HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Where to buy organic unbleached bread flour

I have been able to find organic unbleached all purpose flour but not organic unbleached bread flour. Does anyone know where I can find it in Toronto?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Arva Flourmills in London, will ship. They have some free shipping packages, but you may have to ask them to substitute organic for regular. http://www.arvaflourmill.com/?show=pr...
    Also, GPE in Scarboro has it, cash only https://plus.google.com/1036605789017...

    7 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      Thanks. I had forgotten about Arva. I notice on their website that McEwen's also carries their flours in Toronto. But, I don't see organic flour on their website so I will call and ask. I'm going to head up to GPE and also check out McEwen's this week. I'll also swing by The Big Carrot to check again but I think their flours are only available in bulk and I don't like the way the particular flour bins are exposed to fingers, dropped scoops, etc. I'll report back on variety and prices in case others are interested.

      Now that I've perfected my home made pizza dough I am tackling bread making and need a good supply of organic unbleached flour. I have my own grain mill so hopefully Arva or GPE also has the hard to find Red Fife wheat berries (Carrot doesn't) which I mill as required and use in my baking. I bought some at the Brickworks a few months ago only to find another stall a few feet away was selling them for half the price I had just paid.

      1. re: Flexitarian

        Arva informed me they that although they show organic flours on their website they do not sell them online, just the unbleached ones. They also told me that their flour is all natural with no pesticides or preservatives added except for the vitamins that they must add by law to their pastry flour and hard white flour. Nothing is added to their whole wheat flour. All of the wheat they mill comes from local Ontario farms near the mill and the flour is milled weekly so it is very fresh when you receive it (much fresher than conventional store bought for sure!).

        I am ok with buying their unbleached all natural flours which are not certified organic. Thanks for the lead jayt90.

      2. re: jayt90

        So I went to McEwens at the Shops of Don Mills and they did not have an unbleached organic bread flour, but they did have unbleached all-purpose. They also carry Arva Daisy Flour & Pastry Flour in 2.5kg bags.

        Then I went to Grain Process Enterprises in Scarborough. The have a small store there adjacent to their warehouse where they sell some of the items in their catalogue in smaller quantities and some in 10kg bags. The catalogue referred to above in jayt90's post (2nd post) has been updated to Oct 2013 and is available in the store, but not on the net and looks exactly the same. Anything they don't have in the store in smaller quantities they grab from the warehouse (from which they supply commercial establishments) but you have to buy those items in 10kg bags only. They did not have unbleached bread flour but they did have a variety of different flours, including Organic All Purpose White Flour($8.80/2.5kg), Organic White Hard Flour ($7.50/2.5kg) and a whole variety of other flours. Maybe the White Hard Flour is bread flour but they didn't have the gluten content on the package so I could not tell and didn't bother to ask, since I have the 20kgs of Arva Daisy Hard White flour now which I am going to use for baking my breads and pizza dough. I mainly went there to get Organic Red Fife Kernels ($30/10kg) and Organic Rye Kernels ($12.20/10kg) to mill in my Komo Grain Mill and combine with my Arva Daisy Flour to make bread.

        They have a variety of items in smaller packages so I got some caraway seeds ($3.85/450g) and poppy seeds ($3.99/300g) for baking and to mix into my 9-seed mixture that I grind a tablespoon of every morning in my seed grinder and toss into my steel cut quick cook organic oatmeal (along with the cup of wild blueberries and a dash of cinnamon).

        Thanks jayt90 for the suggestion of GPE. The prices are very good and the variety unmatched.

        1. re: Flexitarian

          The organic white hard flour is bread flour. I get the 10 kg bags from a local health food store. It makes good bread.

          Are you very happy with your Komo? I'm looking into getting a flour mill, but I'm torn between the Komo, Hawos or a smaller model from Osttiroler Getreidem├╝hlen.

          Do you temper your grain before milling and then sifting or are you using the Komo for whole grain only?

