The best way to consistently get my grain is to purchase a Flour Share. The order deadline is February 1, 2021, after which you will receive ten pounds of freshly milled flour ground by Grist and Toll each month for six months. Consider sharing with a friend or neighbor!
If you prefer a single purchase, visit:
Grist and Toll, Pasadena, CA: Carries my Chiddam Blanc de Mars and Wit Wolkoring as stone-milled flour, available at their retail and online stores
The King’s Roost, Los Angeles, CA: Bulk wheat berries of Chiddam Blanc de Mars and Wit Wolkoring
The Bagel Mill, Petaluma, CA: Chiddam Blanc de Mars as stone-milled flour in 5 lb bags
Green Valley Farm + Mill, Sebastopol, CA: Chiddam Blanc de Mars as whole wheat berries in 5 lb bags COMING SOON
As for Feb 2021, Chiddam Blanc de Mars is available as whole wheat berries in 50 lb increments. If you’d like to purchase 50 lbs or more, you can:
- Place an order through the Los Angeles Bread Bakers (LABB) group order by contacting Roe at The King’s Roost, for LA-area residents
- Pick-up from Sebastopol on the last Saturday of each month, by appointment only. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally from England, this heritage wheat received greatest reception in France and was documented in 1864. Turn of the century Parisians preferred Chiddam Blanc de Mars for their baguettes. I grew this variety for my mom, my banh mi, who loves French baguettes. This wheat has a pronounced, unique flavor with hints of pecans, honey, and fresh herbs.
We’ve been deprived of water for years, and now our sources and supplies vary. So, I’m excited to grow this landrace wheat from South Africa that was selected for its drought tolerance. It originates from our Sonora, and I’m replenishing our supply as it becomes increasingly relevant for our conditions. I was also curious about this wheat because Dave Miller said of one batch that it was the best wheat he had ever used. I want to see if he still feels the same about mit Wit. This wheat tastes the least like conventional whole wheat in that it’s milky and buttery, as in goat’s milk butter, instead of having a strong nutty flavor. Its soft bran helps it act like an all purpose flour while still carrying whole grain nutrients.
Sonora | Soft white spring wheat
This versatile grain can be used for breads, cakes, and salads. So soft, sweet and plump, it can be cooked up like rice or barley as a dinner grain!
Sonora was the first wheat variety successfully cultivated in the new world, and was used in the northern Mexican state of Sonora to create the very first wheat tortillas. Naturalized in the dry regions of Mexico’s north makes it well adapted to California’s hot, dry summers.
When I lived in Toronto, I noticed sacks of red fife flour in each of my friends’ houses. I had never seen grain varieties specified on flour bags before. This piqued my curiosity, wondering if my friends were flour children of a cult. Indeed, they were in a 35 million person cult: being Canadian. The official national grain of Canada red fife is famous as a bread wheat. It crossed several continents and across the Giant Pond before getting to Canada. It’s experiencing a revival as home-baking and whole grains becomes increasingly popular. Just like Canadian football with its hundred meter fields and Canadian bacon which for some reason goes on pizza, red fife is much like the varieties of wheat you’re accustomed to, but a bit different. Nutty, bold, yet familiar.
In the fall of 2013 I found myself in a lovely California-style home in Los Feliz, California learning how to bake bread. Between dough risings and loading up the wood-fire brick oven, I got to know Mark Stambler. It turns out that he was a key actor in changing the state’s cottage food law to enable more people to sell homemade foods, including his own. Thank goodness because his L.A. Miche is so good! This is Mark’s favorite grain to bake with, so this crop is dedicated to him.
This one’s for all my eastern European friends who fed me rye bread and crackers on nearly every occasion there was to eat. This grain is used for crackers, bread, and beverages. Spicy, nutty, and a staple. Just like my friends.
This ancient grain resulted from a cross of the ancient and wild grains in the Near East. Prominent in diets from the Bronze Age to medieval times, spelt remains popular in northern Spain as an important health food. Its distinctively dynamic, sweet, bright flavor makes a great impression on any palate.
Spelt is sought out for making breads, crackers, beer, and distilled spirits such as the Dutch jenever.
Akmolinka | Poulard wheat
Alaska | Soft white winter wheat
Arabian Blue Emmer | Hulless emmer
Blu’du Arcour | Hulless emmer
Foisy | Soft white spring wheat
Ethiopian Blue Tinge Emmer
Maparcha | Poulard wheat
Syrian Wheat | Hard red spring wheat
Tres | Club spring wheat
Xinchan Rice | Wheat
What’s the difference between hard and soft wheat?
Hard wheat tend to have higher protein content and stronger gluten-forming proteins (13-16%) than soft wheat (8.5-10.5%). The industry logic is that hard wheat are better suited for yeasted products and breads with an open, chewy inside. Flour from soft wheat is better for items with fine insides: flatbreads, udon-style noodles, cakes, muffins, biscuits, and cookies.
It turns out that whether a bread dough will rise and be airy is more complicated than just a number. There are two principle kinds of protein that affect whether the dough will be goopy or tight, and they should have a one to one ratio to give the perfect loaf. Additionally, a wheat’s enzymatic activity is also key and not accounted for in the protein percentage.
This is the kind of information that doesn’t come on labels. Farm source, harvest date, mill date, and, in the case of whole wheat, how much of the wheat is actually present are absent from flour packages. Given the current state of things, you’ll have to experiment to find out what your batch is good for.
Red wheat is associated with hard wheat, while white wheat can be hard or soft.
What’s the difference between a winter and spring wheat?
Seasonal labels refer to when the grain was planted. Timing affects the size and strength of the plant, which are important to a farmer. Winter wheat tend to have stronger stalks and smaller heads, while spring wheat likely follow the opposite trend. Spring wheat are less susceptible to diseases simply because it’s not in the field as long, but must be grown where sufficient rainfall is reliable in the early spring.
How does this effect eaters? Winter wheat is typically harvested in hotter weather, which tends to create gluten with greater elasticity (tendency to contract). Spring wheat is harvested later in the year, when it’s cooler and more moist and inclines gluten to have greater extensibility (tendency to move outward). These are generalizations, though, and vary by region and varietal.
Find additional resources at CaliforniaGrains.com/Campaign.