At Philly Bread, we obsess over every step of the production process. From sourcing grains to packaging the final loaf, every detail affects the final product. One of the most important steps in our process is milling locally grown grains using a 12” stone mill from Meadows Mills. Why mill grains into flour at the bakery when you can purchase it? Creative control.
Consider the benefits of buying whole coffee beans and grinding them to order. What respectable coffee shop uses coffee ground off-site? Baristas need a degree of control to make the perfect cup. Some brews are made with finely ground light roasts while others use dark roasts and coarse grounds. Grinding to order also matters because once a bean gets crushed, the natural oils inside the bean can go rancid. Therefore, freshly ground beans are critical to a great cup.
Just as beans and grinders are necessary for artisan coffee, grains and mills are vital to artisan bread production. By milling in-house, vendors can't limit our options, and freshness is guaranteed. By sourcing whole grains instead of potentially stale flour, we have the ability to toast or smoke them before milling so that our flour has a more complex flavor. Without a mill, new flavors are out of reach. Additionally, milling to order allows us to reduce the risk of baking with rancid flour and thereby improve flavor and nutrition. Whole grains have naturally long shelf lives, but once it becomes flour, it oxidizes and spoils. Industrial mills remove the “germ” of the grain to avoid this, and this step reduces the nutrition.
Milling grains starts with, well, grain selection. We use a variety, some of which include “Redeemer” winter wheat (used in our signature Philly Muffin), rye, and corn. Most of our grains come from Castle Valley Mill, located nearby in the heart of Bucks County, PA. We also utilize local barley malts from Philly Homebrew Outlet.
The Meadows Mill that turns our local whole grains into flour is a simple technology. Grains enter the machine through a hopper (a cone-like catchment that tapers downward). Next, they flow through two stone wheels: one remains static while the other revolves to grind the grain. The space between those two wheels is what determines whether the grain is milled fine or course and what the flour temperature is. After passing through the stones, flour shoots out of the machine at about 100 lbs/hour.
We utilize our in-house milled grains in many of our products including all varieties of our Philly Muffins, ciabatta, focaccia, baguettes, table loaves, multigrain and rye bread. Check here to find a place near you serving us up.