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Another Day, Another Sample of Flours from Janie's Mill! It's Time for Some Bread!

Time for another rounds of flours from Janie’s Mill. I loved the first box of flours. The corn flour was the best and I am dying to get my hands on more. Plus they just released a new heirloom Waspie Valley corn flour and I found they sell a Bloody Butcher corn grits from a native corn. Is this what Mid-West life is? Just falling in love with corn?

This round of flour though is right up my ally, a Bread Baker’s Sampler. This box came with four bags of flour. Their High-Protein Bread Flour, Whole Kernel Bread Flour, Artisan Blend Bread Flour, and a Sifted Artisan Bread Flour. I was so ready to get my hands on the goods and start whipping up some various bread products and see how the flour is. Maybe even something less bready for fun.

Before I get into the flours and what I created though, let’s talk more about Janie’s and things I have discovered about this farm. The best things I learned recently is the farmer, who happens to share a name with me. Yup, Harold the farm is the one that tends to the land and grains and produces the berries for all the delicious flours Janie’s produces.

Harold is really not that common of a name anymore. Although I grew up with it as a family name and knew at least two others’ in my life with the name, I have only met a handful in the world that share it with me. Of those few I have met one was about my age and the rest tend to be three times my age. It’s a classic old name and although growing up I wasn’t a huge fan of it, I have learned to love my name and appreciate its roots in my history.

Although I have not met Harold from Janie’s (yet) I have learned from their website and following their social media a bit about him. He comes from a line of farmers (like me) and has been working the land for most of his life. What I truly love about him and his farm though is their practices. They are an organic and regenerative farm. Regenerative farming is honestly where we are going and as it gets more momentum hopefully will be the norm in the agriculture industry someday.

What exactly is regenerative farming though? Pretty much it means rather than focusing on yields and getting the most from a crop, it focuses more on the soil health. There is a lot of research and information already about the benefit of healthy soil and what it does to plants, their nutritional value, their yields, and their need for pesticides. Being able to use grains grown in this practice align with me so closely I don’t know if I could even not love Janie’s Mill.

Now I’m not going to dive deep into this topic. I have read quite a bit on it, I am learning what I can in my own practices in my home garden, but I’m not a pro and don’t feel confident in fully going into this at this point. What I do know it that it’s a great method of farming. It’s better for the soil, better for the plants, better for the food and those that consume it, and overall the best way to produce food without destroying the ecosystems already in place. Regenerative farming is the future and I’m sure you’ll start seeing it more and more out there once you start to learn about it.

Clearly I’m obsessing over this farm at this point. I still have a long way this year with their flours so let’s jump into this box and what I made with everything!


High-Protein Bread Flour

Oh high protein flour. I don’t use it that often. I stick mostly with a standard bread flour and have moved the few recipes I have that typically use high protein flour to work well with bread flour but since I had a bag I might as well go old school on a recipe and see how it turns out. My favorite recipe for high protein flour? Bagels.

I love bagels. I go through rounds of being obsessed to the point where I’ll eat one or two every day then I will stop and not have one for months. Bagels love a good high protein flour though so of course I should see how this flour works with my recipe!

Upon first opening the bag I was blown away by the texture of the flour. Typical bread and high protein flours tend to be more course in texture but this flour was like velvet. Soft and silky and had a good shape when pressed in the hands. I couldn’t wait to make this recipe.

I really need to get a post together and share my bagel recipe and how I like to make them. First have to test some toppings before I roll that out but let me tell you, this flour rocks. It was such a quick mix to get a great gluten development. The dough was soft and supple, a lot easier to work with that with standard flour. The bagels poofed up a little more than normal in the oven, and the flavor had a nice added nuttiness from this flour which was lovely. I loved these bagels so much that I completely forgot to take a picture of any of them! I made one batch of plain and one cinnamon raisin. They did not last long and were gobbled up faster than any batch I’ve made before. May need to treat myself every so often to this flour for some killer bagels.

