During my bread week, I introduced a flour in my Honey White Bread called Heckers that some people have never used. I wanted to describe my personal experience using Heckers, and how it came about that I discovered flour love at the point of discovery.
Quite frankly, the discovery was by accident. I had seen the bag of Heckers at our local A&P store and had passed it up in favor of something cheaper having no idea what a difference it could make in my baking. NEVER again will I let that happen. Heckers was on sale that day. It was unbleached. That was good enough for me at that moment.
When I brought the flour home, I didn’t realize how much it would change the way I baked. I used to have separate containers for bread flour and regular flour, but now, I have ONE flour for both my regular baking and bread baking. Cookies I have baked have turned out fabulous. Bread rises high and looks beautiful. I never realized there was a difference in flour until that day.
Not everyone may have Heckers at their store right now, but if you happen to spot a bag, bring it home with you and give it a try! Although, you could always take a trip to New York, and ship it back home for a great baking experience.
I spoke with Wes Feshenfeld of Heckers wanting to know why this flour made such a difference in my baking, and was stunned to find out that this flour that’s distributed to major cities is a family operated business. Even more exciting was that the first mill was built near where I live in the Hudson Valley! I foresee great things to come with Heckers, so make sure you follow them on Facebook so you don’t miss out. Here’s the rundown that Wes shared, and I hope you enjoy the Heckers’ story:
First, the Heckers brand has been around since 1843 making it one of the oldest grocery brands in the US. This brand was started by two brothers from England; George and John Hecker. They built their first mill in Croton, on the Hudson River, just north of New York City. George Hecker was actually the first to create a Self-Rising flour and he was awarded the “First Premium” medal for outstanding advancement in food technology at the 1851 at World’s Fair in London.
Through decades of industry consolidation the Heckers brand was acquired by Standard Milling Company which eventually became known as the Uhlmann Company. The Uhlmann Company is a third generation family owned business located in Kansas City that prides itself on their unique flour brands. The Uhlmann Company also owns the Ceresota brand of flour in the Chicago market. Ceresota’ s history is much like that of the Heckers brand. It started in 1891 and was eventually acquired by the Uhlmann Company. It is as uniquely sought after in the Chicago market as Heckers is in New York.
The Uhlmann Company has dedicated itself to using the best grains and milling practices available. Our loyal consumers have consistently told us that our flour is the best for baking because of its high protein content and it’s unbleached qualities. When it comes to milling the best flour, we believe that less is more. This means no chemicals, bleaching agents and absolutely no bromates. The resulting flour maintains the ideal baking characteristics that George and John Hecker set out to produce in the mid 1840’s. Our flour is milled in Kansas where a good portion of the US’s Hard Winter Wheat is grown. Our flour is milled with this wheat variety because of its high protein content. Although its costs carry a premium, our consumers can readily appreciate the difference in their baking activities.
A large portion of our consumers grew up with Heckers in the cupboard and they can vividly remember their grandmother or mother baking with it at a very early age. Consequently, they have indicated that when it comes to baking for their family, they will only use Heckers flour. We pride ourselves on being able to provide this heritage to the current and upcoming baking generations. We like to think that our flour provides more than just high quality baking results.
Our website: www.heckersceresota.com