Until 2010 wheat was the most produced and important cereal in the world, when it was ultimately surpassed by maize. Today it is ranked third, behind maize and rice, which altogether account for 89% of all cereal production worldwide. For a bread perspective, in Germany 20 million tons of wheat are harvested every year, with 5 million used to bake. In comparison, only 100,000 tons of rye are produced.

Genetically modified wheat is not commercially available in the US, nor the world, despite misleading statements from a variety of bread related businesses claiming to use non-GMO wheat. Although it has been under development since the 80’s, there has been much resistance as compared to corn and rice, the other two major cereal crops of the world. 

Rather, wheat, such as any other crop, is the result of traditional selective breeding by farmers and scientists. Although the process of wheat hybridization has increased drastically since the green revolution (1930’s-60s), hand selection and the process of cross pollination has been occurring for 8,000-10,000 years.

Selective breeding of wheats really began when the  romans selectively bred Einkorn (14-chromosome) to create Emmer (28-chr), to produce a softer, lighter, and sweeter flour. Yet Emmer had a husk which made the milling process difficult, so was further bred to create naked (huskless) bread wheat (42-chr) as well as spelt (directly related to bread wheat). This bread wheat has been further bred for traits such as drought tolerance, stalk height, kernel size, protein content, etc. etc.

Ingredients : Rye // Minnesota 13 Corn

Rye is a very hardy grain, tolerant to cold climates and poor soil, and thus common in northern Europe. Until the last century it was the predominant bread grain in Europe, and in Germany it was the most common grain until 1957, when wheat production outgrew that of rye.


It is high in protein, vitamin B2, B3, potassium & magnesium. It contains a large amount of the amino acid Lysine.


Minnesota 13 is an heirloom corn variety grown in Minnesota, notable for the moonshine distilled throughout Stearns County (St. Cloud) during prohibition. More importantly, this corn variety was a breakthrough in enabling Minnesota and our region to grow corn. Developed by the University of Minnesota in the 1880’s, this corn variety has a shorter growing season suitable to our climate. An open pollinated variety, Minnesota 13 is a beautiful crop to harvest, as each stalk displays a wide range of genetic traits, most notably kernel hues ranging from golden yellow to blood orange red. 



Throughout history white bread has implied purity, with flour white as snow. Until industrialization and the introduction of the roller mill in the nineteenth century, white flour was extremely hard to come by, inherently wasteful, and associated only with the upper echelons of society. Look at paintings throughout history and a peasant will be holding a brown loaf of bread, the nobility white bread.  

Today as a whole, all social classes have achieved what has so long been sought after, the illustrious white bread. Yet with the rise and fall of Wonderbread, there has been a paradigm shift in how we perceive (white) bread as a food and social marker. 

The rise of Wonderbread came about at a time when corner bakeries were cutting their flour with wood pulp and other non-food additives as a way to cheapen costs. Although not a novel idea (wood pulp and other flour alternatives were cut into flour in Europe during grain shortages, although bakeries were typically very strictly regulated) it created a consumerist desire for a trustworthy bread, which Wonderbread was able to deliver.

Unfortunately, these highly processed white breads offer very little nutrition, as the vitamin, mineral and fiber containing bran and germ are sifted out. As white bread became the staple grain source, deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals became common in the American diet, and poor Americans were essentially starving from a lack of vitamins. Rather than work towards introducing more whole grains into the diet, they resorted to “restoring” the bread by enrichment, adding back iron and B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folic acid).


An excerpt from BREAD MAGAZINE, edition 18 (winter 2015) www.bread-magazine.com


A year ago I had the intention of starting a bakery simply to work alone and bake my own bread. So I moved to Minneapolis, a city seemingly rife with bread opportunity. Compared to Portland and the Bay Area, where my baking career had thus far taken me, Mill City was, it seemed, in short supply of bakeries. Researching those in town, there seemed a dearth for what the west coast offered with terms such as local, whole grain, organic. It seemed like a good fit, and I thought it would be a suitable region to learn a thing or two about growing grains.