Whole Kernel Bread Flour

I love that they don’t call this whole wheat but instead whole kernel. There’s so many mixed feelings on whole wheat so I’m always open for a name change. And honestly after opening the bag, this is not a normal whole wheat flour. I love whole wheat. I love all the nutrients grains bring to a loaf. Whole wheat tends to be really course and that also leads to weaker gluten structures so it’s often blended with other flours as well. Janie’s whole kernel though, again soft and fluffy. I’m blow away by the texture of the stone ground fresh flours they produce.

I wanted to test to two limits of this flour. Whole grain on its own in a bread to see the effects on gluten structure and see if those weaker

Next time I should have added sugar to the jam to help it stick

structures work well in something that doesn’t need gluten as much like a cookie. For the bread I chose a nice Challah style dough but rather than a braid, I rolled into a loaf with some leftover blackberry and pistachio filling (check out the sifted artisan for more on those). Unfortunately, the filling was a bit heavy on the dough and the middle sank. This happens, not the end of the world. BUT the loaf was still moist and delicious. It had a nice nuttiness from the whole wheat and the filling was a nice compliment to that.

I also made a batch of 50% whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. A) to test the flour in a cookie and, B) I wanted some chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were delicious. Again the whole wheat nutty flavor was great. The higher protein from the whole wheat did make a less gooey cookie and a more bready texture. It’s not horrible but not the gooey cookie I really crave. Still though, been baking off batches of the cookies for some snacks and they are great when you need a little chocolate.

Artisan Blend Bread Flour

Artisan flours are great. They tend to be higher in gluten for bread products but also on the lower end of protein percentage in bread flours so they create such incredible doughs and loaves. Baguettes are the most common bread that traditionally are made with artisan flours.

I wanted to make a nice enriched dough with this flour and see how it went, this lead to my babka recipe. I have been dying for some babka, don’t know why I didn’t make any sooner, but that’s exactly what I made. Simple and classic chocolate filling with a little cinnamon. I made two loaves out of this flour. The dough was silky and soft. These flours are so well milled the doughs just have an extra softness to them that I can’t complain about. The proofing was a bit longer than normal but that could have been other factors on the yeast like temp in the kitchen so I can’t really blame the flour.

The final loaves were perfect. Nice rise, nice texture. These did not last long. I made them just before my sister came with my nephews and she was diving into that so quickly and kept coming back for more. Can’t blame her though. I think of the two loaves one was eaten completely by me. I love babka! Sue me!

Sifted Artisan Bread Flour

Sifted artisan is the same as the artisan blend but sifted even more finely. This creates an even fluffier flour and a crisper crust on the products it’s used in. Soft, crackly, flakey? I needed to play with some lamination and make some mille feuille with this stuff.

I made my standard, classic puff pastry dough and laminated a full 18 ounces of butter into this babe. Typically when I do puff dough, the dough starts pretty rough and sticky and as I laminate, develop gluten, and increase flour from the lamination process it smooths out and is easier to work with. Using the artisan flour though, damn that dough was smooth and the easiest to work with. Right off the bat the dough was supple and not as sticky as it normally is. The gluten was quick and easy to develop and made the lamination process a million times easier to do. The dough was easy to roll and stretch out for the layers. The baked sheets were flakey and butter, barely any butter oozed out. I was so impressed and might have to only use this flour for puff dough.

The final product had such an incredible flavor as well. A bit nutty and earthy with a slight fresh grassiness to it. Of all the flours and products I’ve made so far with Janie’s Mill flours, this one showed me the most on the benefits in flavor by using such freshly milled flour.

I finished the mille feuille off with a classic pastry cream, a nice blackberry jammy center, and some sugared pistachios for an extra crunch and caramel nutty flavor. I sent an SOS to some baking friends for flavor profile ideas and this all came from my soul sister Katie. She has always been inspirational in my work and pushing me to create some of the best food out of my kitchens.


With that the flours are gone, eaten in some great products by the family and a lot by myself as well. At the end of this box I could not help myself and needed to get more flours. I did a bulk order of some cornmeal and some of the flours I’ve already worked with. I also got some whole berries since I have a flour mill at home to do fresh flours in the kitchen. This has only been two of six boxes but I can’t wait to do more and work with more flours. Figuring out myself as a chef and the best practices to share here and in the kitchen with students. As I’m finishing writing this I got on email the next box has shipped. Should be here in the next couple days and then it will onto the next round of flours to play with!

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