Freshly Milled Whole Grains

We are true artisan bakers, which means we use traditional recipes, time-honored processes, our hands, and the most flavorful ingredients we can find to make our breads and sweet treats. Since acquiring our first stone mill, back in 2018 (we now have 2!), we’ve been delving more deeply than ever into the world of grains – locally grown, heritage and ancient wheat varieties, freshly milled, and more non-wheat varieties. We are passionate about stone milling our own whole grain flours and featuring them in the new naturally leavened breads and porridges we’ve been developing while adding them to some of the classic breads and pastries we’ve been making for most of our history.

Illustration of the mill at the Bakehouse

In delving into the world of whole grains and embarking on our own small milling venture, we’ve joined a rich local history dating back to the early 19th century; a time when water-powered stone grist mills were central to every town and agricultural community that settled along the main rivers and their tributaries in Washtenaw County.

The Bakehouse mill, featuring 26” Vermont-quarried Natural Barre Gray granite stones, dressed to our specifications, is the brainchild and handiwork of Andrew Heyn. He is the founder of the stone mill building project, New American Stone Mills, and co-owner, with his wife, Blair Marvin, of the bakery, Elmore Mountain Bread, both out of Elmore, Vermont. Andrew’s stone mills, which he builds by hand in his small workshop, vary in size from 26” to 40” to 48” dimensions and now pepper the globe in artisan bakeries and stone-milling operations across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

We are thankful to be one of those bakeries who impatiently waited for the arrival of our very own New American Stone Mill, built by an avid artisan baker who is acting with the generosity of spirit known to bakers, sharing his knowledge, skill, and time with us. We feel very aligned with Andrew in terms of our approach to baking, which makes having one of his mills even more special.

So why use a traditional stone mill to grind whole grain flour?

Flavor and Nutrition

When grain is ground between two millstones, the whole seed kernel—its exterior bran, starchy endosperm, and oily germ, the grain’s nutritional powerhouse—is crushed and combined to create flour that is not only rich in fiber, omega 3s, and nutrients, but is also intensely flavorful.

Connecting to the Past

Is stone milling the most efficient way to grind flour? No, but it feeds our soul and hearts by connecting us to our history when it was the primary mode of milling grain in southeastern Michigan.

Learning and Fun

We find that we do better work when we’re actively learning. Our new stone mill is a great opportunity to study our local stone-milling heritage, farming, the world of whole grains, the age-old traditions of baking with freshly milled flours, other forms of milling…the list is long. Our learning is propelling us to grind our own grain and it’s also helping us make unexpected, tangential improvements to all of our baking.

Ancient Grains, Stone Milled, Whole Grain Flours

Einkorn Flour

Considered the oldest grain known in the history of agriculture, the mother of all modern wheat, Einkorn offers a variety of essential nutrients and a toasty flavor that’s delicious in all kinds of baked goods. Einkorn wheat once grew wild around the world, but, like many other heirloom grains, it was weeded out as farmers cultivated modern crops and easier-to-harvest varietals. Still, this ancient grain is prized for its nutrients, and lower levels of gluten. Resembling large-size golden flax seeds, the organic einkorn we use at the bakery is from a Centennial Farm in Caro, Michigan that is run by 4th and 6th generation family members. When we mill it on our stone mill, it produces a fluffy, aromatic whole grain flour. It is superbly suited to making tender pastries or pancakes, and can be a great addition to breads as well.

Spelt Flour

Spelt is another ancient variety of wheat that is more commonly grown and considered the genetic link to modern bread wheat. Our organic spelt berries come from Michigan and the surrounding Midwest region. When we mill it on our stone mill, it produces a beautiful cream-colored silky flour with large flakes of nutritious bran. Compared to whole wheat flour, it’s softer, not as absorbent, and produces a very extensible dough. Given its delicious flavor and strong baking qualities, we use freshly milled whole spelt flour in a number of our breads, including Country Miche, Dinkelbrot, and Green Olive Focaccia, as well as in pastries, such as our new Veggie Confetti Sweet Bread. Well suited to making bread or pastries, spelt flour does it all with a lot of flavor!

