BREAD Talk: Nan Kohler of Grist & Toll

Boy oh boy, I have been waiting for this interview for quite some time! Waiting with anticipation because Grist & Toll happens to be the very place that I go to every week to buy my freshly milled grains.  In fact, it is the only flour that I will use now.  The quality is so high, that I have become spoiled and simply cannot use any of the other (insert negative unworldly word here). I know, I know, I have only been baking for less than a year, so one might ask how I could even compare it to anything else.  Let’s just say I tried to folks and the results were incredible.  Not only did Grist & Toll’s flour shine in the texture, crust, and crumb department, but the flavors were so much more delicate and remarkable that now I tell my friends, “Once you go Grist & Toll, you never go back!”

Nan Kohler, the co-owner of Grist & Toll was kind enough to sit down with me and tell me how it all began.  I have had the privilege of getting to know Nan since I am buying flour at her mill so often.  She is an all-around incredible human being, charismatic and personable, and super knowledgeable about grains and where they come from. It’s so refreshing to talk to her. Her passion is contagious! She is my second BREAD Talk interviewee, and I look forward to many more!


For the first part of the interview, I asked Nan all about the history of Grist & Toll.  Why an urban flour mill?  Here’s what she said:

I can certainly relate to her desire to use the best ingredients.  I feel the same way. In Chinese Medicine, it is drilled into us students all the time: the digestive tract is the foundation of good health and so, if we eat food that doesn’t sustain us or that has no “life” in it, so to speak, we won’t be living up to our healthiest potential. And really, let me be honest and say, we will just feel like crap.

Nan continues this conversation in the next part of the interview.  She mentions a particular food writer and whole grain activist, Amy Halloran.  I never heard of Ms. Halloran, but I was pleasantly surprised to read about her work here .  

It brings such a smile to my face that nobody questioned Nan’s idea and that her idea was 100% supported. I have some dreams of my own that sometimes I shy away from…Let this interview be just one more reiteration to follow those passions, to voice those dreams.

In part 3, we take it one more step further in understanding more in detail how Nan has created a relationship with the farmers. Living the majority of my life in larger cities, I have been so far removed from knowing where my food actually comes from. So sad, but true. It is so important to begin creating relationships with the people who grow our food.  Even if we start with only 10 or 20% of what we eat.  It makes a difference to our health, to our environment, to our carbon footprint; whether a meat eater, pescatarian, vegetarian, or otherwise. Awareness is the key. 

We concluded the interview with the obvious question that so many of us are wanting to know: Where will Grist & Toll be in 5 years?  Might there be more classes offered? What other types of grain might we bakers and chefs be able to get our hands on?! Inquiring minds! 


So, there you have it folks! I hope you enjoyed listening and reading all about Grist & Toll as much as I did interviewing Nan. You can get more info, including where to purchase some of her incredibly fresh-milled flour at

Until next time, Happy and Healthy Baking!!

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