Bear's MIll whole grain flour for holiday treats made from whole grain flour

Whole grains in the holiday kitchen

Kitchens all across Ohio take on the warmth and aromas of the holidays as bakers pull out traditional recipes for candies, cookies, pastries and breads—special treats that, once reduced to crumbs in the holiday tins, won’t reappear until next year.

It is the time of year when bakers, particularly those who prefer old-fashioned ingredients such as whole grain and coarse flours, find their way to places that specialize in those ingredients, such as Bear’s Mill in Darke County.

Customers purchasing from a mill know how to create wonderful foods with the stone ground products from wheat that are as close to whole grains as possible, still flecked with bits of nutritious bran and germ.OOS-banner

The sources for the flours and grains ground at Bear’s Mill, such as the corn and rye, are Ohio grown and purchased through a local grain elevator. The hard winter wheat, a variety not suited for Ohio agriculture, comes from out West.

The soft red winter wheat is all locally-grown and is the variety most often seen when driving around Ohio’s country roads. As it matures it becomes the golden grain harvested in the summer. A low protein wheat, its ground and packaged as the Mill’s whole wheat cake flour, which will yield a tender crumb in cakes and pastry, pie crusts and biscuits.

Over the years, Bear’s Mills’ owners have noticed that bakers who have only used refined and bleached all-purpose flours are timid about incorporating the Mill’s rustic looking, textured flours in their recipes. To get used to the texture and the way the flour works in recipes, they suggest beginning by blending it with a favorite all-purpose flour, substituting a fourth of the flour measurement with a whole wheat flour.


Read the full Our Ohio story on Bear’s Mill, and watch a segment of Our Ohio TV they are featured in.


See the recipes below to incorporate old-fashioned baking into your holiday treats.


Kelli Milligan Stammen is director of publications for the Ohio Farm Bureau.