Frequently Asked Questions
Whenever we talk to bakers or give tours of The Mill, certain questions tend to pop up again and again, so we thought we'd provide some answers here. For specific product information, please read the product descriptions under "Our Flours." And please contact us if you'd like more information!
What is "whole-kernel" flour? is it good for you?
Because our stone-milling process delivers the full nutritional profile contained in every kernel, we call our flours "whole kernel."
We also like this term because "whole wheat" and even "whole grain" have become marketing terms rather than an indication of wholesomeness. The term “whole grain” was created and defined in 1999 by the American Association of Cereal Chemist International, and adopted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006, to refer to any mixture of bran, endosperm and germ in the proportions one might see in an intact grain. Yet the grains are usually run through high-speed roller mills where the three parts are separated and have the life, taste, and nutrition largely processed out of them before being re-combined in a poor imitation of a true whole-grain flour.
Our whole-kernel flours are stone-ground, and the different components of the grain are never separated out and recombined. (Some of our flours are sifted to remove larger particles, but we always indicate that on the product description -- see "Extraction Rate" information below.) The cool-temperature stone-milling process ensures that all of the nutrition present in the germ, endosperm and bran are also in the flour--and that's REAL whole-kernel flour, and yes, it's REALLY good for you!
are whole grains good for your gut MICRO-biome and overall health?.
Yes! Because we ate whole grains during most of our evolutionary history, our gut, and our whole body, functions best when consuming whole grains. Many studies have shown that whole grain consumption is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. More recent studies have shown that whole grains increase the variety and wealth of gut microbiota, which are vital to healthy immune and inflammatory functions, as well as overall health. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed positive effects of whole grain consumption on gut microbiota and immune function. A link to these studies is below.
what does "extraction rate" mean?
If you look at the descriptions of our flours, you'll see that they range from 70% to 100% extraction rates. This is a term that professional millers and bakers use, and it simply refers to the amount of flour that's extracted, or milled, from a given amount of grain.
When we put 1,000 pounds of Turkey Red heirloom wheat through out mill, we get out 1,000 pounds of our "Mackinaw" flour, meaning it's a 100% extraction flour and you get 100% of its bran, germ and endosperm. Our "Rock" bread flour is lightly sifted, and has a 90% extraction rate, while our "Iroquois" all-purpose flour has an 85% extraction rate. Our most finely-sifted flours are our "Chicago" bread flour and our "Des Plaines" pastry/cake flour, both of which have a 70% extraction rate.
If you want to make a light textured bread or other baked good, you'll want a lower extraction rate. If you want a heartier bread, cracker, or other baked good you'll like the higher extraction rates. Many of our bakers like to combine flours of different extractions in different proportions for their various baked goods. We invite you to experiment, or to simply choose a medium extraction flour such as our all-purpose flour.
are your products organic?
YES! All of the grains that come into our mill are USDA Certified Organic, and our Mill itself is also inspected and we are certified as an organic processor.
What are the shelf-lives of your products?
Because our flours contain oils and vitamins in the germ and bran that can spoil over time, we recommend you purchase our fresh-ground flour in small amounts, store it in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place, and use within a few weeks. However, you may store the flour in your refrigerator for about 3 months or your freezer for much longer. But you'll get the best flavor and nutrition when you use the flour soon after it is ground.
Our whole grains are much more shelf-stable because they are neatly packaged the way nature intended. But you should still keep them in air-tight containers in a cool, dry place for the best taste and nutrition.
are any of your products gluten-free?
We do sell buckwheat, which is naturally gluten-free, but even the buckwheat is not certified gluten free, since we process all our grains in the same place, meaning everything is exposed to gluten from the wheat flour we mill. We are starting to offer a number of specialty flours and whole grains with lower gluten content, such as spelt, emmer, and rye, which some people find easier to digest than traditional wheat.
can i take a tour of your mill?
Yes! We love sharing what we do with students of all ages, bakers, and community groups. That said, we are busy and request that you contact us at least a few weeks in advance for a guided tour.
do you have recipes for your products?
Yes . . . but haven't had time to get them up on our site yet. For now, take a look at Monica Kass Rogers' wonderful blog post and recipe for real old-fashioned Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers using our 100% Turkey Red "Mackinaw" flour.