          1. re: jammy

            4 questions: Is the flour you get the exact same bag that GPE sells? Also what local health food store is it that sells 10kg bags? How much does it cost? How do you know that it is bread flour given there is no detail on the bag as to protein content, etc?

            This is the first I have heard about tempering so no I don't do it, lol. I am very happy with the Komo. I have the Komo 'Magic' model with the 'solid natural beechwood and satin finish stainless steel' which really looks nice. I have ground wheat kernels, rye and oats with it. I have had it for almost 3 years and it works perfectly every time. One can set it to grind very fine or coarse with many gradations in between. I use very fine for my baking. I don't sift as I usually use a combination of freshly ground whole wheat and unbleached white flour and I want to have all of the goodness of the entire whole wheat kernel in my dough. Why would you sift? To affect the mouth feel and taste somewhat?

            I wear some ear protectors when grinding as the noise is quite loud even with the top on.

            1. re: Flexitarian

              " Hard flour, or bread flour, is high in gluten, with 12% to 14% gluten content, and has elastic toughness that holds its shape well once baked." Wikipedia

              The bag is from P&H Milling http://www.phmilling.com/products.html

              so, Grain Process must be a distributor from various suppliers.

              My local shop is http://www.naturesbestbarrie.ca/en/

              The 10 kg cost anywhere from $24 when the grain supply is good to $34 when we had bad grain years. Apparently last year was a bumper harvest, so prices should remain on the lower end. I'd order from Arva, but 4 of those large bags would be too much for me at once for the flour to remain relatively fresh. Fewer bags, or the smaller ones, just end up being too expensive.

              Tempering the grain (soaking it in water )before milling and then sifting out the bran will give you white flour as opposed to a higher extraction or whole grain. You use a combination of fresh whole grain and white flours. Why? Because a truly whole grain loaf is much heavier than one that uses white flour. True whole grain is delicious, but sometimes you want something lighter, right?

              There's a real art and skill to tempering and milling, from what I've been reading. It's something I'd like to try, so I've been looking at the A160 on this site: http://www.getreidemuehlen.com/en/gra...

              I haven't contacted them for pricing, but suspect they won't be inexpensive, to say the least. I'd love to be able to grow and mill my own grains into whatever flour I need. Really fresh milled flour is something I've never had.

              I believe Chad Robertson of Tartine, and Josey Baker (http://joseybakerbread.wordpress.com/...) have the industrial-sized mills from that company.

              I'll stop now before I get into ubergeek baking mode and bore everyone to tears.

              Thanks for replying to my post and I hope I've answered your questions.

              1. re: jammy

                I paid $30 for a 10kg bag at GPE but then it was Organic Red Fife wheatberries which is more expensive than others and it was kernels not flour. I bought 4 bags or white unbleached flour from Arva which worked out to $25/10kg bag delivered to my door, but one was pastry flour and I sold one bag to someone on here for what I paid. But I've been using quite a bit of the Arva Daisy Flour to get a couple sourdough cultures started that I bought from sourdo.com that just won't take for some reason.

                GPE distributes to commercial establishments but they don't put the origin of their products on the packaging, but I'll have to ask next time.

                And you are right I use a combination of flours because I find 100% whole wheat a bit too much. I like the density and taste to be a bit lighter. I've tried 100% but now don't go over 50%. But I am now going to experiment with rye as both my Mom and I love rye bread with caraway seeds (she's Austrian).

                Having a mill is great because the kernels store for up to about 2 years and longer for some grains and you can't get fresher than milling. But, that is one hell of a mill that you provided that link to! Do you really need something that big and expensive if you are not a commercial baker? (or are you?) I looked at that joseybakerbread video you provided the link to and it was interesting and the name on the mill he had not yet uncrated is the same as that link.

      3. Did you try the Big Carrot? I haven't looked for it recently, but I'd expect to find it there.

        1. A bit out of your way, but there's Merrylynd Organics near Peterborough. They have Red Fife wheat as well.

          3 Replies
          1. re: earthygoat

            Thanks. Arva does not have Red Fife wheat, which is my prefered whole wheat and which I buy only in berry form as I mill it myself so I am going to try Merrylynd.Thanks earthygoat.

