Why do you use a stone mill?
GRAIN uses an Austrian stone mill, handcrafted from stone and pine wood by the Osttiroler Getreidemühlen Green company in East Tyrolia, Austria.
The Green family have been building stone flour mills for bakeries and restaurants around the world for more than 100 years. Except for the electric motor, their stone mill technology is based on an ancient, proven method of transforming whole grain wheat into delicious, aromatic flour. Two thick, heavy stones with carved with tapered grooves carved rotate against each other, slowly grinding whole kernels into fine flour. The slow-moving stones are key to keeping flour temperature low, ensuring minimal impact on the end product.
The resulting product bears little resemblance to the typical, highly processed shelf stable flour most commonly available.
What makes GRAIN flour different from commercial brands available at the grocery store? How about organic flour alternatives?
Mass produced, commercial flour is a casualty of the over-industrialization of our food systems. Bleached, deconstructed, heated and chemically altered. Most flour available today is the product of highly mechanized food processing that prioritizes efficiency, economy, and shelf-life over flavour and nutrition. This includes the better known organic flour alternatives as well.
GRAIN flour is made from the whole grain, including the germ, the part of the grain kernel that contains important nutrients and essential oils. It is the presence of these oils that lead to rancidity of whole grain flours. Large-scale commercial flour millers, therefore, often choose to crack the grain into its parts and discard the germ before milling. GRAIN chooses to mill the whole grain and, to avoid rancidity, only mills flour to order. We never store flour in our warehouse.
Canadian commercial flour producers are permitted to use “bleaching, maturing or dough conditioning agents” in the production of grocery store flour.
The list of permitted agents includes: Acetone Peroxide, Ammonium Persulphate, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Benzoyl Peroxide, Chlorine, and Chlorine Dioxide. The maximum amount of use of these agents is often limited only by the regulation which reads “good manufacturing practice.”
Industrial flour producers remove portions of the grain that could lead to rancidity, namely the germ, which contains nutritious b-vitamins, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids. This is because flour sold in grocery stores must be shelf-stable—that is, the product must not degrade in quality during the time it takes for the batch to be shipped from the mill to the distribution warehouse and then to the grocery store, where it will likely sit for some time, before ending up in your cupboard.
Even grocery store whole wheat flour lacks the nutrients found in the germ and includes only a percentage of the bran that was originally removed. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency permits up to five percent of the wheat kernel to be removed from whole wheat flours, “which includes much of the germ and some of the bran—to help reduce rancidity and prolong the shelf life of whole wheat flour.”
The traditional grocery retail supply chain requires flour to be shelf stable, in order to be capable of sitting in storage for sometimes years before it reaches the consumer. In order for flours to be shelf stable, the processed product is stripped of the nutritious parts and additives are added.
How do I store the flour? How long is the shelf life?
Because GRAIN flours include wheat germ, which naturally contains nutritious oils, we recommend using it right away and storing the remainder in the fridge or the freezer for up to six months. If you do not have room in your fridge or freezer, room temperature flour is ideally best used with 4 weeks.
We advise to buy smaller quantities, more often. We mill your flour to order, and ship it right away, we never stock flour in our warehouse.
I’m new to sourdough bread baking, which flour should I start with? For other baked goods?
For novice sourdough bread baking, we recommend starting with our Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour. It has the highest protein content and provides the most consistent results for beginners.
For quick bread recipes, including cookies, muffins, and cakes, we recommend starting with either the Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour or Sifted Red Fife Wheat Flour, both which are ideal for creating moist, flavourful baked goods.
What is the difference between Red Fife Wheat Flour and Red Spring Wheat Flour?
GRAIN Organic Red Fife Wheat Flour is an ancient grain, milled from organically grown Red Fife Wheat from Etzikom, Alberta. It contains a natural protein content of 12% and is a softer wheat than the Red Spring Wheat.
We do not recommend this flour for sourdough bread if you are a beginner. Experienced bakers will be able to achieve flavourful, nuanced loaves of exquisite texture using our Red Fife Flours.
Our Whole Grain Red Fife Wheat Flour contains 100% of the grain. Our Organic Sifted Red Fife Wheat Flour has an 80% extraction rate.
GRAIN Red Spring Wheat Flour is milled from Red Spring Wheat from Etzikom, Alberta. Our Red Spring Wheat contains a natural protein content of 12%. Canadian Red Spring Wheat is known as the best bread wheat and is prized for bread baking worldwide.
Like our Red Fife Wheat Flour, Sifted Red Spring Flour is a perfect replacement for industrially produced white all-purpose our in basic items, it is more flavourful, more nutritious, and freshly milled.
Our Whole Grain Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour contains 100% of the grain. Our Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour has an 80% extraction rate.
What is the difference between the Whole Grain and Sifted Flours?
With 100% whole grain flours, you get exactly that, 100% of the grain, crushed into a fine and beautiful flour. The whole grain flours lend a deep flavour and texture to baked goods.
Our sifted flour also start out as crushed 100% whole grains. After the slow-moving stones crush the grains, the flour passes through fine screens to remove the larger bran and germ particles leaving beautiful, soft and richly textured flour.
What if I’m gluten intolerant?
Everyone is different, and people who struggle with gluten digestion are affected in different ways by wheat products. Some of our customers who have previously experienced symptoms when consuming traditionally available wheat products have reported they can consume all of our products including our whole grain wheat berries and all varieties of freshly milled flours without issue.
What if I have Celiac Disease?
All GRAIN products are stored and packaged in a facility where wheat products are milled daily, and all of our packaging equipment is used on all of our products, including naturally gluten-free products like peas and legumes.
Can I pick up my flour order?
We’d like to be able to offer pick-up from our warehouse for local customers but currently can’t support that system effectively. We’re working on a solution for this and will update our customers via our newsletter.
Aside from purchasing our flours through our website, we have flour pop-up shops regularly where customers can pre-order and pick up freshly milled flours. You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook or sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date on when the next pop-up will take place.
Are your products organic?
We work with certified organic farmers, but the GRAIN milling and packaging facility are not certified. Therefore, our products are not labeled as certified organic. The GRAIN product supply chain is really short and uncomplicated. We haven’t felt it necessary to spend the money and time to attain an organic certification. You can find more details about each of our individual products in the product descriptions.
Can I order more than 2 kg of flour?
Due to the nature of our flours (they contain essential oils found in the germ), we encourage buying smaller quantities, more frequently. We also recommend using freshly milled flour right away or storing it in the fridge or freezer to avoid rancidity.
Do you offer free shipping?
Orders over $50 ship for free always in most places in the USA and Canada. There are some more remote locations where we do ship, however, it is not feasible to offer these rates. This will show at the checkout.
Shipping for mills and other non-food items are as listed at the time of checkout and do not qualify for free shipping.
How quickly will my order ship?
At GRAIN we strive to process your order as quickly as possible - usually within 1-2 business days. Once processed, you will receive an email notification that your items have shipped. You will also be provided with tracking information.
Our orders are processed, packed and shipped from Vancouver, BC, Canada. All packages are shipped using either UPS or Canada Post and are processed in Canadian currency. Additional shipping costs incurred for rejected or returned to shipper packages are the responsibility of the customer.
Do you offer returns?
If you are not happy with your products or service for any reason, please contact us for a full refund. We are confident you will immediately notice the difference in the quality of our products.
Have a question not answered here? Send us an email. We'd love to hear from you!