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Flour, Hard Red Wheat

$3.95


This is Nash's go-to flour for bread. It is high in protein and high in gluten, so your bread rises well. It gives a hearty flavor and produces a crisp crust and a crumb with desirable irregular holes. As its name suggests, it gives your bread a slightly reddish color. It is great for sourdough or yeasted breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins, cookies, pizza and pie crusts and for thickening stews and gravies.

The gluten is found in the starchy center—the endosperm—of the grain (the only component that remains after the refining process). The bran of the whole wheat flour cuts those gluten strands and creates a denser and heartier bread product. The protein content is around 11% for this hard red wheat.

Bakers will notice that baking with fresh, whole-grain flour will require some tweaks to any recipes that assume you're working with artificially softened, nutrient-deprived, additive-rich flour. They might need to use more liquid and adjust kneading times, for example, but for many avid bakers, playing around with new flours is all part of the fun.

When a grain is refined, it is stripped of the germ and bran and only the endosperm (starch) remains. This is great if you want your flour to be able to sit on the shelf for years and not go rancid. However, it removes the most valuable nutrients, such as protective oils, fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. These nutrients help to feed the seed as it germinates and grows. When we “enrich” refined grains, we add these nutrients back in. Why remove them in the first place?

Nash’s hard white wheat flour is a whole grain product, so when they grind the wheat seeds, all parts of the seed including the bran (which contains fiber), the germ (which contains valuable oils and nutrients) and the endosperm are all still there, creating a nourishing end product. At Nash’s, they grow and mill the grains at the farm, delivering a fresh product with a difference you can taste.

To maintain their optimal protein content, it is best to store flour in the freezer (let it equalize to room tempature prior to baking) and refrigeration can work too. The main reason we keep our flour refrigerated is to slow the oxidation process, which makes flour behave differently and can lead to the oil in the germ becoming rancid. I've heard from several bakers that they can tell from how the flour behaves whether it's six months old or six hours old. The gold standard is to grind just as much flour as you need and use it immediately, but we know that's not always feasible.

Freezing flour is an excellent option. If it's frozen in an air-tight container, like a plastic bag, it can remain stable indefinitely, since the oxidation process is effectively stopped. Freezing doesn't seem to do any damage to the flour.

The reason why to refrigerate our flour, when you can keep "regular" store-bought flour in the pantry for months with no ill effects. Conventional flour is shelf-stable because it's been processed to remove the germ (a source of many nutrients) and the bran (a great source of fiber), leaving only the starchy endosperm. Additionally, this flour is usually bleached, which whitens the color of the flour and makes it "softer." Finally, shelf-stable versions of some of the nutrients that were removed are mixed back into the flour as additives to make it "enriched." These additives can affect the flour's texture, gluten development, and taste.

Our flour, in contrast, is made with the whole grain (germ, bran, and endosperm), so all the nutrients are kept intact.

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