Within days of arriving, I settled into a large artisan bakery, upon which I began a conversation about transitioning to local flour and more whole grains. It was with this attempt that I was really educating myself to the availability of local, organic high quality wheat. Or rather, the lack thereof. Realizing I was no longer in California with a young but thriving grain movement, I took a mental pause in approaching my dream. First I would need to familiarize myself with my new locale, connecting with farmers and millers in the region, learning both the limitations and possibilities.

Half a year later I became co-head baker and quickly thereafter did my mental hiatus end. It turned out that the price of conventional flour is hard to beat, especially when you pay thousands of dollars in rent a month. Twelve hour days became increasingly common in work weeks that would extend into the ninth day, and I found it difficult to restore my body through yoga, stretching, or running. The bread tossed out at the end of the day, and the energy expended to make that bread, was by far the most frustrating aspect. My porch soon housed bags of old bread for a friend to feed his five pigs. And my desire to bake was slowly dwindling.

And thus my intention for starting a bakery became evident during my brief tenure as co-head baker: zero food waste, local + organic flour and adjuncts, limit sales to sustain my body and mind, and to create a relationship with my customer base.

It was apparent that the only way to achieve these goals were through a subscription based bakery, something I found feasible through renting a baking space and delivering by bike. And so now when someone asks where my bakery is located, I tell them nowhere and everywhere.

Two months in, I have approximately 60 subscribers, paying off my $1,800 start-up costs within the first five weeks. I have yet to reach a subscriber base to afford myself a living wage (approx.. 120/wk), but without a storefront growth comes slowly. Currently half of my customers have come from the cheapest form of advertising – word of mouth, the kind and generous words of my subscription base.

I am offering something different, not niche, but simply different. It is an extension of the CSA-model, with the feasibility of delivering by bike. There is no middleman; no grocery store clerk, restaurant table, or barista. This offers an opportunity to create a strong connection with those who eat my bread, to create shared knowledge: recipes, the baking process, how to keep bread, how to grow wheat and who the farmers are that grow them, and so on. I am, in a sense, using bread as a platform to create a tangible relationship between location, farmer, miller, baker, and consumer. This allows for the imperfections and variance to speak for itself, to be understood.

I am not asking for a forgiving audience, but for one that understands consistency is not a requisite.

An exciting opportunity is coming this spring when a new mill opens in NE Minneapolis, offering unblended varietals of Minnesota grown wheat. We will be able to showcase these wheat varietals, or the land they were grown on, through the variations in the baking qualities and flavor. Rather than creating a forgiving audience, I am attempting to create an understanding that wheat, just like any other plant, is not all the same. 


STALING is the act of retrogradation, gelatinized starch molecules forming and realigning crystalline regions, causing the liquid to gel over time. In bread, specifically, gelatinization occurs during baking when the interior of the loaf reaches a certain temperature, and the dough forms a solid matrix, creating what is known as the crumb.

After gelatinization, the amylose (helical component of starch, making up approx. 20-30% of structure) molecules rapidly form helices, packed tightly, making a compact and firm bread creating the sense of moisture loss. This process also decreases the digestibility of starch, thus coined Resistant Starch, which escapes the small intestines intact, where is it extensively fermented by microflora in the large intestine into short chain fatty acids (acetate, butyrate, propionate, etc). SCFAs help lower the pH of the gut and improve colonic and systemic health.   

After the initial rapid retrogradation, the process is slowed due to the structure of amylopectin (branched component of starch, making up approx. 70-80% of structure). The temperature at which retrogradation occurs the fastest is that just above freezing, so avoiding the fridge is ideal. Rather, store at room temperature or freeze. Although the refrigerator inhibits mold, so do the bacteria found in the sourdough culture.

