Our story began with a quest for a good loaf of bread, the crusty, artisan type we had eaten in Europe. Unable to find a good loaf of bread, Darrold began baking, seeking to make a great loaf of whole wheat bread, but for the first six months we saw most of the bread go in the trash as hard, tasteless inedible door stops. After looking into the cause of our bad bread issues we decided the flour we were using may be at play, and Darrold began fresh milling, which made a big difference in his baking.
We soon found ourselves sourcing grain so we could know their origins and selling our freshly milled flour at farmers markets to other eager home bakers. However, just when we started this journey into the heights freshly baked bread, Darrold hit a low. Once very active, he was becoming increasingly achy and lethargic with new symptoms every few months. He had sinus problems, headaches and a myriad of intestinal issues including gastric reflux so bad he slept nearly sitting upright for a year. He saw numerous doctors who prescribed and suggested numerous pills, but to not avail. Darrold’s symptoms became so debilitating that he was spending most of his time in bed. We reached out to specialist and experts, but gained no further understanding of his malady. It wasn’t until after an evening out gorging on family-sized Italian pasta dishes that Darrold’s symptoms hit a peak and we began to consider that gluten intolerance might be the culprit.
We went gluten-free that day and within two days Darrold felt better, and within two months he was back to his old self. However, after becoming so accustomed to freshly baked homemade bread we struggled to eat gluten-free substitutes. Like our favorite Julia Child quote says, it just tasted like… Kleenex. The more we ate gluten-free, the more we noted the long list of ingredients: added sugar, gums, and other additives that seemed very unhealthy. As Darrold delved into the issue of gluten intolerance, he discovered that modern wheat is very different from the heritage wheat we ate growing up before the green revolution of the 1950’s, which developed high-yielding, modern wheat. We tried several varieties but found when it came to bread, Turkey Red and White Sonora were our favorites. They baked and tasted amazing and Darrold could eat them without getting sick.
Even for myself who had no expectations of making the change to heritage wheat, I found that within a few months of into switching my joint pain subsided and I was able to stop taking a prescribed medication for joint pain. After five years of not being able to knit, I was also able to pick up my needles and resume this activity which had always brought me joy.
And so began our new mission to bring heritage wheat to the masses. It has been a long journey to make our vision become a reality, but we have met some of the most amazing bakers and bread lovers along the way. Over the years we have been astounded at how many other “gluten-free” people have found they too can eat and digest heritage wheat. We still sell at farmers markets, but you can also now find us online, various co-ops, and in many amazing restaurants around the Twin Cities and surrounding areas.
We are passionate about flour… something many people find boring, it’s not sexy like truffles or fine wine. Wheat is fascinating though. There is so much to discover and we are not only continually learning from other industry professionals, but also from our customers who know and use our products. Wheat is the foundation of almost every baked good, and better flour makes you a better baker. If you find yourself struggling through gluten- intolerance and miss the flavor and comfort of hot out of the oven muffins, fresh flipped flap jacks, or crusty bread with your soup, we ask you to consider heritage wheat, and feel confident that with Sunrise Flour Mill you will get the very best.