Self-sustainability takes on a different meaning for the home-baker. It’s comparatively easy to grow tomatoes on your windowsill, but unless you’ve ponied over the $300 for an electric home mill (or don't mind the cramping from hand-cranked ones), and have access to fields and fields of the right kind of grain, farm-to-table flour might sound impossible. It's sad, too, that L.A.’s former grain mills, Pasadena’s El Molino Viejo and Downtown’s Capitol Milling, now attract curious tourists rather than serious bakers.
A new grain mill in Pasadena hopes to remedy this missing link in our local food chain. Billing itself as the first mill in Los Angeles since 1902 to sell freshly-milled organic flour, Grist & Toll is a collaboration between bakers Nan Kohler and Marti Noxon, and inspired by California’s rich history in wheat and the pair’s serendipitous meeting in Paris. Following the mill’s opening this month, Kohler and Noxon promise to offer both wholesale, locally planted, and imported heirloom grains for area restaurants, as well as small batch flours for home-bakers. Follow Grist & Toll on Facebook to see delicious looking pastries and breads made with their flour.
Grist & Toll’s specialty flour — ground using an Austrian stone mill (pictured above) to preserve the grains’ flavor profiles, vitamins, and minerals, reportedly long lost in California — is a welcome addition to L.A.'s increasingly sustainable food system.
Grist & Toll, 990 S. Arroyo Parkway #1, Pasadena, gristandtoll.com.