Just a heads up for Central Milling flour fans. A while back I asked Costco if they could start carrying the Organic Artisan Bakers Craft Plus Malted flour from Central Milling. I just heard back and they'll be stocking it in 25# bags starting mid-July (2013) once they've depleted their stock of the CM Beehive Organic flour it's replacing.
Organic Bakers Craft is a blend of hard red wheat, malted with 11.5% protein. It's 1% higher protein than the Beehive so should produce dough with a little more strength, which is what I was looking for. As a reference, King Arthur all-purpose flour has 11.7% protein.
If you're in the San Francisco Bay area you should be able to find it in Redwood City, Mountain View, Almaden, Santa Clara, San Jose, Fremont, Santa Cruz and some other locations I didn't write down. Outside the Bay Area you'll have to check with Costco for locations. The item number is 475605.
As a bonus I believe this is the same flour the Tartine Bakery uses for their famous sourdough bread but don't quote me since I'm not 100% sure.
About a month ago, I purchased several hundred pounds of Central Milling's Organic All Purpose Flour from the Costco store in Richmond, CA. This may sound like a crazy purchase for a home baker, but I am passionate about baking breads (sourdough, ciabatta, and even plain white pan bread) and I can easily go through ten pounds of flour in a week. My neighbors and friends love me!
I used to bake with Kyrol high gluten flour thinking the high protein content is what I needed to turn out the perfect loaf of bread. After lots of reading, I learned that a lower but higher quality winter wheat protein all purpose flour can make a better loaf of sourdough bread - less chewy. I switched to Central Milling's organic all purpose flour when my local Costco stopped carrying the high gluten flour. At $.55 a pound, the flour was still affordable especially given the fact that it was organic. The Richmond Costco is 30 miles from my house. Since my Costco does not carry this brand, I rarely head to Richmond, and Costco has a tendency to stop carrying foods I come to love, I stocked up big time! I have been mixing a little bit of the high gluten flour that I still have on hand to the Central Milling flour (this is rated at 10.5 percent protein). My sourdough boules come out of the oven with such great oven spring spring and with such a wonderful crumb! Of course, the bread is ever so yummy.
As far as I know, Central Milling doesn't sell their flours to the general public. I read that I could call the Central Milling distribution center in Petaluma - a 60 mile trip from here - and request a special order of flour. Central Milling prefers to deal with buyers willing to spend at least $500. I am not sure my old Sentra can hold that much flour!
To make a long story short, I am super thrilled to hear that some of the Costcos will start carrying the Central Milling artisan flour. I love their all purpose flour and I suspect that the artisan flour will make sourdough loaves to die for :). Thanks for sharing this news. I will contact the Richmond Costco later this month to see if this store has the flour in stock.