flours.
Nicky also said that they hope and expect to make more flours available in small quantities in the future, but for now they have their hands full with their primary business of supplying bakeries. It's clear that KGBS wants to get their good flour into our kitchens, but it may take some time to get their packaging and shipment systems in place.
I'm just glad I get to Petaluma often enough to keep my pantry stocked.
KGBS/Central Milling's phone number is 866-979-2253.
Here's a link to a previous discussion about Central Milling: (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14044/my-visit-central-milling ).