Wednesday, May 13, 2009

flour mill

raining right now. not lookin' to good for today's farmer's market. baked goods don't hold up in the rain so well. forecast for saturday isn't so good either. oh well. we typically get rain two saturdays every summer.

i mentioned yesterday that i visited the mill we buy our organic flour from. i taught a class in minneapolis for the bread bakers guild of america, the bbga. it was taught at the general mills headquarters, in the culinary center. anyway, my wife patti and i drove up there for the reason of stopping at great river organic milling in fountain, wisconsin. it was very worthwhile and informative. it was kinda hid back in the woods like someone makin' moonshine. thankfully, owner rick halverson came out and met us to lead us back to the mill.

at the mill i spent some time with the head miller, jerry. the mill is a multilevel building. the grain gets dumped into the holding tank, which is below grade. it is carried upstairs by an actual bucket and chain loader. it gets dumped into a sifter, and it heads down thru different streams depending on the need. into the stones, milled, and it gets sifted, remnants go thru a second pass and get sifted again. grain is moving all over via conveyors and pneumatic type systems. then down to bagging. very interesting. i feel it makes me even closer to our bread.

why organics? well, it not because i'm a leftover hippie or anything. it makes better bread. the best example is found with rye. in a conventional mill, the grain is "tempered" first by spraying it with water. two reasons: first, it makes it possible to remove the germ and bran. those two components are more valuable to the farmer for animal feed, so the are stripped away. second, it adds water to the remaining rye endosperm, making it heavier. more valuable to the farmer/miller. yes, they are a tricky pair. organic rye is dry milled, nothing stripped off. therefore the whole rye berry is in the bag. we refer to it as "WHOLE" rye flour. it is only available from an organic mill.

more tomorrow, gotta get the market truck outta here........


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