Can I take a tour of Janie’s Mill?
Yes, we love sharing what we do! Here are our Upcoming Tour Dates.
- September 6 and 11 (2pm)
- October 3 and 12 (10am)
- November 14 (10am)
What are the shelf-lives of your products?
Because our flours contain perishable oils and vitamins in the germ and bran, we recommend you purchase our fresh-ground flour in small amounts, and store it in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place, ideally in your fridge or freezer. If you store it at room temperature, you should use it within one month. If the products are in your refrigerator, they will keep well for 9 to 12 months, and if they're in your freezer, they will keep well almost indefinitely. 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 than our milled products, but you should still keep them in air-tight containers in a cool, dry place for the best taste and nutrition.)
I just started using Janie's Mill stoneground flour and my loaves taste great but are dense. How do I get an airy loaf?
- First, be sure to do an initial autolyse -- just mix the flour with water and let it sit for about an hour.
- After you add your yeast or sourdough starter (levain), use stretch-and-fold or coil-fold techniques instead of doing vigorous kneading.
- You also have to monitor the final proof carefully, and get the loaf into the oven at the right time, not over-proofed or under-proofed.
- Here’s a recipe from Maurizio that many people say has worked well with Janie's Mill flours, and that uses autolyse and stretch-and-folds.
- You might also join the Janie’s Mill Baking Group and/or the Sourdough Geeks Group on Facebook to get more advice from bakers who use Janie's Mill stoneground flours.
Which of your wheat berries are best to grind my own high-protein bread flour?
Our Glenn Hard Red Spring wheat berries are very high in protein (15%!), and they have a nutty, slightly earthy taste. If you have a counter-top mill, these are the perfect berries for milling your own high-protein bread flour. Many people also love to home-mill our Einkorn, Red Fife, Turkey Red, and Black Emmer berries.
Are any of your products gluten-free?
We do sell buckwheat and cornmeal, which are naturally gluten-free, but they cannot be certified gluten free because 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.
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. Most “whole wheat” products you see in the grocery store are made with grains run through high-speed roller mills where the three parts of each grain 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 in our Engsko mill, 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.) Our cool-temperature stone-milling process ensures that all of the nutrition present in the germ, endosperm and bran are also in the flour. That's REAL whole-kernel flour, and yes, it's REALLY good for you!
What does “extraction” 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 our mill, we get out 1,000 pounds of flour, meaning it's a 100% extraction flour and you get 100% of the bran, germ, and endosperm. Our "Artisan Blend" bread flour is lightly sifted, and has a 90% extraction rate, while our All-Purpose flour has an 80% extraction rate, as do our Sifted Artisan and High-Protein bread flours. Our most finely-sifted flour, at 70% extraction, is our Italian-Style Pizza Flour.
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 100% extraction flours, which are also the most nutritious! Many of our bakers like to combine flours of different extractions in different proportions for their various baked goods. We invite you to experiment!
Is Janie's Mill Italian-Style Pizza Flour the same as 00 Pizza Flour?
No, because white, highly sifted 00 flour is the result of industrial roller milling. That said, the home and professional bakers who tested our Pizza Flour found that our stone-milled, finely-sifted flour (70% extraction, which is as close to 00 as you can get with stone-milling) is perfect for either airy Italian style pizza (with a longer rise time) or crisp New York style pizza (short rise time). And it has the gluten strength needed to support all your favorite toppings! NOTE: Janie's Mill Italian-Style Pizza Flour, like all stone-milled flours, is not pure white. It is a light beige color because the nutritious germ and some of the bran are present.
What does the term falling number mean?
Falling numbers are all about enzymatic activity. The presence of alpha-amylase indicates damage when wheat kernels begin to sprout prior to harvest. A falling number over 350 seconds is considered to be good for baking bread.
What does ash content signify?
Ash content refers to the amount of ash that would be left over if you were to burn 100 g of flour. A higher ash content indicates that the flour contains more of the germ, bran, and outer endosperm. Lower ash content means that the flour is more highly refined (i.e., a lower extraction rate).
Are your products Organic? Do you use GMOs?
All of the grains that come into our mill are USDA Certified Organic, and our Mill itself is also inspected and we are certified by OCIA as an organic processor.
USDA organic standards forbid the use of GMOs, and none are ever present in Janie’s Mill. Genetic engineering doesn’t help farmers, consumers, or rural communities, and does not advance the changes we seek in our food system. Besides, it has never produced anything truly delicious!
Is modern wheat hybridized? Are there any GMO (genetically modified) wheat varities?
Yes to the first question and No to the second!
