April 13, 2020 - 7:45am
Where have all the flours gone???
I am fortunate that I ordered some flour back in February prior to the shelter in place. I wanted to try a few different recipes with other types of flour - spelt, eihkorn, farro - and everything is sold out everywhere. Can’t even get grains to mill. Anyone had any luck finding flour/grains? I guess the supply chains are affected because I can’t imagine shifting from bakeries, restaurants etc to individuals would result in this level of shortage. Guess I’ll just have to perfect my kamut and wheat loaves. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!
Gone to hoarders every one.
(thanks for your subject line, made me smile)
When will they ever learn. Pete Seeger might know
(I'm writing this in the US. So if you are still in Spain, this doesn't apply.)
Actually, shifting from restaurants or bakeries (and their distributors) to commercial retail is not happening, or if so, very little.
Very very few people/businesses are in the "re-pack" business, to break down 50 pound bags to 5 and 10 pound bags. To do so, you need a business license category for food prep, and health certificate/whatever the same as a "food preparation" business.
You need packages/containers. Depending on the state, you also need to print up labels, with official ingredient lists, official Nutrition Info, expiration date, etc.
Restaurant and bakery _suppliers_ are not set up for it. They are not set up for selling to a stream of customers wanting 5 or 10 pound bags. Nor do they have "food prep" rooms set up. You can't legally open and close bags of food in the warehouse, or in the regular front office.
REstaurants are mostly closed. Bakeries likely don't have the spare man-power. And they can't make as much money selling flour as they can selling baked goods. It eats into their profit. They have legal/inspected food prep areas, but again, the packaging and labeling issues.
Private individuals can do it for family/friends, and get away with it.
So... the solution is YOU. You can arrange to buy a 50 pound bag from a restaurant supplier who now has excess inventory. You go pick it up, pay for it. Divide it into gallon zipper plastic bags, and share with friends.
If you go further back up the chain, then yes, you can bet the flour companies are telling their mills (internally owned, or jobbers) to divert more to the retail stream for the retail channels. But those things are "batched", and don't turn on a dime. There are weeks and weeks of lag time. And we're only 3 weeks into this.
Also, there is not a one-for-one correspondence between commercial flour and retail flour. it's just not that simple. Best you can do is approximate.
Also a matter of "input grains". Both commercial and retail flour is a mix of various varieties of wheat grains, carefully re-balanced for each batch so that the final flour is consistent batch to batch and year to year. These batches are scheduled with the semi annual harvests (spring and fall), and all the transportation logistics in between farmer to granary to mill to warehouse to distributor to grocery warehouse, to grocery store.
All that can not be up-ended and re-arranged and put back together in a matter of 3 weeks.
General Mills lists __80+__ flours here, and it all looks pretty complicated to me: https://www.generalmillscf.com/products/category/flour
So yeah, call your nearest General Mills distributor, get a 50 pound bag or two of UNbromated, UNbleached whatever. (And know the protein percent, product name and 5 digit part # up front, to make it easy on the order taker.) And get some 1 or 2 gallon zipper bags, and take care of some friends.
Here's a handy list of all the unbromated, unbleached, GM flours, 11% protein and up: https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/62291/experience-w-general-mills-50-lb-flour
I'm _guessing_, based on protein percent, that King Wheat and Imperial, are close to retail AP flour, and that Harvest King and Full Strength are close to retail Bread flour. And the specs on "All Trumps" look close to KA Sir Lancelot high protein.
If you're willing to buy in bulk, Lindley Mills in NC has flour available. They have a 2 week backlog, but at least you can get some.
Over here in West Michigan, our local Amish store has hard red, hard white, and soft white; all in 50-pound bags. When asked how much they have in stock, the clerk said "lots."