Shopping & Reviews

Power Flour

Ordering flour by mail might sound expensive and, well, a little crazy, but trust us—it’s worth it.

By Allison and Margaret Engel

Published on January 19, 2007

Financially, it is lunacy to order flour by mail. The shipping costs more than the flour. Yet for those who doubt the wisdom of asking United Parcel drivers to haul bags of ground wheat all around the nation, we offer these three words: Hudson Cream Flour.

It's hard not to love this flour. Freshly milled from the current season's central Kansas wheat crop, Hudson Cream Flour is one of the few "short patent" flours available for home use. "Short patent" refers to the low percentage of the wheat kernel used in milling the flour. Hudson Cream uses just 62 percent of the kernel for its flour, versus the industry standard of up to 80 percent. The result is a more refined product, almost like cake flour.

Hudson Cream is not a blend of hard and soft wheat flours, as all-purpose flours are, but is made entirely from hard red winter wheat. The high protein content of winter wheat creates a strong network of gluten strands to trap more carbon dioxide bubbles as the dough rises. The result: higher, lighter breads. The strong protein also withstands long kneading without the gluten breaking down. Thus, the finished loaves have a rich flavor and a uniform, picture-perfect crumb. The flour is also wonderful for making pasta, pizza crust, dinner rolls, and coffee cakes.

Hudson Cream is the pride of the Stafford County Flour Mills Company in the central Kansas town of Hudson. One of the few independent mills left in the Wheat State, Stafford County operates round the clock most days to keep up with the demand for its flour.

White flour, even Hudson Cream, is not high in fiber, acknowledges Sharon P. Davis, a nutritionist and grain specialist who formerly worked for the Kansas Wheat Commission. But neither, in a relative sense, is whole-wheat flour. "If you're really after fiber, eat bran, brown rice, oatmeal, or vegetables," she says. "We've gotten so defensive about eating anything with white flour! For a tender piecrust or a beautiful yeast loaf, by all means use white flour."

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