All modern wheats have been developed through classical cross-breeding, and are therefore considered hybrids. Hybrids occur naturally when two varieties of plants of the same species cross-pollinate thanks to insects or the wind taking pollen from one variety to the other. Humans figured this out thousands of years ago, and began to intentionally cross-pollinate two different varieties of the same plant to try to develop a variety with specific traits, whether that was a particular color, size, shape, taste, or with increased disease-resistance or yield.
Even heirloom varieties are hybrids in that someone, usually hundreds of years ago, noticed a superior variety and decided to plant and save seed from that variety year after year. The first occurence of that variety may have been due to natural cross-pollination, or a person may have made the cross intentionally. In either case, the superior characteristics of that variety led people to continue to save seed and re-plant that variety for many generations.
There are currently no genetically modified varieties of wheat in production.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are those whose genome is manipulated in a laboratory. Most corn and soybeans in the U.S. have been genetically modified to resist herbicides. The classic example is "RoundUp Ready" crops that are genetically modified to not be affected by the herbicide RoundUp, whose active ingredient is glyphosate. This means a farmer can use as much RoundUp as they want without damaging the crop. (Never mind the possible side effects of massive amounts of glyphosate in the soil, air, water, and on our food.)
One reason wheat has not been genetically modified is that most non-organic wheat farmers in the U.S. spray glyphosate on the wheat just before harvest to kill all the wheat plants so they "dry down" evenly, making it easier to harvest. Some people think that residual glyphosate found in flour may cause digestive issues, although this has not been proven.
Where is my Gift Certificate?
Your gift certificate is digital and will arrive via email. Sometimes your gift certificate may be funneled into your Promotions or Spam folder by a very efficient junk mail filter, so check there first. If you still cannot see your Gift Certificate email our Customer Care person at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where is my package?
You will receive an automated confirmation email immediately after you order. You will then receive another email letting you know your package has shipped, usually within a day or two of placing your order. In that second email will be a UPS tracking number so you can track your package. If you cannot find these emails (look in your Promotions and Spam folders, too), please contact email@example.com
Do I have to pay shipping?
No, you do not have to pay shipping if you either:
- purchase over $100 and apply the promocode FREESHIPPING100
pick up your flour from us at 405 N. 2nd St., Ashkum IL. Please order online, and then email Renee@janiesmill.com to arrange a pickup day and time (from 9 to 3, M-F). Renee will also refund your shipping!
Which flours are good for gluten-sensitive people?
Wheat and rye contain the proteins glutenin and gliadin that form gluten when combined with water, so we do not recommend any of our wheat or rye products to people with celiac disease or those who are highly gluten-intolerant.
Even our corn and buckwheat products, made from whole grains that do not contain gluten, should not be eaten by people with celiac disease because they are processed in a facility that processes wheat and rye.
That said, we have heard from many people with non-celiac gluten sensitivities that they have no problem with flour from Janie’s Mill. This may be due to several factors including:
1. Our grains are all certified organic, which means there is no glyphosate or other synthetic chemical residues on them, which cause gut issues in some people.
2. Our flours are stone milled, which means you are eating all parts of the grain, including the bran and germ, not just the starchy endosperm.
3. Our flours have no additives. Some industrially produced bread flours add “vital wheat gluten,” an isolated form of gluten, but we add nothing at all.
4. When you make sourdough breads, the fermentation process helps “pre-digest” the gluten strands in the dough, making it easier for many people to digest.
What is the difference between ancient, heirloom (heritage), and modern wheats?
There are no hard and fast definitions of these terms, but here's a primer and a good way to think about them.
"Ancient grains" were domesticated at the dawn of agriculture and have remained largely unchanged since then. Einkorn, emmer, durum and spelt are considered ancient grains in the wheat family. Ancient grains tend to have more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals than modern grains.
"Heirloom (heritage) wheat” refers to any variety that existed before the introduction of high-yielding hybrids during the mid-20th century. Some experts, however, prefer to apply the term only to those varieties that existed before the 1880s, such as Red Fife, Marquis, Rouge de Bordeaux, and Turkey Red.
Like ancient grains, heirloom wheats are open-pollinated, which means the seed can be saved and re-planted, and there may be some natural variation from generation to generation which enhances biodiversity. Open pollination also produces seeds that are better able to adapt to local conditions — critical for plant resiliency in the face of increasing weather fluctuations.
Farmers and bakers long ago identified heirloom and ancient varieties as superior, and farmers have grown, harvested, and saved seed to plant the following season for many years -- with heirloom varieties having been preserved for hundreds of years, and the ancient grains for thousands!
