Flour Has Flavor? Who Knew?
I am on a mission to buy local whole grains! Now I already try to use baking ingredients that are better for me, like Red Mills soy flour, flax flour and grains, but I have never really considered the use of local flour – honestly, I didn’t realize there was such a think in Vermont. I grew up in a home that supported the bags of white fine fluffy powered flour that you purchase in the grocery store in those nice and neat five pound bags.
After a bread making workshop that I attended the other night, I am hooked on Gleason Grains and their 100% Organic Whole Wheat Stone Ground Bread Flour. The bread that we made from this flour (along with yeast, maple syrup, and olive oil) was denser than most bread, but what got me was the grittiness and texture of the bread. There was a distinct crunch to the bread within its soft innards. You could actually feel the grains on your tongue, and it was scrumptious!
I think I am most surprised by the amount of flavor that this flour actually has. For most of us that are used to processed commercial grains with limited taste, this was a new beginning in the world of baking.
Now I will say that it isn’t going to be as easy to make a loaf of bread with this whole wheat local flour. For one thing it is a bit of a challenge to master a product that has such variations due to the small-batch stone-ground process that creates an almost unique batch of flour each time. Each loaf will ultimately be a different baking experience and each recipe will have to be tweaked. Why? Because this flour is grown not for yield, but for flavor. And that is a wonderful thing.
After our loaves came out of the oven at the workshop, I lovingly brought home this still warm creation and served it with broiled steak. That’s it. Dinner last night consisted of a succulent salt and pepper steak and thick slices of bread to drag through the meat juices left on the plate. A perfect ending to the day.
For the steak, all I did was set my broiler to 525°F, sprinkled salt and pepper on the steak, and placed it under the broiler for about 8-10 minutes. When that side was done, I flipped the steaks over, sprinkled more salt and pepper, and then set it back under the broiler for another 10 or so minutes – or until it was done to our liking.