local, freshly ground flour
There is a new vendor at the Arlington Courthouse Farmers' Market. You can buy locally-grown and freshly ground whole wheat and rye flours. They also have free-range eggs. I have only tried the whole wheat flour.
Even if you think you don't like the taste of whole wheat flour, you should try this. I mixed some in to my rustic, salt-free Tuscan bread. I've made two batches now, and the taste and smell of the bread is wonderful. I used a larger proportion of whole wheat in the second batch, and smell and taste was even better. The crust is beautiful, too.
It has none of the icky taste that I associate with whole wheat. I had tried King Arthur Flour whole wheat, and even their white whole wheat wasn't all that good. I think perhaps the freshness is part of the reason.
In addition, it makes a very nice bread that is not too dense when compared to other whole wheat breads.
Typically, when I use some portion of whole wheat, I have to increase the amount of yeast. I did this the first time, and it over-rose, deflating some when it hit the hot stone floor of the oven. I still used more yeast the second time, but I watched it like a hawk so that it didn't do this again. Rising times were down. In the future, I'll decrease the yeast even more so as to lengthen the rising and make it even more tasty.
I don't recall the cost, but whatever it is, it's worth it. Beats King Arthur all over the place, which isn't all that inexpensive, particularly when you factor in shipping.
Wow, thank you for this tip. I know where I'll be this Saturday.
Speaking of the Arlington market, do you know if the mushroom vendor is there all summer? Are mushrooms a seasonal thing?
I visited their stall at the Dupont Market today. A 2-lb bag of the whole wheat is $6.00.
Also spoke with, I believe it was Rob, and he told me that the flour is low-gluten. He advised when baking bread, use 1/2 Montoux flour and 1/2 high gluten flour, OR, use 1-2 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten per cup of the Montoux flour. He advised this because he said using the Montoux flour alone could result in a very dense bread. I haven't used it yet, so I can't comment from my personal experience.
Here in beautiful Ellicott City, MD, we've been able to enjoy freshly ground local flour and corn meal from Washington Quality Foods since 1913. I am sad to note that they have discontinued their prepared mixes:
Washington Spoon Bread
Washington Pancake & Waffle Mix
Washington Corn Muffin
Washington Corn Bread
Washington Hot Muffin
Washington Bran Muffin
Washington Raga Muffins
But they do have recipes on their website to recreate the mixes, except for the beloved Raga Muffins: http://www.wrmills.com/ourrecipes.html