Q: What is the difference between hard red spring wheat and soft white winter wheat? Which should I grind for bread?

A: You’ll want to use hard red spring wheat for bread baking. It has a higher gluten content than soft wheat and that gluten is stronger than what is found in soft wheat. If you want to bake quickbreads, such as muffins, biscuits, pancakes, cookies, or piecrusts use the soft wheat. “Red” and “white” refer to the overall color of the bran layer of the wheat kernel. A good quality red wheat will have a deep reddish brown color. White wheat will have a creamy white bran. When ground into a wholegrain flour the white wheat provides a much lighter colored flour. “Spring” wheat refers to the time of year the seed is planted. “Winter” wheat is planted in the fall. It gets a jump start on the spring wheat as it will germinate and grow a bit before the onset of winter, go dormant, and begin to grow long before tractors get into fields. It is harvested earlier than the spring wheat. Climate pretty much dictates which wheat is planted. Generally, spring wheat is grown in Montana and the Dakotas where winters can be harsh. Winter wheat is grown in the vast Midwest.

Q: I have heard of hard white spring wheat? What is this and does Great River carry it?

A: Hard white spring wheat is grown in an area of Montana and has become known to home bread bakers. It is favored for its creamy light color when ground as a whole grain flour. While some producers are beginning to take notice, it is not widely grown as it is not as productive as hard red wheat. Currently, it is not produced in significant quantities and is not available through Great River.

Q: Why do many whole wheat bread recipes call for white flour?

A: Most recipes call for white flour to increase the percentage of gluten in the dough. (White flour has a higher gluten because the germ and bran portions have been removed, leaving the gluten-containing endosperm to be ground into flour) The higher the gluten content in the dough the easier it is to bake a loaf of bread with good volume. Another factor to consider is that whole wheat flour can have large flakes of bran which tend to cut the gluten strands in the dough limiting the loaf’s growth. Great River whole wheat flour would be considered fine by most bakers. The bran is milled into tiny pieces and is less abrasive creating a higher loaf. Coarse flour does add good texture and “chew”, so the baker has to decide what they want in the finished loaf.

Q: Can I use Great River Organic Milling whole grains for sprouting?

A: We can’t guarantee that our grains will sprout being we are a food grade company, but the farmers we buy from save the seed and replant it the following year for crops so we suspect the germination is pretty good.  A number of our customers have told us that they have had good success with sprouting.

Q: Where can I buy Great River Organic Milling products?

A:  Great River Organic Milling products can be found in health food stores and on Amazon.  We are working with amazon to provide more of a selection.  If your local health food store does not carry our product please have them contact us.

Q: Are Great River Organic Milling products gluten free?

A:  Some of our grains are by nature gluten free, but we do mill these products in the same facility as we mill wheat.  We take every precaution to avoid cross contamination but we do not certify these as gluten free.

Q: The Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour is not rising like expected?

A:   The protein level of the flour is approximately 10% which puts it in the “All Purpose” category.  It is made from a combination of soft white and hard red wheat.  It is “Unbleached” Meaning that the bran layer is removed by sifting and the color of the natural flour is not altered using any bleaching agents.  The flour is stone ground which in our opinion allows the flour to retain more nutritional value.  Our flours tend to have high falling number values which means that they absorb higher amounts of moisture then conventional flours.  While we do sift off as much bran as possible we do not get it all so some bran and germ is retained in the flour. While technically it is not whole wheat it will have some characteristics of whole grain flour.  We of course have used this flour in many different applications.  We would suggest adjusting your recipes by either using slightly less flour then the recipe calls for or adding a little more liquid. You may also step up the amount of yeast slight to help with the rise.

Q: Shelf life and storage of grain and flour

A:   The shelf life of stone ground flour can vary depending on storage conditions. Additionally a stated shelf life period in the case of flour is a voluntary period of time given by the manufacturer as a guide for the consumer.  There are no hard and fast rules regarding shelf life and there is no absolute period. We place a one year shelf life on our flour as a guide to the consumer with the expectation that it is stored in a cool dry environment free from infestation. The shelf life of flour can be extend by placing the flour in a sealed container with an oxygen deprivation packed or by storing in a refrigerated of frozen environment. In any case a quick sniff of the flour or a taste of the product should give an indication to the user as to if it’s suitability for baking.

Storage of whole grains differs from flour.  While we put a two year shelf life on our whole grains the fact is that if stored properly whole grains can last for centuries. Storage in a cool dry environment free from infestation is recommended.  To further extend the shelf life place whole grains in a sealed container with an oxygen deprivation packed. Refrigeration or freezing while extend the shelf life many years.

Q: Are Great River Organic Flours Bromated?

A. Our flours are not bromated.

Q: What if products are out of stock on Amazon and I want the item?

A.  We supply Amazon with products on a regular basis.  If an item is out of stock it will more than likely be available again soon.

Q: Can I by direct from your company?

A. Our facility ships by the pallet or truck load.  It is more cost efficient for our customers ordering 25 or 50 pound bags of our product, to order from Amazon.

Q: Are Great River Organic Milling products bleached or enriched?

A. Our flours are unbleached and are not enriched.

Q: Amazon Pricing and Ordering

A. Great River Organic Milling sells directly to Amazon.  Amazon controls prices for consumers.  Please make sure when purchasing the seller is “sold and ships by AMAZON” to guarantee that the product is directly sold from Great River Organic Milling to Amazon for consumers and not from a 3rd party.