Today on Earth Eats, we continue our April celebration of baked goods.
I visited Eric Schedler of Muddy Fork Bakery a couple months ago when I heard that he was milling his own flour.
The mill is not a big machine. It blends in with the other equipment in the bakery. Thursday is his milling day so that he can mix the starters and then bake on Fridays. He calculates exactly how much spelt flour he’ll need so that he doesn’t have any extra -- one 50-pound sack of grain should do it.
New Skill Set
Eric realized he would have to start milling in-house when his local source of flour dried up:
We had been using fresh-milled flour from a farmer in Seymour, and that’s sort of what we got started with. And when she lost her grain in the middle of the season, then we started ordering commercial sacks of wheat and rye. It just doesn’t have the flavor that a fresh product has. It also has a bitterness to it.
He bought the mill about a year and a half ago, and he immediately started experimenting with milling new grains -- ancient grains like spelt and kamut, along with the more traditional hard red wheat, white wheat and rye.
"We are making new varieties that we’ve developed in the past year that take advantage of the different grains," he says.
Take the kamut, for instance. It has a yellow tint to it, and it’s three-times bigger than a regular hard wheat berry. Through trial and error, Eric learned he has to mill it twice to get the flour fine enough.
"It’s very interesting to work with," he says. "It took a long time to figure out how to get a nice dough out of it."
Kamut Apple Pie
Eric mixed up some pie doughs with the kamut flour and he brought the dough over to his friend Malcolm Dalglish’s house. Malcolm is a musician and composer and he also makes a wicked apple pie.
Even though Malcolm is a home baker, he is teaching Eric--the professional baker--how to make this pizza pan apple pie.
"They cook rather fast," says Malcolm, "So what I do is a kind of go by smell, because what happens is the apples reach a point where they... let out this incredible apple aroma."
Bang On The Dough All Day
We also speak with Freda Love Smith, a musician and author. She chronicles her life in music – and her love of food – in her memoir Red Velvet Underground. Along with rock 'n' roll memories, we follow her cooking lessons with her son Jonah. One of their first lessons is how to bake bread, which is fitting because one of the first times food and music collided for her was as a teenager working in a Bloomington bakery.
Stories On This Episode
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A new report from Johns Hopkins University says a lack of rights for undocumented farm workers threatens public health and the food system.
The U.K. and Canada released reports last month detailing efforts to reduce sugar consumption in their respective countries, with two different approaches.
An appeals court hears arguments Wednesday on the future of Philly's landmark tax on sweetened drinks. The money is funding preschool for low-income kids, but the soda industry says it's losing jobs.