Why I Use the “Good” Flour
I’m just a fledgling business, officially incorporated less than a year ago, so I’m definitely still in the learning curve! But I think I’ve figured some things out. One of those things is to use the “good” flour.
I made a commitment to my future customers when I was creating my brand and products. That promise: I will always strive to use clean, pure, organic, local ingredients where possible. Since flour is a big part of my Rosemary & Pine Nut Savory Shortbreads, Spent-Barley Beer Crackers, Crispy Chicks Snack Crackers, and doubtless many future products, I was on the lookout for the best flour, local if possible and definitely organic, that I could find.
Economics: As a business owner striving to turn a profit, it would make sense to get the least expensive flour I could find, right? That would mean something like the 25-pound sack I could buy at the huge store where you have to buy a year’s worth of anything and can’t get out of there for less than $200 a trip. That store’s brand of flour runs about 30 cents a pound.
At my local supermarket, I can get a good-quality flour named after a legendary ancient English king for about $1.12 a pound, $1.92 a pound for their organic version.
However, I’ve opted to go with a local, organic flour that costs me $3.00 a pound. Full disclosure, I’ve recently started buying in bulk, so the cost is more like $1.35 a pound, but still pretty costly.
So why would I pay four or five times more for flour that I could get so cheap at the big box store? One word: QUALITY.
It struck me like a bolt of lightning when I was designing my product labels and listing the ingredients.
For the cheapest flour, I would have to include bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid. The theory is to add back the nutrients that are taken out of the flour to make it white flour. This so-called enriching has been good for the USA overall in eliminating some pretty bad diseases and birth defects because so many people eat the cheap stuff. However, note the word “bleached”. And I’ve done some research and found that more nutrients are added back than are taken out. The whole process seems suspect to me. I think the less processing for anything, the better.
The supermarket flour is better. But the ingredients listed are unbleached hard red wheat flour and malted barley flour. Better. “Unbleached” is good, and there is no enriching. But malted barley flour? I found out it’s added to promote yeast activity in baking. So more processing but still pretty good, actually.
Ultimately, I went with the local, organic source because its ingredient list is such: unmalted heirloom Turkey Red wheat.
I went with this one because I care about my customers and my community. And I can really get behind the company. You’ll see more about the company, Moxie, in future posts, but you can learn about their bakery location in Louisville, Colorado, in a post on my A Travel for Taste blog.
The mill site is in Boulder, about a 25-minute drive from my house. The milling operation is a nonprofit and is also a member of another nonprofit that promotes local and organic grains. Their website says that customers with gluten sensitivities claim that Moxie’s flour causes them less problems in that department. To top it off, the staff there is wonderfully welcoming, friendly, and enthusiastic about what I’m doing with the flour. In fact, the miller herself shops in my online store!
So, the price of my products reflects the quality ingredients and care that goes into them. When my customers give my crackers to their kids, they can be sure it’s the best quality around. I’m very proud of that.