Why you can’t find flour at grocery stores, and where to buy it online


These are unprecedented times during the coronavirus pandemic. As we blazed into the new year, who would have imagined we’d be willing to trade our kingdoms for ordinary household essentials like toilet paper, flour and yeast? Fortunately, toilet paper is making a comeback. And you can still make yeast when it’s sold out at the store.

But from coast to coast, home cooks are still wondering where they can buy flour.

In the case of toilet paper, the scarcity was caused by hoarding and panic buying. But the flour shortage, according to Matt Cox, vice president of marketing at Bob’s Red Mill, is merely a case of increased demand.

So many folks have been taking up baking since the pandemic, whether to relieve stress, for entertainment, or out of purely practical need,” Cox told HuffPost. “As a result of this surging trend, staple baking ingredients like flour and yeast may be hard to come by.”

Carey Underwood, director of mission-driven partnerships and programs at King Arthur Flour, also attributed the scarcity to demand.

“Despite how it may seem, there is actually plenty of flour ― just high demand with the dramatic increase in home baking,” Underwood said. “People who used to bake a few times a month are now baking a few times per week.”

Both Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur’s Flour say they are increasing production and expect to have flour back on the shelves soon. In the meantime, they still have specialty flours available. And there are plenty of places to buy all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour online if you know where to look.

We’ve done the legwork and rounded them up for you here:

Wauneta Roller Mills in Wauneta, Nebraska, has been in business since 1925 and is the last family-owned roller mill in the state. They have bleached and unbleached baking flour in stock and ready to ship.

Anson Mills in Columbia, South Carolina, specializes in organic, heirloom grains and takes the guesswork out of baking by packaging flours for specific uses. They offer flours for everything from waffles to flatbreads. At present, they have French Mediterranean white bread flour, colonial-style artisan whole grain wheat flour and more, available by the pound.

Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon, prides itself on being an employee-owned company. Though the website is sold out of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour at the moment, they still have specialty flours, including paleo baking flour, brown rice flour and coconut flour.

Hayden Flour Mills In Queens Creek, Arizona, is family-owned and grown and has a number of flours in stock, including white Sonora all-purpose flour and artisan bread flour. They also have instant dried yeast.

Community Grains in Oakland, California, works with a group of farmers to grow and mill its grain. At present they have two flours available, including hard red winter wheat milled flour. The flour can be purchased on its own or in gift boxes with extra goodies like bread and dried pasta.

Great River Organic Milling in Cochran, Wisconsin, uses natural granite stones to mill a variety of whole-grain flours, available to purchase on Amazon. Depending on the amount of baking you do, you might want to split the purchase with a friend, since most of their flours are available in 25-pound packages. Current stock includes stone ground whole wheat pastry flour and organic buckwheat flour.

Janie’s Mill in Ashkum, Illinois, is run by a family of fifth-generation farmers using certified organic and regenerative practices. They currently have many kinds of flour, including all-purpose.

North Dakota Mill in Grand Forks, North Dakota, has been milling flour for almost 100 years and has all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and bread flour in stock and ready to ship.

King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont, is working to get whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour back in stock. In the meantime, they have a variety of specialty flours available online, including buckwheat flour, Italian-style flour and potato flour.

Sunrise Flour Mill in North Branch, Minnesota, uses renewed technology from the 1930s to mill organic, single-source heritage flours. They have a wide variety of flours in stock, including turkey red heritage white flour and ultra-fine heritage whole wheat flour.

Old Mill of Guilfordin Oak Ridge, North Carolina, has been producing natural, stone-ground, whole-grain foods for over 240 years. They have several flours available on their website, including regular and self-rising white all-purpose flour and 100% whole wheat pastry flour.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.