Hi friends! Here’s some news you (maybe) can use. A couple of weeks ago, when I mentioned that I was low on yeast, reader Laura sent me a VERY enlightening email:
Hi Kevin, Thanks for all you do! I’ve made your plum cake and brioche and they were great! For those who are having trouble finding yeast and/or flour during this “shelter at home” time, you might want to consider “Amish/Mennonite Bulk Food” grocery stores. There’s one in central Illinois that takes Mail Orders (Beachy’s Bulk Foods, 217-543-3447, might take 24 hours before they call you back) and a Google search found similar stores in Michigan, Missouri and Indiana…even New York! The Beachy’s store sells Red Star Active Dry Yeast at $3.59 per pound, and they will pack it into smaller containers if you’d like. In addition to all-purpose flour, they have bread flour, buckwheat, almond, etc. that also comes in a variety of sizes. I’d love to see more puppy pictures and hear some piano music! I hope all of your family and friends are well. Stay safe! Thanks, Laura
Taking my cue from Laura, yesterday I left a voice mail with Beachy’s Bulk Foods. Then I typed “Amish+Mennonite+Bulk+Foods+New+York” into Google’s search engine. Hallelujah — up came “Canaan General Store” in Canaan, NY. I phoned the store to confirm that they did, indeed, have bulk flour in stock. Then I made the 25 minute trek to Canaan. There, I discovered…a baker’s gold mine.
Canaan General Store (518) 781-7900
I purchased one 25-pound bag of all-purpose flour for $12.65, plus two additional 5-pound bags of a similar flour for $2.75 each. The smaller bags of flour are a gift for my friend Steve. I also grabbed some other items that have disappeared from supermarket shelves, including non-fat instant dry milk (a necessity for these Japanese Milk Bread Rolls), active dry yeast, instant potato flakes (for potato bread), various pastas, and more. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
Beachy’s Bulk Foods (mail-order or in-person) 217-543-3447
More good news: Beachy’s Bulk Foods returned my call within two hours. The store does in fact stock everything that Laura mentioned in her email. Consequently I ordered from Beachy’s a 25-pound sack of high-gluten (i.e., “bread”) flour, a 2 pound sack of active dry yeast, and 10 pounds each granulated sugar and brown sugar. I’m all set.
So there you go. If flour, yeast, and other baking goods have eluded you during the pandemic, please take Laura’s advice and go the Amish or Mennonite bulk-food route. You’ll probably save money in the long run. I certainly did!
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