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Sep 1, 2011 04:48 AM

ISO Best Fresh Flour for Bread Baking

Mr. CG is currently consumed with baking bread. He using a book called "Tartine Bread" written by Chad Robertson, a San Francisco bread baker. It involves creating his own starter from flour and water and whatever yeast spores (spores - is that correct?) are in the air. instead of buying a commercial packet of yeast He's been nurturing it for weeks and apparently the freshness of the flour makes a difference.

He asked me to find out from you what the best source in town is for fresh flour. He's been using King Arthur unbleached and King Arthur whole wheat - I think from Whole Foods. Can anyone suggest the best source for really fresh flour?

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  1. Don't know about local but I like to get my flour from an artisan mill in Midway Kentucky called Weisenberger Mill. More to the point, there aren't many yeast cells floating around in the air (especially indoors) or in processed white flour. If Mr. CG wants to make a local starter I would suggest picking up some organic blueberries or grapes from your friendly neighborhood farmers market, both these berries (among others) have yeast cells growing on their skins. Just make a flour water slurry (I filter my water though carbon to get rid of the chlorine and/or chloramine first to give the little beasties a better chance), add a few berries and stir gently. After a few hours remove the berries, loosely cover the bowl and allow the yeast to grow. Rye flour also tends to be a good source of wild yeasts and can be used to start a starter.

    1. I think the bulk bins at the giant Whole Foods on Kingsbury turn over quite often -- I'd give that a try.

      1. One completely different suggestion. Buy the starter, don't create it from scratch. There's a site called that sells a number of varieties collected all over the world. They're powdered, you rehydrate them and mix with flour and water and ferment to create the "mother". I used King Arthur off the shelf for the flour

        It sounds more "artisinal" to try to do it yourself from naturally occurring spores, but having done it myself, it's hard to get a really vigorous starter that will last. I don't regret taking a shortcut.

        The Tartine book is very good, BTW.

        1. Unfortunately, Sour Flour ( lost their space in Chicago - hopefully, they will reopen and you will have access to a living starter.

          As for flour - I regularly buy from Honeyville Grain ( because (1) they sell flour in 50lb bags (I go through a LOT of flour) and (2) because they have a flat shipping fee.