Unless you’ve been living in a cave during these past two months, you’ve undoubtedly seen a massive proliferation of home baking. From sandwich bread to pizza dough, the home-baking arts are enjoying a golden-brown moment in the sun. But all breads require flour. And most breads save for naturally leavened breads – aka sourdoughs – require yeast. And anybody who has shopped for these in-demand items has likely experienced product shortages, delays or out-of-stock notices.
What very few locals know, however, is that there is a 100-year-old company in Slavic Village that is a baker’s best friend. The Minneapolis Flour Co. (6000 Park Ave., 216-641-0765) is a little-known warehouse and distributor of bakery ingredients and products. The company’s product list is impressive, with literally dozens and dozens of different types and brands of all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, high-gluten flour, rye flour, cake and pastry flour, clear flour, patent and short-patent flour and organic flour. Minneapolis also stocks fresh, instant and active dry yeast, along with baking powder and soda.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Also available for purchase are dairy items like eggs, frozen egg whites, butter, cream cheese, milk powder and condensed milk. Chocolate comes in powders, chips, bars and drops. Nearly every conceivable fruit filling and flavored icing is just a phone call away. And if baking sounds too complicated, what with all the kneading, baking and cleaning, simply select from any number of frozen ready-to-bake breads, muffins, pies, donuts, cookies, pies, pie shells and batters.
Now for the caveat: As a wholesale supplier to larger bakeries, Minneapolis Flour Co. stocks and sells mostly large-size quantities. Flours come in 50-pound bags, yeast in 20-, 25- and 50-pound packs and, well, you get the picture.
Still, at prices of roughly $20 to $30 for a 50-pound sack of bread flour, how can you go wrong. Simply round up a few baking friends and go splitsies.
Interested shoppers can check out their product list below. (Mobile users might have to switch to desktop view to see PDF.) It is always best to call and place an order in advance, says a representative. And be aware that items do come and go. The warehouse is open for retail customer pick-up between noon and 5 p.m. on weekdays.