Updated: Apr 11
You already know I love a good small business. I also love local or as close to me as possible to reduce transportation. Moving to Saint Louis, I knew I’d need to find a local flour company out here that I can start using. I mean come on, this is the Midwest. Wheat grains really started to expand up in Minnesota and the upper Great Plains. Now living so close to that area, I had to find something to work with.
Unfortunately, small grains is still a small, newer movement and there aren’t nearly as many small farmers and millers growing grains to make flour like in the 1890’s. Although the amount of farmers and millers is small, they still exist. I recently found a small farm/mill about 200 miles away in Ashkum, Illinois by the name of Janie’s Mill. I’d rather have one closer but this was still closer than any other brand so I checked out their website and products.
What I really liked about Janie’s Mill at first was how many products they have. From standard wheat flours like cake, all purpose, and bread, they also carried ancient grain flours, rye flours, and corn flours. I loved the diversity in their products but how could I choose the first ones to try? That’s when I discovered they offer a subscription. A bi-month shipment of a few of their flours to try out, changing every month so that you always have something new to play with. Of course I was completely into this. So I signed up just in time for the January box and within a week I had four bags of flour at my door.
January is their Pantry Pack Sampler, it includes one and a half pounds each of their All Purpose Flour, Italian-Style Pizza Flour, Golden Yellow Cornmeal, and Frederick White Wheat Cake Flour. This was the perfect little sampler to start out this new brand of flours for me. They also offer this sampler as a monthly package so that you can always keep your pantry stocked on these staples and after using all these flours myself, I can see why someone would want to sign up for that plan.
With new flours in hand it was time to start playing around and seeing how they work! I’ve already posted a few recipes with the flours and I have some other experiments I’m working on before I share from the other flours but I do want to talk about each flour individually and how I feel about each one!
All Purpose Flour
All Purpose Flour is one of my favorite because it’s great for, well, ALL baking! Although it’s best to use specific flours for various recipes, sometimes you don’t have all these flours in your kitchen to work with. That’s where all purpose really shines, as an all in one flour. Typically, all purpose flour contains about 9.5-11% protein, about halfway between pastry flour and bread flour. This makes it perfect for both standard baking and some bread recipes.
I used the all purpose flour for some pie dough in a blueberry galette that turned out phenomenal. The crust was so nice to work with and had a great flakiness. The flour on its own had such a great texture to it. Nice and soft, a bit drier which I love for my baking but enough moisture that I held slightly in my hand when pressed. I really loved using it, plus having fresh flour was great!
Italian-Style Pizza Flour
Italian-style flour is sometimes also referred to as 00. This was a great flour for exactly what it’s named after, pizza! The crust crisped up better than when I make pizza with all purpose flour and browned so well. Of course the other main recipe to use this type of flour for is pasta and let me tell you, one of the best pastas I’ve ever made. It was such a nice texture in the dough, soft and supple and super easy to work with. The finished pasta had a great texture that was slightly chewy and held onto the sauce beautifully. I love to keep some 00 on hand these days for pasta and pizza and I may have a new brand to buy to keep in stock!
Golden Yellow Cornmeal
Although they call it cornmeal, I considered it corn flour. It was a gorgeous fine texture that had this beautiful yellow color. I’ve never used such a nice corn flour. I was so excited to use it I had to do some extra experimenting. My family loves the box mix of cornbread. It has a nice texture and a great sweet, honey flavor. But I want to move away from those boxes as much as possible and really have a nice corn bread recipe that I can turn to easily whenever I want a panful. Although I don’t feel like the recipe is ready (I need to order a bigger bag of Janie’s Cornmeal!), I loved working with the corn flour from Janie’s Mill and the texture it brought to the recipe. I also used some of their all purpose flour in this round of experimentation!
Along with the cornbread recipe experimentation there are some days I want a good breakfast and I figured a little corn flour in a pancake would be something fun to mess with. The slight crunch from the corn flour in these pancakes were delicious and the flavor complemented a blueberry compote on top so seamlessly, one of the best breakfasts to start the day!
Fredericks White Wheat Cake Flour
I was super excited to try some of the cake flour. I typically skip over cake flour because I like to have a variety of flours instead of all wheat varieties and I rarely make cake. I also have a great cake recipe using all purpose flour so why buy and store another type? Since I had some in my hands though, I wanted to see how it would affect my standard cake recipe! I whipped up some cute little cake squares that I posted a few weeks ago. The change in flour had a slight affect, a little lighter in texture and softer than the standard recipe using all purpose flour. It was a nice treat to share and fun to see the change in my recipe. Overall I’m not going to start buying cake flour but maybe for specific events or when I want to make a cake with that texture I would buy a small bag to use.
After making those cakes I didn’t have a ton of flour left over so I mixed it with all purpose to make a bundt cake. Since I used part cake and part all-purpose I’m not going to worry too much about the change. It most likely would equal out similar to a pastry flour in the recipe. Something just for fun to make playing with new recipes, not going to get into it at this point but I have some great different cakes to come.
Within a few days of finishing up the flours the next box came with the Bread Baker’s Sampler. After playing with these new flours I will talk more on them. Furthermore, I am learning more about Janie’s Mill through their social media and websites. As I learn more about who they are I will share the details and take you along this ride into their small operation!
So far I’m really loving this company and their flours. If you are looking to use small batch grains I highly recommend checking them out, especially their sampler packages or subscriptions. I love a good subscription and I haven’t really seen other flour brands do this but it is a game changer to me and a lot more people should take advantage of it. Until I get through these other flours, bake on and let me know what you’re cooking up!