USING LOCALLY-GROWN, LOCALLY-MILLED FLOUR
In addition to the social and economic reasons for buying local, the reason for buying this flour is that it is more flavorful and nutritious than anything you can get in the supermarket. When we get time, we’ll add some documentation for the better nutrition. The reason it’s more nutritious is that supermarket flour has been processed to remove the most nutritious parts (germ and bran) because they (a) contain oils that may eventually go bad at room temperature , or (b) contain seed-coat particles (bran) that keep the finished product from looking nice. After processing, they bleach it using bromine to make it whiter. Finally, having removed the mosty nutritious parts, they ‘enrich’ it by adding vitamins and minerals to partially replace those lost in removal of the bran and germ. This is all a long-winded lead-in to our first recommendation:
1. Store it in the freezer. This keeps it fresh, and prevents the oils released in the milling process from slowly going bad. That said, the flour will keep on the shelf for six weeks or more.
Our other recommendations are:
2. Use a little less liquid in making batters and doughs. Small stone mills don’t grind the flour as finely as do the big commercial mills, so they don’t take up liquids quite as quickly or as much.
3. Use a little less shortening. Nonie finds that in making pie crusts she uses only half as much shortening as she would using store-bought flour.
4. Don’t believe everything you hear about differences between bread flour and pastry flour. There are differences, to be sure, and when we get time, we’ll add some more information about this. Our main point is that, unless you are a commercial baker, or demand really light, fine textured, fluffy bread, our soft white wheat flour makes pretty darn good bread that has a lot more intrinsic flavor than anything made with bread wheat that we’ve tasted yet. It has so much flavor, in fact, that we generally mix our ‘pastry’ flour 50:50 with bread flour to make the bread flavor a little milder.
5. If you must, you can remove some of the bran by sieving and sifting using an old-fashioned flour sifter or a kitchen strainer.
6. E-mail us to let us know if you’ve discovered other differences between real flour and the store-bought stuff.