Practically all flour on the market is made from a blend of wheats from many farms. Blending makes things much easier for the flour seller—if one farm has a bad harvest, you just supplement from another farm. It also allows for millers to sell flours with very precise specifications, which is important for big-scale bakeries that need every loaf of Wonderbread to come out identical to all the rest. Unfortunately, blending also makes for very little transparancy behind the flour for the home baker. In a world where we increasingly buy our produce from the farmer's market and may have a personal relationship with the farmer who grew our onions or potatoes, there's a disconnect for grains. Who grew the wheat included in any given bag of flour? When was it harvested? When was it milled? Who knows?
At Zingerman's Bakehouse—where every week we use 25,000 pounds of flour to make breads and pastries—our organic All Purpose (often abbreviated as AP) flour answers those questions. The flour comes primarily from wheat from a single origin: Ray Freeburg's farm in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, where they practice organic, regenerative farming. The wheat travels just a couple of hours down to Colorado, where it's milled at Bay State Milling. Bakers from Zingerman's Bakehouse have travelled to Ray's farm and to Bay State to get to know the folks behind this central, staple product. We have a direct, personal relationship with the folks who produce it.
This is the primary flour used at Zingerman's Bakehouse to make just about everything, from our Sourdough and Paesano bread to Cinnamon Rolls and our perennial best-selling Sour Cream Coffee Cake. It's got a mid-range protein content—about 11%, for the scientifically-inclined bakers out there. That's a high enough amount of protein for giving great structure to breads, but also a low enough amount of protein to still make for soft and tender pastries.
One last note—there's a teensy smidge of malted barley flour mixed into the wheat flour, to help it create great flavor and structure for baked goods.