Baking with a small-batch, whole grain, locally sourced wheat

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Never really thought much about seeking out locally sourced wheat, mostly because I assume all my flour is local since I live on the Canadian Prairies, one of the world’s largest wheat growing areas. There’s also a very interesting history of left wing populism and wheat farmers here too.


mmm, those look great. as a bread-baking enthusiast, i need to get some of that wheat.

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My wife loves to follow the recipes and measure & weigh everything precisely (which is why she’s a better cook than me) whereas I prefer to eyeball stuff and use my hands (which is why she’s a better cook than me) but damn I have fun (like a kid with Playdough) and pride myself on being able to judge my breadological endeavours by sight, smell & touch.

Also I grew small patch of barley in our front yard garden last summer - enough to brew a single glass of beer - maybe. Gonna try that again this year - cuz in my dreams I am an urban farmer. Huzzah!


Sir. Richard: When transported over long distances, fear causes toxins to build up in the wheat berries, altering the flavor. Great bakers know that for best flavor, one must execute the berries quickly…

No. Wait that’s not it.

Local sourcing of wheat of all things, in Los Angeles, of all places, seems like such a strange thing to do.

I get stone milling. Whole grain I get. I get that there are six standardized types of wheat. I even get small-batch production of flour. But does local sourcing really make a difference?

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I get the same results when using small amounts and less desirable when using it as the bulk of my bread.

The flavor addition of the freshly milled all-of-the-grain flour is very much repeatable by simply adding 1/4 to 1/3ed cup of wheat germ to regular bread or AP flour.

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@jlw Shut up, and take my money!

Seriously, you have got talents.

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Speaking of money, an electric grain mill is pricey, but the difference freshly milled (whole) wheat flour makes in home baking is very noticeable.

I have actually been looking at the one from country living (albeit for nut milling). Those things are expensive.

I discovered years ago that 100% whole wheat bread makes a good doorstop.

You might keep your eye out for a used or reconditioned one. Mine is a luxury that I appreciate every time I make bread (or anything with whole wheat flour — world of difference in flavor from store-bought whole wheat).

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But a damn tasty doorstop.

Back when I had expendable income, extra time, and a renewed interest in baking, I experimented a lot with flours for breads and pastries. My family and friends did not mind being showered with extras, except for the whole grains. No one wanted a loaf of denseness that would mold in 2 days if you didn’t eat it up. Or sometimes there was no mold, only a morphing into a brick. Anyway -

My results (and yours will vary) is that for bread, the best taste came from locally grown & milled hard wheat. Second place was King Arthur’s Bread Flour.
For cakes and delicate pastries, locally grown & milled soft wheat flour had the best taste, but Montana Sapphire for gave the best repeatable performance.
There are still a number of mills within an hour or two drive of Cleveland, and for us it’s a fun mini-roadtrip to visit them.

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@jlw, all your recent posts about your sourdough made me finally try it out. Fed a starter for two weeks and baked my first loaf this weekend. I’ve baked bread before but it never was as tasty as I hoped. This one though, it was great!

Crust was a bit too crunchy, but otherwise it tasted awesome.

(I followed this recipe, btw: )

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Awesome. Lower your oven temps by 5deg for the crust :slight_smile:


While being a Dutch person, I never knew that a Dutch oven was the thing I call ‘stoofpan’ (stewing pan) and that it actually could be used this way. I only used that pan for making stews.
This means I need two of these pans: one to make a stew and the other to bake a bread to go along with it.

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I am going to use the dutch (round) and french (oval) today for baking two loaves.

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