Firebird Artisan Mills Leverages Quinoa Power (and Some Serious Skill)

It’s no surprise to Firebird Artisan Mills that the humble quinoa seed is now a menu and ingredient staple in restaurants and groceries. Firebird has been working with pulses for nearly a decade.

“Not only are pulses a good source of protein,” says Chris Krenzel, Firebird’s director of sales, “they’re also high in antioxidants, an excellent source of fiber and chock full of good things like iron and potassium.” According to the Global Pulse Confederation, one cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and 16 grams of fiber.

“Growers love pulses because they’re resilient and don’t need much in the way of fertilizer or irrigation. We love them because they’re mild-flavored, versatile and pack a nutritious punch. They work in everything from pasta and flour blends to snack bars and cereals,” added Krenzel.

Firebird’s experience milling ancient grain and pulse products means customers can trust they understand the importance of particle size to a recipe’s success. Applications that need a more elastic dough and lighter texture call for a flour with a smaller particle size. For gluten-free flours, without the gluten proteins binding, structure, elasticity and water absorption, this means a smaller particle size can help provide more surface area for liquid to interact with the grain’s natural proteins.

In the past, poor water absorption by gluten-free flours have delivered flat, dense products with a sandy texture. For some bakers, adding liquid, supplementing starch or gum in the mix and providing additional resting time for the dough solves the issue. But for many, these accommodations aren’t enough.

Reducing granulation size creates additional surface space on the grain particle, which allows more water to interact with the natural proteins of gluten-free grains. If you use a coarsely ground flour with a recipe intended to produce a delicate cake, you will likely not get the results you want, particularly if your flour has a high protein content. Flours with higher protein content will absorb more water, so a fine flour with a high protein content needs additional liquid in the recipe.