Last updated on April 26th, 2020
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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Kevin, did the store in Caanan have bread flour??
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Kelly – I did not ask Canaan General Store about bread-type flour. You can reach them at (518) 781-7900. Let me know how you make out!
shirley welch says
Thank you for this post ~ I need to bake ! Baking relieves stress, makes the entire house smell so good and and makes your family happy (and hungry) ! ! something fresh from the oven is always good~
Sharon Weippert says
For those of you who are running short of yeast it is not necessary to use 1 pakage of yeast to rise bread. Try using 1 teaspoon of yeast instead and add a heaping spoon of flour to the water and sugar ( I also sprinkle about 1/8 teaspoon of ginger in my yeast mixture) this makes a sponge. It might take 15 minutes to activate but at this point we have all the time in the world. Then incorporate it into your other ingredients as you normally would.
BTW , I always let my bread rise 3 times for a lighter texture.
Bulk is the way to go.
I’m on the west coast so Amish Mennonite isn’t that close, but we do have natural food stores that carry in bulk. I was set for flour but haven’t been able to find pasta or legumes for a month. I finally stopped at my favorite natural organic grocery store because they carry in bulk on the off chance they might have something. They had everything. You can’t bag your own any more but that made it just the more convenience. I was able to get lentils, split peas and elbow macaroni. If I need white, red, kidney, pinto, black-eyed, navy or any other kind of bean, they’ve got it. It is also the store that carries Pomona’s Pectin for when that canning time of year comes round. The way things are looking, I may be making jam and putting up peaches and tomatoes when the growing season comes round. This looks to be the long haul. Gearing up for World War shortage conditions against an invisible but ever present enemy.
Have you started a “starter” yet?
I get my flour at a Mennonite Bulk Food store here in Ohio. Just bought a 50 lb bag of hi gluten and the (stronger than me) woman even carries the bag to my car. Yeast is readily available. They even have semolina for making pasta. Love my Acme Farm Market!
Thank you for this! I finally found yeast!
Suzanne K says
Definitely crazy times! I’ve managed, so far, to pick up the various flours I wanted (whole wheat, AP and bread) in local grocery stores but it did take several trips. Yeast, not happening! I finally gave up on finding it in stock. But, reading thru comments on other posts here, I looked at King Arthur Flour’s website. AHA! They ship (good) and have many items. At the time I first looked, they had just gone out of stock on all yeast. But, I checked daily and about a week ago, the yeast showed as still out of stock but they were allowing you to put orders in, for delivery in 3-4 weeks. As another poster pointed out, time we’ve got! So, I ordered it. Then, I got the exciting email that it has shipped! So, I’ll be getting it in less than a week. Thank you, Kevin, for the info on storing dry yeast in a moisture proof jar in the freezer. I’ll need that! I’ve been so traumatized by not being able to find yeast that I bought a 2# package! But, it keeps so I’ll now have it going forward (for ever, and ever and ever!!!). I also read that it doesn’t need to defrost before being used. I’m very much looking forward to my home baked bread again!
Thanks for being my ‘go-to’ site in these times! Stay home and stay healthy everyone (if you can stay home), and thank you to all of those front line folks who can’t stay home but keep everything going for the rest of us!
Annette Guilfoyle says
Kevin, I have been shopping my local Chef’s Store for these items. Because they are package for bulk sale you may want to find a friend to share. They also carry the absolute best fresh salmon we have every eaten. My local pizza shop has also offered flour and yeast for sale retail as they can still get it through their vendor.
Thank-you so much! I’ve run out of flour, and other family members have made inroads into my yeast supply! Canaan here I come (tomorrow)! We moved back to the area from PA, and I thought that I’d never find another good general store. For our friends in southeastern PA, there is Echo Hill Country Store on Dryville Road in Fleetwood, PA. You are a treasure! Thanks again!
Does anyone know where I can find organic all purpose unbleached flour?
Debby S. says
If your local store has all purpose flour and you need bread flour, you can add vital wheat gluten (available at health food stores or online) to the all purpose flour. Doesn’t take much.
