Special producers, special flour
One of the most important things that sets my bread apart from others is the incredible flours that I am able to use.
What makes them so special? All of my flour comes from two family-run, traditional mills in England: Gilchesters in Northumberland and Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire. They share a passion for protecting the health of the soil and the environment, supporting sustainable farming, using heritage and rare grains and promoting genetic diversity.
Kinder to our bodies
Almost all of my flours are stoneground from whole grains. Only a very small percentage of flour in the UK is now processed in this way. Using two large millstones, the whole of the grain berry, including the bran and the germ, is slowly ground into small particles which remain combined to produce a creamy, soft flour. This careful process gently warms the grain but does not toast it and the resulting flour retains all of the natural oils, minerals and vitamins from the grain. The fibre particles remain larger in stoneground flour, which means that the process of absorption of those particles into the body is slower, reducing the sugar absorption rate from the carbohydrates, which is in turn kinder to our bodies.
My "white" flour is unbleached, and retains its natural creamy-caramel colour when baked and all of my other flours are milled to leave the maximum natural colour, texture and goodness possible.
All of the flour that I use is organic. This is very important to me, such that I prioritise it over the distance I have to travel to get the flour I work with. Organic farmers are severely restricted in their use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. This means that fewer of these nasties can make our way into our food, the environment is protected and more wildlife is able to flourish. Read more about why I believe organic ingredients are important here.
What does all of this mean for the bread that I bake?
It means that each loaf packs the natural, rich flavour and aromas of those fresh whole grains. The flour is loaded with fibre, natural oils, vitamins and minerals which are good for your body. The bran particles in the flour are larger, which result in a slightly more toothsome, moist crumb than your average supermarket loaf. Combined with the natural, slow fermentation process that I use, breads made with these flours are also kind to your tummy and easy to digest.