If STORING bread at room temperature, you can simply leave it on the counter, with the cut side face down to reduce open contact with air. Otherwise, kept in cloth or a paper bag works well. Storing bread in an airtight plastic bag will increase chances of mold and soften the crust due to minor (less than 1.5% water loss) condensation.

Reheating bread temporarily reverses the actions of starch retrogradation, disrupting the less stable crystalline regions, and releasing trapped molecules of water.

If storing bread in the freezer, store in a plastic bag, sliced or whole. If sliced, simply reheat in a toaster. If whole, thaw overnight and reheat at 170˚F for 15-20 minutes.

 Run the TOASTER empty a few times until it’s red hot. Drop in a slice of thick toast and proceed as normal. This will result in a soft silky interior with that great crunchy, toasty bite. Respect the bread!


                                                                                    a three part series

“as the countryside lived off its harvests and cities off the surplus, it was sensible for a town to obtain its provisions from within striking distance – ‘from its own possessions.’” Ferdnand Braudl


BREAD, in its most basic form, consists of 3 ingredients: Flour, Water, Salt. Although our salt cannot not be sourced locally, but from Sonoma County, CA, it is our goal to cultivate from what is around us. Which led to our search for grains, primarily wheat – the most important grain in the world. 

Moving from Northern California, I had the notion that wheat was readily available in the upper midwest, in our beloved Mill City. What I found instead, driving through the state, were fields of corn and soy. Arriving in Minneapolis, it became clear that the artisan bakeries prefer flour from beyond the midwest, as the local flour doesn’t meet their standards.

Although surprised, this isn’t uncommon. Every day, flour is shipped across the country, more frequently for large bakeries, where small farms and mills can’t compete with the quantity and consistency of the flour, or they simply are unable to meet the demands that good bread requires. Rustica, which could still be considered small, for example, cannot source white flour from Minnesota because the farms and mills cannot meet their demand, 290,000 lbs a year: 111 acres.

LAUNE, then, is what we consider a microbakery, and our demands often seem limitless. With the goal of baking 400 loaves a week, we would be using 19,000 lbs of flour total: 5½ acres. With only one set of hands making our bread, there is more flexibility in terms of flour consistency, as we can adjust our baking methods to compensate for different baking characteristics. Consistency is less of an issue when you don’t rely on machines and are observant to the changes in the dough. 

After six months of searching, we found grain farmers & millers within striking distance – Askegaard Organic Farm in Moorhead, MN; Lonesome Stone Milling in Lone Rock, WI; Whole Grain Milling in Welcome, MN.

 Beyond those who supply us with flour today, there are our future grain farmers & millers - ; Beautiful Beards Grain Farm in River Falls, WI; Fitzgerald Organics in St. Cloud, MN; Skinny Jake’s Fat Honey in Schafer, MN; Brown Seed Genetics in Bay City, WI. Grains, just like fruits and vegetables, exhibit different characteristics – flavor, taste, volume in bread– in different regions, no less farms. Before the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, each region had its own grain economy, growing varietals that were best suited for the climate, which were then represented in bread. Dinkelbrot is very common in Swabia (region in S. Germany), as is pain d’épeautre in southern France. This is owing to the fact that Spelt and Einkorn are grains well suited to the region.

Last year the Twin Cities was included in a nationwide conference on regional grain systems, and what we took from the conference is that we as bakers have no relationship with those that grow or mill our grains. There were two dozen bakers & chefs, researchers from UMN, and only one farmer – a vegetable farmer. There are a lot of challenges in growing grains, especially to introduce them on a farm, and with no connection to bakers or millers, there is little incentive to take on this challenge. And so we are working towards creating relationships with farmers, finding grains that grow well in their soil that represent the region, with the hope of showcasing it in our bread.   

[moorhead, mn · 238mi]

A fifth generation family farm, Mark Askegaard and his family grow wheat, soy and flax. They grow hard red spring wheat, and are currently milling their 2014 harvest, a varietal called Barlow developed by North Dakota State University. They have an impact mill on their property to mill our whole wheat flour.

