Fall in Normandie, France brings Pain Normande. This bread  is a specialty of the region showcasing the apples that have just come back from harvest. Bakers will either use some of the local “hard” or alcoholic cider, or fresh cider. Oftentimes, they will use fresh cider that has just begun to go off or turn sour believing that it helps with fermentation. Continue reading

Maine Grains Sifted Rustic

There’s a new miller in the house and we couldn’t be more excited! Not only are we able to showcase more and more whole grains and sifted flours, but all the flour and grain comes from the state of Maine. Considering most flour comes from the Midwest this is such a cool turn of events for us at Seven Stars. More New England flour… So exciting.


The Oatmeal bread from last month was about 75% grain from Maine Grains with the sifted and the rolled oats themselves. This months bread will be 100% sifted maine grains wheat flour in a rustic loaf similar to Integrale from several months ago. The big difference is that it will be be 100% sifted flour at 86% extraction and it will be sourdough.


A word on “sifted”, “bolted” or “high extraction” flour. For years, we didn’t have access to this special type of flour. It seems that more small mills are starting to get on the band wagon, and its great to see! Whole wheat would be considered 100% extraction, so this flour has 14% of the whole removed, mostly the larger bits of bran. What is left is a flour that lies somewhere in between whole wheat and white flour, however, unlike white flour it has all the oils that would not be present in a traditionally milled white flour on a roller mill. The higher the extraction, the whiter it becomes. This particular flour is closer to whole wheat than white.



Maine Grains Sifted (86%) wheat flour (Magog)



Click picture for larger image. Crumb picture for Michael Bernier next week:)

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Maine Grains Oatmeal Bread

                                                  MAINE GRAINS OATMEAL BREAD


We were introduced to Maine Grains at last years Kneading Conference in Skowhegan, Maine and were impressed with the flour being produced, as well as the tasty rolled oats! The heart of Maine Grains is the Somerset Grist Mill also in Skowhegan. The goal of Maine Grains is to create a sustainable local grain economy, and they are doing an amazing job.


The mill sources grains solely from Maine farmers, then mills them into different flours and a variety of different oat products including cracked, quick cooking and more traditional rolled oats. I figured using the oats in a simple naturally leavened French style Pain au Levain would make for a nice, hearty loaf, with lots of whole grain. Their sifted wheat flour is also used generously.


Maine Grains Oatmeal bread will be available for the month of September on Thursday afternoons.

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Sir Galahad All Purpose Flour

Maine Grains Sifted wheat flour

Maine Grains Rolled Oats



Dave Miller and Whole Kamut

                                    Dave Miller and  Whole Kamut


I recently took a trip back to my home state of California to visit some old friends and bakeries. Dave Miller is a bit of a legend in the small world of bread in the US, and I knew that this journey should start at his bakery, Millers Bakehouse, outside of Chico, Ca. Dave’s bakery is unique, in that he’s a one man show that supplies whole grain bread and pasta to the lucky few at the Saturday farmers market in Chico. His breads are all naturally leavened, and with exception of one bread, all 100% whole grain, meaning no white flour! Not only that, but he mills all the flour for his breads on his mill in “real time”. Ie:, as he’s mixing! It doesn’t get any fresher than that, and it shows in his bread. He wants his bread to taste like the grain, and I’ve never had such “fresh” tasting bread in my life.

Dave’s mill

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Watching Dave work was quite an experience and even several months later, I’m still remembering little tidbits from the visit. I’ve never seen someone take such care in his bread. He’s a true craftsman, focused on bread and milling grain into flour. Every step of his 2 day long production is a step that makes up the sum of all parts. After spending so many years managing others, and growing bakeries, he’s created a system and a lifestyle that works for him, and I admire him greatly for that.


I could never do Dave Miller justice in the same way that MC has. I’d wanted to visit Dave for years, but it was her blog post that made me finally decide it was time. Read her post here for more about Dave, his bread, his llamas and goats and the life he’s built for himself in Yankee Hill, Ca.


Of all the breads Dave is famous for, the one I wanted to try the most was his 100% Kamut bread, made with freshly milled whole Kamut flour, sourdough, water and salt. Kamut is an Ancient grain that is related to Durum wheat. It has the same yellow color as durum, but is even sweeter and produces very light tasting whole grain bread, with a unique flavor. His Kamut bread has the density of a 100% whole grain bread, but its remarkable how mild tasting it is.

Dave’s Kamut

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This months bread is a tribute to Dave. 100% whole Kamut. Unfortunately, it isn’t freshly milled Kamut. I don’t have a mill. Yet. The organic Whole Kamut flour comes from Milanaise in Quebec. I’ve found that this bread improves greatly on day 2. I suggest purchasing the bread on Thurs and tasting it, but save it for Friday. It becomes sweeter, milder and makes a really great grilled cheese!

Our kamut bread

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Whole organic Kamut Flour





                                                           Spelt Bread


This months bread is Spelt. Spelt is considered one of the Ancient Grains with the earliest reference to it found in the Bible. It’s a type of wheat, but many people find it more agreeable to their digestion than more common types of wheat.


In addition to both white and whole spelt, the bread will have whole Spelt berries. This bread is 100% Spelt

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Whole Spelt

White Spelt

Whole Spelt berries