Grist & Toll – It’s all about the flour

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My visit to Grist & Toll in Pasadena was to buy artisan flour to make a country loaf bread using a dutch oven that will give it that crusty texture and caramel color. I knew that a better bread flour would make the bread taste better and I chose Grist & Toll, because I found them on the business review and social media website called Yelp.

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Considered an urban flour mill and far from the lively arts, culture and restaurant center of the historic Old Pasadena district, Grist & Toll is located in a nondescript unit of a commercial building in South Pasadena. Through the doors is a tiny space with a small selection of pre-packaged hand-crafted flours and some baking accessories. 

I asked for a recommendation for a flour to make a country loaf bread using a no-knead process. It was suggested that I use the Fife Flour that is specific for bread baking. Then I was instructed to use half Fife Flour and half regular store bought flour as I might not like the strong flavor of a fresh milled wheat flour.

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Like many home chefs, I am open to use new ingredients that I’ve never tried especially the fresh ones, because it adds a unique flavor dimension to food.

The recipe that I used is by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. It’s one of my favorite no-knead bread recipes since discovering it online via Mark Bittman and The New York Times

Grist & Toll’s Fife Flour is an unbleached wheat flour that still has the color of the grain. I used only the Fife Flour instead of the suggested half regular bleached flour and half Fife Flour so I could taste its true flavor. The yeast took to the flour and water instantaneously, which was a good sign. The dough was rising quite nicely without the kneading. After 24-hours, I folded the dough onto itself and proofed it for another couple hours then baked it. The end result was a beautiful bread with a dark caramel color, a crusty shell, and the toasty scent of popcorn or walnut the filled the air throughout my kitchen. The taste of this bread is amazing; it kind of tastes like a milky light roasted coffee. The texture is slightly dense than what a normal bread would be, but I’m sure it would be a more fluffy texture had I used a regular bleached all-purpose flour. 

Overall, Grist & Toll has superior products and has met my needs to make a more flavorful homemade bread to eat.  They also sell other small batch flours to experiment with in your own kitchen. Their entire line of flours may be a bit pricey than a regular sack of flour at a local market, but anything hand-crafted or artisan comes with a slightly higher price.  

Grist & Toll

990 South Arroyo Parkway #1

Pasadena, CA 91105

http://gristandtoll.com/