            1. re: Flexitarian

              GPE has red fife berries. Google it and look at 'PDF Product List'. Sorry I couldn't copy and paste it.

              1. re: jayt90

                Thanks jayt90 (geez I've noticed that you seem to know everything! :). I did find a pdf from 2011: http://wildernessreturn.files.wordpre... and they do have 'Organic Red Fife Kernels'. I'm going to go by and check them out which I've been meaning to do for ages.

                I placed an order for white flour with Arva. I like supporting local family owned enterprises and I hear they have been struggling.

            1. It would be interesting to see if any bakers here (home or commercial) have compared Arva with King Arthur flour or Bob's, or other expensive flours.
              When Thuet began selling bread, he was very happy with Arva.

              4 Replies
              1. re: jayt90

                The only thing I have noticed so far is that I need less water using Arva's hard flour or pastry flour than with other flours. 90% of the water I was using is so far still too much. I suspect that it is because being just milled a week ago the flour has a higher moisture content than flour that has been sitting around for many months before being sold.

                I made an apple pie crust with butter and lard using Arva's pastry flour yesterday and my dinner guests said the crust was incredible. (Hopefully they weren't just being nice to me, but I thought it was the best I've had).

                1. re: Flexitarian

                  I got my order of Arva flour this week and boy, does it ever use less water. I often make no-knead bread using 3 cups flour to 1.5 cups water. Using Arva flour, it was like soup. Even after adding another whole cup of flour to the mix, the next day the dough was extremely loose and puddled on the countertop. It took a lot of folding, and some more flour, but it eventually baked into a decent loaf. The flavour and texture of the finished loaf was very different from my usual flour, with a crunchier, but more tender crust and a grainier taste. Hubby's comment was that it tasted more like professionally baked bread. So, it looks like there's going to be a lot of experimentation. I'm curious to see what it will do with my sourdough culture.

                  Tomorrow, the pastry flour and whole wheat are going to be baked. I'll post results if you're interested.

                  If your pie crust was that good, I have high hopes.

                  1. re: jammy

                    The flour simply does not absorb water like other flours. An expert on dough tested it for me and also found that the gluten content was a lot lower than typical all purpose or bread flour and told me that I should wait about a month to use the flour. She told me I should put the flour in a container and shake it a couple times a day and that over the month it will age the quality of the gluten and hence protein level will increase. She gave me the same advice with respect to the Red Fife wheatberries that I mill myself. I have received conflicting advice regarding whether to use freshly milled flour or wait so I am pretty confused about it right now.

                  2. re: Flexitarian

                    Arva's pastry flour makes some fine shortbread cookies and crusts, but isn't working for me in cake batters. The cakes rise nicely, but then fall when cooling, ending up with a squishy middle and a pasty texture throughout. This has happened a few times, so for cakes, I'll probably go back to the AP flour from PC organics. It has given me the best results in that area so far.

                    Any other things working well (or not) for you?

                2. I just bought Oak Manor organic unbleached bread machine flour at Fiesta Farms for $7.99 a 1.25 kg bag

                  1. After more testing the Arva Flour Mill unbleached flour also required less water just like the pastry flour. Using my standard pizza dough recipe, it seems to require about 80-85% as much water as store bought flour. I have not yet heard back from the Mill owner about why this is the case but it seems to me that fresh just milled flour has a noticeably higher moisture content in the flour itself. Or, maybe it's the Ontario wheat itself? Arva's source of wheat is from farms around London, Ontario.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Flexitarian

                      You are probably correct, the freshly milled flour could have a higher moisture content as it has not dried out.

                      Maybe that is why they have the "four bags for the price of three" deal.

                      How do you like the results otherwise?

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        Fantastic - Unbleached, Ontario grown wheat, 12.5% protein content, just milled and no preservatives or chemicals except vitamins required to be added by law. Can't get any better than this. May order more frequently and so can let another bag go - my email is in my profile.