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What's The Fuss Over a Little Bag of Flour – Capay Mills Øland Landrace Soft Red Wheat Flour?

Wheat Field, California

 

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. 

Capay Mills Øland Landrace Soft Red Wheat Flour

 

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. 

 

Capay Mills Logo
About Capay Mills
“Capay Mills launched in 2015 with a vision to reacquaint passionate bakers with the forgotten flavors and unique personalities of fresh milled flour made from 100% varietal wheat and grain. All of our grain is grown by local family farmers, following organic or sustainable practices, and milled to order in small batches on our Partisani Italian stone mill. Our mission is to grow an enthusiastic and informed market for sustainably grown varietal flour, bringing badly needed genetic diversity to our grain supply while providing small farmers the tools and services needed to welcome grain back as a cornerstone of sustainable farming practice. 
The inspiration for Capay Mills came from living and working in Italy, where passion for traditional, locally grown foods remains a way of life. Ancient stone mills still grind wheat bred for generations by local farmers to thrive in local soils and weather, and to meet the tastes of local communities. Flour is milled in small quantities to be used fresh, when flavor and nutrition are at their peak, to make extraordinary breads, pastries, cakes and pastas. We’re excited to now be able to share this passion with you.
About Our Flour
Capay Mills offers both wholegrain and bolted (sifted) flour made from a seasonal selection of rare landrace (heirloom) wheat and grains. The flavors, textures and baking performance of varietal flours are as diverse and unique as different varieties of coffee, chocolate or wine grapes.
Whole grain flour contains 100% of the bran and germ of the grain, offering deep flavors, texture and color and can be used for anything from flaky pie crusts, biscuits and batters to rustic breads and pastas. The oils that give whole grain flours their flavor and nutrition oxidize quickly, however, so it should be used as soon as possible after milling and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. 
Our bolted (sifted) flour retains up to 80% of the bran and germ, but offers a lighter texture and color for more refined cookies, pastries, cakes and breads. Bolted flour can be substituted for unbleached white flour in most recipes.”

 

Loaves of whole wheat bread

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.

Enjoy!

 

 



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