Lauren Z says
How serendipitous!! Our family eats megatons of popcorn and our local supermarkets (yes, you read that right: PLURAL) ran out! I immediately turned to the Amish and was NOT disappointed. I feel lucky to be on the east coast and “nearby” several sites(Ohio, Illinois, PA). Lehman’s has been my go-to for some time for basic household stuff, but I used a different site because I could get a multipack of popcorn AND free shipping! (The name escapes me, but I think it was something as simple as “Amish country popcorn.com”. FWIW, and in case your local stores are running low, they also sell big (Natural) bars of all purpose soap! I opted to skip and bought some from a local seller on Etsy for faster shipping (and more luxurious scents).
Kevin, thanks for all the resources you provide and all the love you share with your online friends. You are making this whole being at home thing (With small, constantly hungry kids) so much more cozy and tolerable!!!
For those of you in the state of Maine, “Maine Grains” in Skowhegan mills wheat, rye, oats, corn and buckwheat–just picked up an order of organic whole wheat flour, sifted (“white”) flour, cornmeal, polenta, rye flour and organic rolled oats. They are busy so the order took about 8 days to pull together, but it was worth the wait–everything is freshly milled and all grains grown in Maine. It is expensive to ship, but they do ship. It was well worth the drive for me.
What about baking powder? Cannot find it anywhere.
Cary Bradley says
Azure Standard is a great bulk buying co-op that drop delivers regionally in many parts of the country. They have flour and yeast!
Leslie George says
Thank you so much Kevin and Laura for your information. I truly appreciate it. I thought I got a great deal on yeast compared to what Kevin paid. I will search for the Mennonite Bulk Food web site. I heard on the news that with pork ( not sure about other meats ) it is not the animal that is in short supply it is the processing and in some cases distribution that is getting hit with the virus. This may be the same reason that some products are in high demand. I keep telling myself over and over this WILL pass but sometimes it gets hard. Stay safe, stay well everyone and especially you Kevin for bringing a little light into this dark time. 🙂
Leslie George says
This is for Carol and anyone interested in making your own baking powder if you cannot find it in your store.
Normally I use aluminum free baking powder but because I am on a low carb program I also look for recipes with that in mind. Below are links to the 2 criteria I look for, you can choose which recipe you would like to use. Good Luck 🙂
Luckily the gluten-free community doesn’t seem to have hoarders in it. I haven’t had any problems finding gluten free baking ingredients. Maybe because some gluten free flours don’t have a very long shelf life?
Note to bulk yeast buyers: be sure to store your extra yeast in air tight containers so it won’t lose its potency! Glass jars are best, like Ball canning jars.
Marlyn K Anderson says
This is for Leslie George and whomever else is interested. I’m from MN and the Hormel plant in southern MN just closed. It was because 14 of the workers were tested positive. The President of the company said it was too difficult to keep people 6′ apart in the plant and still be able to do their work. They tried but in the end it just didn’t work.
Last week, for the first time since the second week in March, I saw TP in my local grocery store. I did buy a pack, even though I still have some at home. I never thought in my lifetime, I’d be counting how many squares of TP I’m using.
Martha Conley says
A week ago, after googling “King Arthur Flour” for anyone who had it, I hit the jack-pot and found a 25lb bag at a Costco which is about 15 miles from me in Massachusetts. Even better, they had a 2lb bag of Red Star active yeast which I also scooped up. Better yet….I had them delivered along with a few other items to meet the minimum of $35 with Instacart. Now that I am comfortably supplied, I have been on a tear making bread recipes (I’m a novice at this) including your hamburger rolls and focaccia bread…both delicious!
Thank you Kevin and Laura! I had plenty of yeast and baking powder until family members were caught short and I shared with them. I want my grandchildren to be able to enjoy helping their families make homemade breads and pretzels. And now I have only enough yeast left to make one more loaf of bread! I hope to be able to stock up again soon! And now I know how to store my yeast!
Susan Iseman says
What a fabulous bit of info! I just ordered yeast and some other items from Lantz’s in Warsaw NY and they are shipping . Thanks everyone!
Elke Crane says
as always, it is a joy to read your Blog!
Germantown Garden Club
Pat Greenleaf says
Thank you, Kevin. I just received my 2 lb yeast from Beachy’s. They did a two day priority mail so I received it quite quickly. Let the bread baking begin again. Stay safe and as always thank you for cheering us up with recipes, gardening, and so much more.