Baia Pasta is made by two ingredients, water and flour. Oakland is home to the nation’s cleanest tap water, from the Mokelumne River, on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. This area is mostly national forest, and undeveloped lands little affected by human activity. The Mokelumne watershed collects snowmelt from Alpine, Amador and Calaveras counties. We’re oh so lucky…
With flours though, choice is not so straight forward. Parameters like protein content, flavor, color, elasticity, and fineness are all key to craft great pasta. It took us 3-4 months to select the right flours to extrude our pasta back in 2010 and we still test different producers to this day. All flours are organic and from US, grown near the Rocky Mountains mostly from Utah and Montana but also from Washington, North Dakota and we’re still experimenting with California growers to have our own wheat. Our providers are now Central Milling and Montana Flour and Grains.
Mum’s the word: our biggest dream is to be able to have our own wheat and being able to mill it as well….
Durum wheat was developed by artificial selection of the domesticated emmer wheat strains formerly grown in Central Europe and the Near East around 7000 B.C., that developed a naked, free-threshing form. Durum in Latin means “hard”, and the species is the hardest of all wheats. Its high protein content, as well as its strength, make durum perfect for the production of pastasciutta. In fact, Italian law requires that all dry pasta is made exclusively by durum flour, or semolina, as a guarantee that consumers get the real deal.
Our organic durum wheat flour comes predominantly from the Rocky Mountains region of the US (Montana and, in minor quantities, Colorado and Utah) and is a blend of different flours. The grain is milled finely to allow a consistent extrusion. The extraction rate we ask to our miller is much higher than average (70% instead of 60-65%) in order to have a semolina richer in nutrients and minerals. Hence, the flavor of the semolina, exalted by our slow-drying and cold water kneading techniques, is deeper and more complex.
WHOLE DURUM WHEAT
Our organic whole durum wheat flour comes predominantly from the Rocky Mountains region of the US (Montana and, in minor quantities, Colorado and Utah) and is a blend of different flours. We use a semi-refined “semolato” of durum wheat (around 80-85%), that allows the full, earthy flavor of the whole grain to come through without the harsh bitterness and texture associated with whole wheat.
The word “whole” refers to the fact that all of the grain (germ and endosperm) is used and nothing is lost in the process of making the flour. This is in contrast to white, refined flours that contain only the endosperm–the internal part of the grain–which is rich in starches and proteins. Because the whole flour contains the remains of all of the grain, it has a more textured, brownish appearance.
Spelt is a wheat species known from genetic evidence to have originated as a hybrid of a domesticated wheat such as emmer wheat and the wild goat-grass Aegilops tauschii. The official name of spelt is Triticum aestivum var. spelta. Spelt was originally grown in Iran around 5000 to 6000 B.C. It has been grown in Europe for over 300 years, and spelt has been grown in North America for just over 100 years. Spelt has gained popularity as a dietary grain due to its nutty flavor, high protein and nutrition content. Spelt contains about 57.9 percent carbohydrates (excluding 9.2 percent fibre), 17.0 percent protein and 3.0 percent fat, as well as dietary minerals and vitamins. Because spelt contains gluten, it is not suitable for people with celiac disease. Nonetheless, many other people with allergies or intolerances to common wheat can tolerate spelt. It also has high water solubility, so its nutrients are easily absorbed by the body.
Our spelt pasta, mostly from Washington State and Montana, is made with an organic flour characterized by an extraction rate at the mill of about 85%. This means that that the flour still contains some of the fibers and minerals you would generally find in whole grain flours. The pasta has all the nutty, complex flavor of spelt, without having the bitter finish typical of whole wheat flours. The color of the flour is lightly brown and has a very pleasant texture when extruded.
Our whole spelt flour, mostly from Washington State and Montana, is characterized by an extraction rate at the mill close to 98% . This means that the flour maintains all the fibers and nutrients of the whole grain. Bold and absolutely tasty, this pasta has all the nutty, complex flavor of spelt, with the classic grassy and brambly flavor tones of a whole gain. The color of the flour is dark brown and the noodles are very toothsome when cooked.
Khorasan wheat is a heritage grain that has not been modified or hybridized through modern breeding practices. It is a suitable choice for those who are sensitive to modern wheat varieties. Our whole Khorasan wheat pasta has a beautiful amber color, a smooth texture, a buttery, nutty flavor, and plenty of fiber. Thanks to its lower tannin content, it has none of the bitterness of whole grains. Khorasan is known to be more digestible than modern wheat varieties, has a more complete nutritional profile, and also contains more proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals.