Flour Power

Husband and I were delighted to find a bag of Swany White flour recently in a natural food store in Fargo. The store owner told us that Nicole, of Nicole’s Fine Pastry in downtown Fargo, won’t use anything but Swany White. Nicole makes great pastries. He also said that Nicole and the mill owner were cousins.  (I love the small town angle in these conversations.) I hadn’t seen any Swany White since the Freeport, MN mill burned down a few years ago.  We had heard rumors that the mill was operating again. We snapped up a 25 lb bag, and hauled it home. I baked French bread with it this past weekend. I used a combination of Swany, Artisan flour, and Bread flour.  We froze all the loaves as we had too much bread already to start another loaf, so I can’t say if the flour quality is the same. It doesn’t have the same bran flecks the original flour had. It is just as finely ground though, like silk.

I think we have more kinds of flour than most people. In addition to the Swany White, we have King Arthur all-purpose white flour and King Arthur bread flour. We have King Arthur artisan flour, French flour, whole wheat flour, and white whole wheat flour.  We also have a bag of White Lily flour for Southern-style biscuits and white wheat berries for a rustic Italian bread we like to make.

Husband is a real fan of baking rye bread, so he has white rye, pumpernickel, medium rye, rye flour blend, rye chops (coursely ground rye berries), rye bread improver, deli rye sour, First Clear flour (it increases the gluten content in rye breads), and frozen rye sourdough starter. He tries to replicate the wonderful rye breads we found in Winnipeg.

On Sunday, Husband bought Rose Beranbaum’s The Baking Bible for me as a Mother’s Day present. I think he had ulterior motives for me to bake pastries for him. Rose is an absolute fanatic about flour, and compares the protein content of various flours and likes to balance the proteins in her breads using bleached and unbleached flours for just the right results. I think she goes too far, but who am I to judge. She really likes Gold Medal bleached flour as a basic baking flour.

Husband’s brother-in-law has tried for years to replicate the hard rolls baked in their home town of Sheboygan WI that are used for bratwurst. They are wonderful rolls that I have not encountered anywhere but in Sheboygan.  Batch after batch has been baked and deemed lacking. I convinced him that the problem is in his home oven, and so he is thinking about a wood fired clay oven in the back yard.  He is also thinking about apprenticing himself to a Sheyboygan bakery to finally solve the problem. If you knew Husband’s  brother-in-law, you would agree that keeping him busy with this is best for all concerned.

We read at Easter about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness when he says to Lucifer that man doesn’t live by bread alone. I think the Devil has a point, though. Bread is wonderful. I don’t see our going overboard over bread or flour as sinful at all. There are worse things we could be doing.

What makes you go overboard?



26 thoughts on “Flour Power”

  1. Rise and Jump Overboard Baboons!

    Welcome home tim!

    My overboard comes this weekend at the Eden Prairie Picha Big Woods garden plant sale. I will come home with many flats of flowers and veggies, above and beyond the ones I start in my cold frame. Then I must plant them all, which will take several weeks. But I am happy! Ben’s chicken poo will fertilize a few of them.

    The other big overboard experience is taxes this year. Since selling the biz, I have been NAILED by Estimated taxes, MnCare taxes, State taxes, Capital Gains taxes, and a Federal tax mistake from 2015. It has left us feeling broke and punished. Lou is making Trumpish, Republican-sounding tax declarations about business owners being penalized for showing initiative.

    I am just resentful of having to pay for DJT’s trips to Florida every weekend. Humph. Bah. Humbug. Talk about overboard–in 2020 election, can we please throw him overboard?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s kinda funny to me, I’m excited I can find ANY brand of flour besides Gold Medal at the grocery store. I haven’t thought to look at our local ‘good food’ stores or co-ops. But I do get King Arthur at HyVee.

    I go overboard on music and DVD’s. We’ll never watch all the DVD’s we have. Music, yes, but not so much movies…
    And Don’t tell Kelly, but she buys too many plastic storage tubs! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I enjoy the movie Stranger than Fiction, for one thing for thr cast. At one point the mousy Will Farrell character gives Maggie Gilenhal a bouquet of flours.


