Two avid bread bakers noticed a dearth of local wheat, and set out to grow their own.
The bakers are Molly and John Breslin. The father-daughter team reaped their first major harvest of hard red winter wheat, grown on their soon-to-be certified organic Ottawa, Illinois, farm, this past summer.
Soft wheat yields flour ideal for pastries and baking. Higher-protein hard wheat is excellent for bread--and rarely grown locally.
Purchase the whole-wheat flour ($5 for 2 pounds) directly from the Breslins, who have it milled to order on the area's only stone gristmill, found in Milledgeville, a small town 80 miles north of Chicago. Molly brings the flour to Chicago on her regular trips to work for Earth First Farms at local farmers' markets. (Note: Because the flour contains wheat germ and bran, it must be kept refrigerated.)
Find Breslin wheat berries in the bulk section at Logan Square's Dill Pickle Food Co-op and Open Produce in Hyde Park. Cook them whole for use in salads, or crack in a blender and cook with milk for an oatmeal-style breakfast.
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