Spring wheat is planted when the soil conditions are dry enough in the spring to work the ground and plant the crop. The average planting date at Askegaard is April 30th. Harvest often occurs in the middle of August, when the wheat has dried to a storable & millable water content, before it rains.  

Minnesota and North Dakota typically grow spring wheat rather than winter wheat (planted in the fall and overwinters) due to the harsh climate – the freezing temperatures and flat land leads to cold winds that lead to winterkill, and a loss of crop. Cross into Wisconsin and winter wheat is more common due to the rolling hills. In general, hilly Wisconsin has a longer grain growing season thanks to the protection offered by these hills. 

Mark and his family grow varietals developed by NDSU and UMN, as is common, because they have been bred for upper midwest growing conditions, yield, disease resistance, milling and baking qualities. Although heritage and landrace varieties, such as Red Fife, have become increasingly popular, there are currently no commercial varietals local to our region. As Mark explains, “I remember my father telling me stories of how one year an older variety which everyone was planting, was devastated by rust and a new release which only one farmer grew had resistance to the strain of rust. That year the new variety yielded well, the farmer was able to sell his wheat to other farmers for a huge premium for seed and that this event almost single handedly made him a millionaire.” 

His flour makes up 58% of the flour used in Bread Bread and is used to maintain our sourdough culture daily.

LONESOME STONE MILLING  [lone rock, wi · 249mi]

 Lonesome Stone, headed by Gilbert Williams, is a mill in the small town of Lone Rock along the Wisconsin river, an hour west of Madison. They are located in the Driftless Region, where they source grain directly from three farmers. Yet due to harvest yields this past year, their current bread flour is blended with flour imported from Canada to achieve the desired baking qualities.  

The Driftless Region is unique in our midwest landscape, as the glaciers bypassed southwestern Wisconsin and adjacent land in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois during the last glacial period. The landscape beyond the Driftless Region, what is typical of the midwest, was essentially flattened and buried by silt, sand, clay, and other glacial “drift” as the ice sheets receded.

 The Driftless Region, in turn, contains narrow ridges and valleys, rolling hills and meandering waterways. Due to this topography, small farms have maintained a strong presence as the landscape is not suitable for industrial ag. It is this topography that also determines where grains are planted, with ridge top farmland the ideal over river valleys, as misty mornings result in wheat with lower starch content, and thus, inadequate bread flour.

Lonesome Stone uses a grist mill, also known as a stone burr mill to pulverize their flour, a process distinct from modern roller mills, which separates each component of the grain. And so their “white” flour actually contains a significant amount of germ and bran, as the flour particles are not distinctly divided into their individual components, germ, bran, and endosperm.

The mill is composed of two 30” millstones, cut from Balfour pink granite quarried in North Carolina. It sits in a renovated 1912 general store, most formerly an organic meat processor. The mill itself is in the former walk-in cooler and totes of grain where the meatlocker was once found. 


WHOLE GRAIN MILLING [welcome, mn · 133mi]

A family run farm & mill, you can find Whole Grain Milling’s grains, flours, and seeds in our co-ops. They grow the majority of their products on their farm, and source the rest from within the midwest due to growing conditions and the capacity of their farm. As an organic farm, and likely the case for our other suppliers, they utilize crop rotations to manage their soil, both through the variety of grains they grow as well as alfalfa and sweet clover, reintroducing a crop to a plot of land 3 years after it was last harvested.

As is mandated by growing conditions (drought, etc.), they must periodically also rely on sourcing beyond their preferred region, an example being Spelt sourced from Ohio in years past. Yet they maintain high standards for their products and the integrity of organics, and will go without a grain rather than source from China, where the organics market is questionable.

We use a variety of their goods, including spelt & rye flour, rolled oats, millet, sunflower, and flax seed.