  4. I tnihk maybe my squirrels have switched to shopping at the natural foods outlet, or the turkeys have scared them off.


  5. I have gone somewhat overboard on flours myself, in the attempt to go gluten free. I just inventoried, and the cupboards hold: sweet white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour, almond flour, sorghum, millet, potato, buckwheat , corn (not meal), and garbanzo bean flours. Good grief! I don’t bake much lately, but when I do I usually just use a non-gluten mix that combines three of them. It used to be so easy to bake!

    I suppose the other overboard is joining groups. In an effort to get established in the past 11 months here, I have joined: Friendship (Senior) Center, Learning Club (WSU Retirees), the library and Y, Winona Women for a Healthy Community, Land Stewardship Partnership, River Arts Alliance, Winona Folk Dancers, the Unitarians and choir, Wellspring Singers, Community Rights of Winona, Friends of Will (ushers for Shakespeare Fest),and two book clubs. Luckily most of these only meet monthly (or not at all). Was about to join the Winona Bird Club, which sounds like so much fun, but decided to wait a bit…
    (Wow, I didn’t realize it was quite this much till I started listing. Yikes.)


  6. Moderation in all things, my friends, is my motto. While this may sound alarming to some of you bread fiends, I am trying to cut all grains and breads out of my diet (not very successfully yet). I do love the Ezekiel sprouted grain bread and English muffins. But I have found recipes to make flat “breads” out of cooked pureed squash, grated carrots or grated cauliflower along with coconut flour and they taste quite good. Different, but good and they serve the purpose of holding a meat or spread on top deliciously.

    I may occasionally go overboard on consuming dark chocolate. If there happens to be chips in the house, that would also a prime candidate.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to go overboard with books and used book sales, but no longer.

    I wish I went overboard on exercising and eating healthily, but no, not at all.

    If photography equipment was cheaper, I definitely would go overboard on purchasing that. Some people might say I’ve gone overboard with tripods (I own 4 plus a monopod), but I don’t think so. But I think I can get rid of one of them. But there’s another one I’m thinking of getting, so I guess that cancels out that.

    I do go overboard with complaining and venting my frustration sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Two years ago I planted 16 tomato plants. Way too many! Last year I planted 12. Way too many! This year I plan to plant 8. I hope it is manageable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We find 2 of the Cherry Tomatoes to be way too many at times. Course I don’t eat them. So really, it’s just my wife living cherry tomatoes at times…


  9. The Farmer’s Market is where I tend to go overboard. Just can’t get enough of the fresh produce. I forget that we’re just two, and by the time we get to everything I’ve bought, it’s basically compost. Not so much a problem at the beginning of the growing season, but by the time eggplant, tomatoes, squashes and peppers are plentiful, I’m in trouble.


    1. I have to hold myself in check, and consider carefully how much I’m really able to consume. I ALWAYS overbuy squash in the fall, thinking it will keep.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Apples during apple season, asparagus during asparagus season, at the farmers market.

    Raspberries during raspberry season, in my backyard.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am puzzled as to why Rose Beranbaum likes bleached flour. I haven’t found that bleaching imparts any virtue to flour – it seems to me to be a no-brainer to buy the unbleached.

    I usually buy organic unbleached flour from the bulk bins at the co-op. I would rather buy something that doesn’t have added folic acid. I tried some organic Einkorn flour a few months ago, but I was rather disappointed in the rolls I baked with it. They were sort of heavy and dense.

    I try not to go too overboard on anything, but I have a long list of weaknesses. I have had as many as four cats at once. And books…and chocolate…oh my.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. She says that bleached flour has less protein than unbleached flour, and is better for cookies since it doesn’t brown as much and leaves cookies fatter and puffier since it doesn’t absorb as much liquid. Bleached flour makes better pie crusts because of something to do with the gluten that makes the crurt flakier and more tender. Unbleached flour is better for bread.

    Liked by 1 person

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