Whole Wheat Flours, Stone Milled, Whole Grain

AP Whole Wheat Flour (Hard Red Spring Wheat)

Hard red spring wheat is a modern wheat variety that is not only prized for its bread-making qualities, with a strong gluten potential and good flavor, but is also perfectly suited to making pastries, adding a textural quality that we love. The wheat berries we use come from the Leelanau Peninsula in Northern Michigan as well as from the Eaton Rapids area. It’s the flour of choice in many of the whole grain breads we make, from our foundation breads to our sourdough starters. We even named our very flavorful, naturally leavened bread, True North, in reference to where much of our hard red spring wheat comes from. The freshly milled whole grain flour is also showcased in such sweet treats as our Michigan Double Chocolate and Funky Chunky Chocolate cookies.

Organic Soft White Whole Wheat flour

We get our organic soft white wheat from Ferris Organic Farms in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, which we mill into an aromatic, bran-specked, light-colored whole grain flour we’ve fallen in love with. The same holds true for its flavor, as you can tell from its widespread use in our breads and pastries, including State Street Wheat, Pecan Blondies, Banana Breads, Graham Crackers, and all of our cookies. Compared to the hard red wheat, this wheat’s bran is lighter in color making it taste a bit milder and still delicious. It is not as absorbent and glutenous, yet still performs well in breads when blended with stronger flours.

Soft Red Wheat Whole Wheat Flour

This wheat is as local as it gets, having been grown for us by the Luckhardt family in nearby Saline Township, Michigan. It’s a flavorful, softer variety, meaning that it’s not as high in protein as the hard wheats and does not absorb as much water, yet still has the gluten-forming characteristics conducive for bread making. When milled fresh on our stone mill, the grain becomes a silky flour speckled with large bran flakes. Our first tests with the flour produced tender, wheaty, and nutty scones and naturally leavened baguettes that left us wanting to do more with it. This wheat offers full flavor and nutrition that comes directly from our hard-working Michigan farmers, and presents an opportunity to support our local food economy.

Rye Flour, Stone Milled, Whole Grain

Organic Rye Flour

Whole rye is a flavor powerhouse with a profile that’s rich, earthy, and spicy. Just eat a slice of our 100% rye, Vollkornbrot and you’ll know what we’re talking about. We get organic rye berries from the thumb area of Michigan and mill them on our stone mill, almost every day, into a dark-colored whole grain flour. Mineral-rich and nutrient-dense, whole grain rye flour is perfect for kick-starting sourdough starters. Due to its complex starches, it also holds onto water much more than wheat does, giving breads a smoother mouthfeel and a longer shelf-life when used in appreciable quantities. We are proud to use this fresh flour to feed our more than 20-year-old rye sour, the powerful leavening and flavor component of our Jewish Rye family of breads and Vollkornbrot. Besides our rye breads, we also add it into our beloved Dinklebrot, Roadhouse, Country Miche and Walnut Sage breads.

Wheat Porridge, Stone Milled, Whole Grain

Cream of the Crop—Organic Wheat Porridge

Throughout history and within every culture, porridge has been a dietary staple. For many around the world it represents nourishment: whole-grain goodness, healthy nutrition, and ultimate comfort, served up in a bowl. Now that we’re milling whole grains on our stone mill, it was only natural that we would try our hand at freshly milled cream of whole wheat porridge. We’re using coarsely milled, organic soft white wheat from Ferris Organic Farm in Eaton Rapids, MI. Cooked on the stove with milk or water, our creamy wheat porridge features the entire wheat berry, making the hot cereal far more flavorful and nourishing than what you may be used to. Embellish it as you might your oatmeal with some Michigan dried cherries, California walnuts, Michigan maple syrup, muscovado brown sugar, milk. The porridge is delicious with toppings or just on its own.

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