Where did affordable whole wheat flour go?
I have been buying Wheat Montana Whole Wheat flour for my bread making for years, but starting several months ago I can not find it at any of the stores that used to carry it. In fact they have no whole wheat flour of any brand.
So I switched to buying King Arthur whole wheat flour on line. Now it is suddenly unavailable. I ordered some from Amazon but it never came. It says it is "Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be in stock."
There are a few other brands available on line but they are much more expensive and/or only can be bought in very large quantities. I am not an elitist when it comes to making bread, and if I have pay to 4 times as much for whole flour as white bleached flour, I am not sure I want to continue making bread. What happened to affordable whole wheat flour?
Walmart. I don't shop there often, but Wheat Montana is always on the shelf. I've never seen that brand at another store.
I'm not sure what you mean by "affordable" wheat. I found regular whole wheat flour and white whole wheat (still whole wheat, just a soft wheat vs hard wheat) at my local Target. KA is $5.29 for 5lbs and store brand is $2.49. KA did raise their prices online to $6.29 though. KA All purpose flour is $4.79. So not much of a price difference there. You could always see if you have a local restaurant supply store if you go through a lot.
Walmart is showing KA whole wheat for $4.97/5lb
Target link: https://www.target.com/s?searchTerm=whole+wheat+flour If you buy online for pick up at the store, you pay the online price, not the in-store price.
I don't know what shipping is but here is the Webstaurant online shop to give you an idea of prices you might find for bulk: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/8935/bulk-flour.html?filter=type:whole-wheat
When you do a search on a Target or Walmart website, make sure you set the "Retailer" to Target or Walmart. They allow third-party sellers which jack up the price which then looks like Target is selling a bag of flour for $15, when it's not them, just a random 3rd party.
Otherwise you could look into purchasing wheat berries and getting a grinder. I believe some blenders even have a grinder attachment. Do NOT grind with the regular blade, unless you hate your blender. Quite a few people have their own grinder on here and can help you decide which one to get, if that's more your thing.
I just bought a few 5 lb bags yesterday from Meijer as linked below, they are always on sale in my area including from Kroger's and Walmart's.
King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, 5 lbs | Meijer
I don't know if is a local thing or not, but our 2 area Walmart's have not had Wheat Montana whole wheat for several months now, nor do I see any other brand of whole wheat flour. They have never carried KA. At Safeway, IGA and Rouseours, our other local stores here in rural Eastern Washington, I can find things like Red Mill for $15 per 5 lb. But I won't simply won't pay that much. We don't have Meijer, Target, Fred Meyers, or any of those relatively urban kind of stores within 50+ miles. Amazon doesn't have any affordable (under $5) 5 lb bags listed .
I went to Walmart online and they no longer list Wheat Montana Whole wheat in anything less than a 25 lb bag. They have 10 lb of KA whole wheat for $21 (a bit too much in quantity and price). They do list Hungarian whole wheat for $2.64 for 5 lb. It says it is in stock at my local store but it isn't nor have I ever seen it.
But I can buy several kinds of "all purpose" flour anywhere from $3 to $5 per 5 lb bag. But I have always used and preferred whole wheat flour in my home made bread. I have never tried white whole wheat flour. Maybe I will, I am not sure how it compares, or if I can find it either.
I am a bit perplexed. And I live in the middle of a major wheat growing area.
I prefer white whole wheat ( I buy the KA brand), but if you like the strong, almost bitter taste you get from RED, you might be disappointed as white whole wheat has a softer taste/feel.
I believe finding whole wheat flour for ≤$5 for 5 lb will be very difficult. I have noticed some online vendors of Wheat Montana have raised their prices significantly.
Our local employee-owned mega-grocery store that is cheaper than Walmart has KA for $5.79 for 5 lb. That's actually less than KA's list price, but still >$1/lb. This store does list Dakota Maid at $3.99 for 5 lb.
Other independent millers are all much more than $1/lb but haven't raised prices.
FWIW, despite your being in wheat country, ≈80% of Washington's wheat crop is soft white winter wheat. This mostly is used for cookies, cakes, and pastries. Most whole wheat flour for bread will be milled from hard red (spring or winter) or hard white wheat.
I don't really use WW all that much, but indeed, the price has doubled. That said, we still have plenty on the local shelves. There is Prairie Gold, which used to be on the expensive side, but now is cheaper than Gold Medal, we have store/IGA brand, Ceresota, KA - that's just of top of my head.
I have wondered the same thing, Sammy. The local Walmart used to carry Wheat Montana, but it has been gone for a long time. I just found some at Woodman’s Grocery in Bloomingdale, Illinois, but they only carry the white whole wheat (Prairie Gold) and the Wheat Montana All Purpose Flour. They don’t carry the red whole wheat (Bronze Chef). Woodman’s also carries Dakota Maid’s red whole wheat at a reasonable price, so I have been buying that.
If you want to feel better about the cost of whole wheat, but 3 lbs of Einkorn. I paid $16 for it and gasped when they told me the price. I bought it anyway because I wanted to make the 50% Einkorn recipe in Ken Forkish’s new book “Evolutions in Bread.” I am glad I did because it was delicious and I am even thinking of buying more. I figured that it doesn’t really cost more per loaf that what the bread in the store costs. Buying Einkorn flour makes the cost of other flour look good. Maybe I’ll come to my senses later.
Walmart got on keto/gf train a few years ago and the shelves were mostly cleared off regular flours.