What's The Fuss Over a Little Bag of Flour – Capay Mills Øland Landrace Soft Red Wheat Flour?
You may wonder how one can get so excited about a bag of flour. I assure you it’s not just a symptom of frenzied sourdough bread making as a response to the quarantine. This bag of flour is really special. Firstly, the wheat is grown and milled right in Capay Valley, California. Which is remarkable in and of itself. Most commodity wheat is grown in giant monoculture areas in places like North Dakota and Kansas. Commodity wheat is a modern variety, bred for yield, disease resistance, ease of harvesting and, above all, consistency. This has largely resulted in a predictable, yet flavorless product.
Thank goodness for entrepreneurs like David Kaisel of Capay Mills, in Capay, California, who not only grows unique and flavorful ancient grains, but he also mills it, along with other grains he gets from small local farms. In our October Farm to Fork in a Box we feature his Øland Landrace Soft Red Wheat flour which is highly flavorful and favored by many renowned bakers. Landrace grains are ancient varieties that have been growing throughout the world for thousands of years, and thrive and adapt in their local environmental conditions. Somewhat similar to what terroir is to grapes or coffee. Øland is a Swedish Island where this grain has grown for centuries. This grain may have never made it out of Sweden, as legend has it, if renowned baker, Claus Meyer of world famous (and voted the World's Best Restaurant) noma in Copenhagen, hadn't taken a liking to it. He brought some seeds to Denmark to try to grow some locally for baking. It turns out, it grows pretty well in Denmark. Claus then brought it to New York when he opened a new bakery there.
David Kaisel, owner of Capay Mills, and a self-described grain nerd, got his hands on some seeds, and it turns out it grows pretty well in California too. Here is more about Capay Mills and their flours, in David’s own words.
Use this flour as you would any whole wheat flour. The less you handle it the better it will perform. I don’t really fuss with sourdough, but I love making no knead breads. They are so easy to make and require very little time. Here is a recipe that never fails me. You can also use this flour in any baking recipe that calls for whole wheat flour and is great in cakes and cookies.
Now you know how I can get so excited about a little bag of flour. David’s flour is favored by many Bay Area bakers as well as in the Sacramento area, including Upper Crust Baking in Davis, Faria Bakery in Sacramento and the Karen’s Bakery in Folsom. We are pretty sure once you taste the difference with this flour you will want to seek out bakers that use quality ingredients like this. Let us know how you like it. Watch our video below to meet David and learn more about Capay Mills.