5 reasons why I love Bob’s Red Mill flour and other products and use them daily
Bob Moore and I met at the January 2016 Specialty Food Show in San Francisco. I felt as excited as a teenager meeting Beyonce as Bob has been one of my heroes for a very long time. While waiting in line one of his employees commented that he really loves to talk with the public. I told him that I would do my best to keep our conversation short but it would be hard given my admiration for him.
When it was my turn to meet Bob and receive a complimentary book, Breakfasts, I attempted to keep my word. But when I told him that he was one of my heroes, and why, it was all over.
At one point Bob said to me, “How old are you?” I gave him my age (which I’m not telling other than to say I’m more than a decade younger than Bob).
He said, “Well, I’m 87 and I still go to work every day. I travel to the farms where we get our grains and visit with the growers to find out what they need and how we can help them. I mentor employees, and sometimes I travel in small planes which two of my sons have. I just got back from a trip all through Montana and Wyoming.”
Talk about an inspirational man!
I’ve been cooking and baking since childhood, though my six-year-old efforts at cookie making were often globs of baked dough with raw centers, but I was enchanted by the magic of ingredients becoming more than the sum of the parts. I also learned as a young adult that using high-quality ingredients meant exceptional results. Why expend the energy on okay when a small additional investment means fabulous?
Which brings us to the first reason why I love Bob’s Red Mill…
1. Bob’s Red Mill Flours are Premium Quality from the Start
Although I know that some pastry bakers often favor Wondra and other super-processed flours as they produce a delicate crumb, I prefer using flours that are unbleached and as close to “healthy” as possible.
I also want flours that won’t go rancid quickly. This means using flours from small mills that value quality over mass production.
In the mid 1960s Bob Moore came across a book on old stone-grinding flour mills. He was enthused by the idea and started looking for usable stone mills. With millstones from an old North Carolina water-powered flour mill, Bob and his wife Charlee opened a mill in Redding, CA in the early 1970s.
A few years later, they transferred the mill to their sons and moved to Oregon and retirement. Then Bill found an old mill that was for sale that was too tempting to pass up. It contained everything he wanted, including millstones for grinding flours and cereals. Word spread once they were in operation and the business flourished until 1988 when a fire destroyed the building. After dusting off the ashes, they rebuilt the business from scratch.
Quartz millstones have been used since before Roman times. Unlike high-speed steel rollers, millstones ensure that the nutritious parts of the grain are retained. Because their milling, packaging and distribution facility are all in one place — and this includes in-house laboratories — quality control is easy to manage.
Their gluten-free flours are segregated from other products and tested and packaged in special gluten-free clean rooms. This is a critical factor for anyone with celiac or severe gluten intolerance as cross-contamination of gluten-free flours with gluten-containing flours will cause a serious reaction.
2. Nutritious Flours and Cereals: The second reason I love Bob’s Red Mill
Refined grains are missing about two-thirds of many essential nutrients. While grains may then be enriched, only a few of the removed nutrients are added. Bleaching flours to make them ultra white, further processes and degrades the flour. Modern wheat varieties have been modified to have more gluten protein so that the bread rises more quickly and has more elasticity to save time for commercial production baking. All of these changes produce bread with little nutritional value.
Healthy, nutritious foods have always been at the heart of Bob’s Red Mill flours and cereals. If you are baking breads, using Bob’s Red Mill flours will give you breads with substantial natural flavor and that are nutritious and high in fiber.
3. Gluten-Free Flours: This is the third reason why I love Bob’s Red Mill
I have a strong wheat allergy, which is different from being gluten-intolerant. Eating wheat induces tightness in my airways and triggers asthma. While a little won’t set me off, eating a meal based on wheat will.
My daughter, however, inherited gluten intolerance from her father’s family and has a serious reaction to gluten as do her sons. As a result, she and I only use gluten-free flours.
NOTE: Nearly every baked recipe on our site was made with gluten-free flours although the recipes we post call for regular unbleached flour. You can substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free flour or Bob’s Red Mill baking flour for the unbleached flour with excellent results.
Though you can substitute Bob’s Red Mill flour in all of our recipes, here are some that specifically call for it, or here are a couple of our favorites:
4. Socially conscious, employee-friendly support
Bob and Charlee are part of a small number of employers who truly walk-the-talk. Several years ago, Bob gave his employees Bob’s Red Mill! Yes, you read that correctly. In addition to running a business he was passionate about and that mirrored his belief in clean, healthy, grains at an affordable price, he decided to give the business to his employees, but it didn’t stop there. He continues to mentor them on how to run a successful company so that they will continue to grow their own business.
When employees have a stake in the business and are treated with respect and dignity, they have no reason to seek employment elsewhere. This is the fourth reason why I love Bob’s Red Mill.
5. Hard to find whole grains and flours
It’s a lot easier these days to find unusual grains and flours than it was when Bob started his first mill. That said, depending upon where you live, it can still be a challenge. This is also true with gluten-free products. This is the fifth reason I love Bob’s Red Mill and the reason I decided I wanted to represent his company in some capacity.
I don’t like high-pressure sales, and I would never promote a company that I believe does not sell premium products or is inconsiderate to customers. But Bob’s Red Mill has it all and I do not hesitate to recommend it to my readers here.
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I live in the Portland, Oregon region so I have the huge honor of frequently visiting the “mill”. I wholeheartedly agree that Bob’s Red Mill products are the best you can find. His unbleached cake flour tops any cake flour on the market and I have sampled them side by side. Not only that, the heart behind his company is unprecedented. I have seen Bob sitting in his cafe freely talking with customers. You can tell he loves sharing his life’s work and chatting with the customers that continue to inspire him. Every employee in the store and restaurant is cheerful and friendly and welcoming. It is obvious they love coming to work every day. What a beautiful thing it is when passion and heart and kindness come together in a business. Amazing!
You’ve said it beautifully Summer Polzel! Bob and Charlee are the kind of role models that I wish more people would emulate. There is enough for everyone in a model like Bob’s Red Mill and it could be for our entire planet if tribalism, fear and greed were removed from the picture. Thank you for your comments. Patricia, VQ