Specialty Baker’s Flour and the Little Red Hen

by Rebekah C. Wadsworth

Growing up, I loved the classic American folk tale of the Little Red Hen. You remember the story. A little red hen finds some grains of wheat and asks her friends to help her plant them. They won’t, so she does it herself. The wheat grows, and she asks her friends to help her harvest it. They won’t, so she does it herself. She takes the wheat to the mill and asks her friends to help her grind it to flour. They won’t, so she does it herself. She takes the flour home and asks her friends to help her make bread. They won’t, so she does it herself. Finally, she brings forth the hot bread and all her friends want to help her eat it. But she teaches them that since they didn’t help with the work, they can’t enjoy the fruits of the work. 

As a child, I enjoyed this story for many reasons. I loved how it taught the value of being busy, industrious and independent through the character of the little, red hen. You can see being taught the subtle principle of choosing your friends wisely, but also the principle of being patient and long-suffering with your fellowman. And even as a child, I valued the lesson this story taught about working for what we want, and not free-loading on someone else’s work. And of course there’s the mouthwatering lesson of the sweet, warm, delicious rewards that come from hard work.

But there’s one other lesson this story taught me, and that is where flour comes from. Though I’ve ground a lot of wheat over the years and used a lot of flour, reading this story is my earliest memory of understanding that flour is made by grinding wheat. 

At Sage and Plow, one of our passions is learning: finding the best quality products, learning all we can about them, and then sharing that information with you. So today, I want to teach you where flour comes from, or at least where our favorite, Specialty Baker’s Flour comes from. 

We have carried our Specialty Baker’s Flour for nearly 7 years. In that time, it has become our favorite flour, as well as the favorite flour of many of you, our cherished customers. But what makes it so special? Well, I’m glad you asked, because we love to share this story.

The flour comes from wheat grown in Montana. Well, most of the best wheats are grown in Montana. So that doesn’t necessarily make it special. But the farm this wheat is grown on produces their wheat Chemical-Free, which frankly means a lot more to us than the term “organic” does. Regulations being what they are in the food industry, the application of “organic” is not what it is purported to be. Chemical-free literally means that they are not treating the wheat with any chemicals. Sounds good to me.

Another reason this flour is so special is the way it is milled. Have you ever noticed when you are grinding your own wheat, and you grind a lot at a time, that your grinder will get really warm? Unfortunately, heat kills some of the nutrients in the grain. This Specialty Baker’s Flour is milled slowly so the grinder doesn’t get too hot and the nutrients in the wheat are maintained. It is also milled on stone grinders, which any baker will tell you makes a better flour than impact grinders.

This flour is also not bleached or bromated. It is made from white wheat with a little red wheat mixed in. The combination of all these features makes such a wonderful, all-purpose flour. 

But besides being all-purpose, it is excellent for making bread, too. We recently ran out of this flour on a Sunday, and had to dip into our old reserve of a different brand of bread flour. There was no comparison. This Specialty Baker’s Flour was so much better. In fact, for all you sourdough mommies out there, sourdough just LOVES this flour. 

And I can hear your next question. “It sounds amazing, but what if I’m gluten-free?” Honestly, we have had so many people who have gluten intolerances try this flour and love it. Through all these careful processes in growing and milling, it is just an easier flour for our tummies to handle. Also, ask us about using sourdough with gluten intolerances. There’s too much on that for this blog post today, but we would love to teach you what we’ve learned about that, as well.


So come on in and try it for yourselves. Of course, bring your friends and family so they can help you gather the ingredients and prepare the bread, and you can all share in the wonderful fruits of learning and working together. 

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