The flour and the bread.
All starts with two things: Flour, and Water.
Most of our bakers, even the classy artisan ones, use homogeneous flour. Flour, and before that grain, even if it is organic, has traveled from Kastakstan or another part of Russia. Imagine all the inputs – farm machinery and transport; tractor, lorry, boat, lorry, roller mill. The people, to run these machines, to sell the grain and flour, blah blah… believe me theres a lot. