This is my friend Emma. We’ve been through some crazy adventures together, and I recently got to spend some time with her in her latest adventure: a family flour mill. She and her dad run the business, Hayden Flour Mills, using a fantastic Austrian mill to create unique, clean, local flours. I’m very much a supporter of local food, but I had never heard of anything like this before, and I must say I fell in LOVE with what they’re doing. And it’s obvious that they love it too.
They run the business from the back of this local (and amazing!) restaurant, Pane Bianco, where the fresh ingredients, creativity, and passion all add up to crazy good food.
And this is Marco Bianco, aka, Director of Dough Management for all of the Bianco restaurants (there are three of them). I have to say, he was a blast to hang out with, and his love for what he does is contagious. I had a new appreciation for dough, flour, and all things grain by the time I left!
The Austrian mill. As you can see, it’s made of wood, and the labels are in German. Somehow that makes the whole thing that much cooler…
This arrow indicates how closely the stones are set together, which helps determine how fine or coarse the final product will be.
The name of the business is Hayden Flour Mills, named after the historic Hayden Flour Mills founded in the city in the early 1870s. The original Hayden Flour Mills took locally-grown Arizona grain and made it into flour with a mill powered by the Salt River. Since then, flour milling has changed dramatically, and not in a good way. That’s why, in the spirit of the old mill, Emma and her dad have made it their work to once again mill local, heritage grains and make flour without bleaching, additives, and all the other things that have made their way into modern milling. I love it, I tell you.
This grain is a heritage, pre-industrial wheat called White Sonora, which Emma tells me was actually the first wheat in North America. Before milling, the grain is prepped by adding water and mixing it by hand (and by that I mean WITH hands) to increase the flour yield.
And lest you think milling is a simple, one-size-fits-all process, I can tell from just my short time that it is not. This is Emma and the miller confirming specifications for the different batches of various grains to be milled that day.
The finished flour is now used by about 20 local restaurants and a few stores, so I went with Emma for a couple deliveries.
This is another Bianco restaurant, called Italian Restaurant, which just recently opened. Much of the artwork, if not all of it, is by a member of the Bianco family.
And lastly, some of the final product, tantalizing passersby from the window at Italian Restaurant.
Thanks to Emma, Hayden Flour Mills, and Marco Bianco for an inspiring day! Let’s do it again soon!