Freshness and flavor are not typically associated with flour. But the difference between freshly milled flour from locally grown grains is quite noticeable, especially to the home baker. “Bread dough made with freshly milled wheat has great oven spring, that quick rise when it first hits the heat. The loaves rise beautifully with a dense firm crust,” said Darrold Glanville, miller and co-owner of Sunrise Flour Mill in North Branch.
Fresh flour may vary in color and texture from batch to batch, unlike all-purpose white flour, that’s processed and bleached for consistency and storage. Bakers may need to make adjustments by adding a little more liquid to a dough. “That’s the fun of it,” said Wes Gardner, manager of Baker’s Field Flour & Bread in Minneapolis, who noted, “It’s hard to think of flour as a fresh food as you would local vegetables, but freshly milled local wheat has real taste and that wheaty aroma.”
There is plenty of regional flour to be had. Order these options online for home delivery or pickup.
Also note a project called Neighbor Loaves that provides bread donations to community feeding programs when loaves are purchased from the participating bakeries.
The program, just launched, will be adding more bakeries and mills soon. Check the website for more details (graincollaborative.com/neighbor-loaves).
Baker’s Field Flour & Bread, Minneapolis: Flour online for home delivery or pickup from Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast or at any of the Twin Cities food co-ops. bakersfieldflour.com
Ben Penner Farms, Belle Plaine: Flour online for home delivery or pickup from these Minnesota locations: St. Peter Co-op; Ferndale Market in Cannon Falls; Hy-Vee in Faribault and Owatonna; Prairie Oaks Institute in Belle Plaine; New Ulm Community Market; the Good Earth Food Co-op in St. Cloud; Just Food Co-op in Northfield; Spiral Natural Foods in Hastings; People’s Food Co-op in Rochester; City Center Food Co-op in Cambridge. https://pennerfarms.com/where-to-buy/
Meadowlark Organics, Ridgeway, Wis.: Flour online for home delivery. https://www.meadowlarkorganics.com/our-products
Sunrise Flour Mill, North Branch: Flour online for home delivery or pick up at the Mill City Market (millcityfarmersmarket.org/covid-19). sunriseflourmill.com