Partially in response to idle time spent in quarantine, American households have become re-obsessed with baking. In 2020 especially, this baking boom put strain on the flour supply chain, but one brand thrived: King Arthur Flour.
On this episode of Dan Does, host Daniel Geneen visits a farm that King Arthur Flour sources wheat from to see how it’s harvested, milled, tested for quality, and packaged.
At Ag Land and Cattle in Hereford, Texas, Geneen follows lifelong farmer Andrew Gee as he harvests the last of this year’s wheat crops.
Gee explains that it’s been a terrible wheat year, saying, “Our plant is not as high, the head is not as big, it doesn’t have as many glumes across. It’s been so terribly dry here.”
Despite the poor yield, Gee still has a job to do. He harvests the wheat using a combine, which separates the head of the wheat from the rest of the crop. The goal is to cut low enough to collect as much grain as possible but not so low that it damages the land.
“You want to leave residue, because residue holds moisture,” says Gee.
In the combine, the wheat heads are conveyed to the under the carriage where it’s broken down. From there, a series of grates and fans separate the grains from the beards and stems of the wheat. The grains stay inside the combine until Gee moves it into a hopper to transport it to the mill where its ground into flour.
Gee feels honored that his wheat is used by the lauded brand and so therefore so many bakers.
Watch the full video to also see how King Arthur quality tests their flour and packages it to go out to the public.