“Modern wheats” are generally defined as those created in the 1960’s through classical cross-breeding. Although cross-breeding has been done by humans and nature for thousands of years, the goal for the modern wheats created in the 1960s was to produce a higher-yielding and lower-cost crop. This was often done at the expense of taste and nutrition.
There has been somewhat of a backlash against the 1960s varieties and more recent varieties such as Warthog and Glenn have great taste and nutrition, as well as disease resistance and high yields. These are the types of “modern” wheat grown on Janie’s Farm and milled at Janie’s Mill.
Are ancient and heirloom wheats easier to digest than modern wheats? If so, why?
Many people do find older varieties of wheat easier on their digestive systems. The reason most likely lies in the fact that the older varieties have different proportions of the two gluten-forming proteins glutenin and gliadin, and so they form different amounts and kinds of gluten when their flours are mixed with water. For example, the ratio of those two proteins in Einkorn flour creates short, fragile strands of gluten that many people find easy to digest.
In general, ancient grains like Einkorn, Emmer, and Durum have high protein levels, but low gluten potential, meaning that the gluten strands that form when the flour is mixed with water tend to be short and fragile, and therefore easier to digest.
- Einkorn is the most ancient of all wheat varieties and a customer favorite. It has a high protein level (15.5% - 18%), but very low gluten potential. Baking with Einkorn is quite different than baking with regular wheat flour, so it takes a little time to adjust. We recommend people start by blending 20-30% Einkorn flour with our High-Protein or other bread flours, and go up from there if you like.
- Spelt is an ancient relative of Durum wheat. It has a low level of protein (9.5% - 12.5%), and so can be used instead of All-Purpose flour in most recipes. Many people with gluten sensitivities report that they have no problems with Spelt flour.
Heirloom varieties of wheat have a higher gluten potential than Einkorn and other ancient grains, but lower than modern hybrid wheats, making them another good choice for people with gluten sensitivities. The gluten formed by Red Fife and Turkey Red wheats is somewhere in between the short strands in Einkorn and the very long, strong strands formed by modern wheats.
- Red Fife is a heritage wheat that we mill into a whole-grain flour (100% extraction) with robust flavors. It has a high protein level (13.5% -16.8%), so it produces an excellent rise in yeast and sourdough breads.
- Turkey Red is another heritage wheat that we mill into a whole-grain flour. It has a lower protein level (10.9% - 13.8%) and so may be used as a bread flour or an all-purpose flour.
How do I cook grits?
Use a 4:1 ratio, for example 4 cups liquid to 1 cup of stone-ground grits. For the liquid, you can use all water, or a combination of milk, or broth (vegetable or chicken), and water. If you want the flavor of the corn to dominate, then just use water. If you do not add broth, add at least a teaspoon of salt. You can also add cheese at the end of the cooking time if you like.
Bring milk, water, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly add grits while whisking to avoid lumps. Cook grits covered over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. This basic recipe makes approximately 8 servings.
How do I cook oat flakes?
We make four different kinds of organic grain flakes: oat, wheat, barley and rye. We use the same process to make all four, and they may be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Here is our favorite recipe for stove-top oatmeal, as well as a great recipe for quick and easy overnight oats. Feel free to substitute other flakes grains for the oats!
In general, grain flakes are cooked on the stove-top using somewhere between a 2-to-1 and a 3-to-1 ratio of liquid (milk and/or water) to flakes, depending on how creamy or chewy you like your cereal. You can either bring the liquid to a boil first and then add the flakes, or put everything in the pan at the same time. Either way, stir it occasionally over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat, put a lid on, and let it steam for another 10-15 minutes. You can use as is, or stir in fruit, nuts, honey, or flax, hemp, or chia seed.
Savory Ideas for Oatmeal
Most of us think of oatmeal as a sweetened breakfast cereal, but it can also be a savory, polenta-like dish, topped with cheese, bacon, or sausage bits. Or try it with flavourful vegetables such as sauteed greens, garlic, and fresh herbs. One taster called savory oats, “The best breakfast I’ve eaten in a long time.”
Much like grits, rice congee, and soft polenta, the creamy mild tasting flaked grains can be a vehicle for any flavor combo you like: sauteed corn with onion, cilantro, and feta cheese or leftover vegetables from dinner with some butter, grated cheddar, and soy sauce. (I just tried leftover veggies and rye flakes. It was very good and made an excellent lunch!) And you can always put a fried egg on top. Any way you try it, savory oatmeal tastes fantastic and is a hearty, filling breakfast to keep you going strong all day long!