What can you expect when baking with our flour?

What can you expect when baking with our flour?

This is a pretty fundamental question. On one hand, flour is flour, and all flours will share certain characteristics. But on the other hand, the grain used, the fineness and sift of the flour, and the additives added can make big difference in your final product. We hope that this article will help you understand the flour you've purchased and help you make those little adjustments that will make you feel successful in your bake.

What makes our flour different from most flours on the store shelf? A few things, actually: at the minimum, our flour is fresh, single origin flour with no additives. Many of our flours are also stone ground and made with heritage grains. Each of these elements affects the performance of the flour. Although this is the type of flour everyone used to bake with, it's not what we're used to now and your favourite recipes may need a few adjustments.

Before we jump in, here is a quick guide to the types of flour we offer. All of our products are certified organic, but there are some differences in the types of grains and the ways they are processed:

All Purpose Flour, Bread Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, and Wheat Bran. These products are made using organic modern wheat and are processed on our roller mill, also called a cylender mill.

Whole Grain Four, Sifted EX85% Flour, Cereal Mixes. These products are made using our stone mill using a variety of heritage or modern organic grains. Each product lets you know whether the grains used are heritage, ancient or modern.

Now let's take a look at some of the characteristics that will affect your bake.

Fresh Flour: Like all food products, flour changes over time as it's exposed to oxygen. This is called oxidization. We do our best to keep our flour as fresh as possible, so we don't intentionally stock flour and we mill according to our order volumes. This is important to us as we want you to receive as much of the nutritional benefit of the grains as possible. You'll notice a difference in smell and flavour, as well as colour. As flour ages and oxidizes it becomes whiter in colour so our flour may have a creamier appearance than you're used to. Fresh flour has more enzyme activity that may affect your bake. When making bread, these enzymes can speed up the fermentation process, meaning you may need to decrease the amount of time you let your bread rise. Over-fermentation can begin to break down the structure of the bread.

No Additives: This is probably something we don't think about too much when using flour you recently bought from the store. Additives can include vitamins and minerals (called fortification), bleaching agents, citric acid (a source of Vitamin C, but also helpful in creating strong gluten structure), and enzymes such as amylase which helps to break down starch and release sugars for more flavour and colour in baking. We intentionally don't refine any of our flours enough to require fortification and we choose not to add any performance enhancers to our flour. We want you to receive the most natural, clean product possible. This means that our All Purpose and Bread Flours won't absorb as much water as other AP/Bread flours you might be used to. Try reducing the water in your recipe by about 5% to adjust for this.

Stoneground Flour: Stoneground flour crushes the entire kernel into a cohesive flour, blending the oil and vitamin rich germ throughout the flour, creating a silky flour full of flavour and nutrition. The texture of stoneground flour is slightly coarser than roller milled flour, and if it is left as a wholegrain flour it adds a really nice, delicate crunch to baked goods. Stoneground flour can be sifted to remove larger bran particles, however it's not possible to get a truly "white" flour from stoneground flour. Any stoneground flour can be treated more like a whole wheat flour in terms of how much water it absorbs, how quickly it absorbs water, and in the texture of your baked goods. In addition, stoneground flour has lots of enzyme activity and available sugars which can speed up the fermentation process in bread baking. Watch your dough carefully to get a feel for how it ferments with stoneground flour. Over-fermented dough will result in less rise and, in the case of sourdough, overly sour flavour. Finally, stoneground flour is courser than more refined flour and so takes a bit longer to absorb water. Give your doughs and batters a few minutes to rest before you judge whether the hydration seems right.

Heritage Grains: You can read more about heritage vs modern grains in another blog post here. Heritage grains, drawing from deep root systems and leafy long stems, are full of nutrition and are easy to digest. This may be a game changer for many people who experience gluten sensitivity. A return to older grains, as well as less processed grains and traditional preparation methods, may be the answer to many people who have negative reactions to gluten. These grains respond differently in baking, though, to the modern wheat found in most flour. You can find baking characteristics to each of our grains on our website. Heritage grains vary in gluten strength with very low strength in rye, medium strength in einkorn and spelt, and higher strength in heritage wheat varieties like Red Fife. The gluten in heritage grains can also be more delicate and can break down more easily if over-fermented. Err on the side of slightly under-fermenting while you are getting used to using heritage grains in your bread baking. These grains also vary in their ability to absorb water when baking. Einkorn requires less liquid in baking than wheat. This is noticeable not only in bread baking, but in cookies, muffins, pancakes, you name it. If you find your go-to recipes are not responding the same with your new flour, try adjusting the liquid component first.

If we had to condense this information into 2 key points it would be hydration and fermentation time. Most recipes will just need an adjustment to the amount of water used. In general, our "white" flours will need less water than other white flours on the market. Courser flour also takes longer to absorb water, so letting your batter or dough rest for a few minutes will help you judge the hydration level. Fermentation in bread baking can move fast with fresh and stoneground flours so rather than relying on the clock, watch for key fermentation indicators such as expansion, and err on the side of slightly under-fermenting your dough.

We hope these tips will help as you dive into baking with fresh, stoneground, or heritage flours.The payoff to this learning curve is reclaiming powerful nutrition in your baking and discovering incredible and varied flavours and textures that will bring your favourite recipes to a new level.



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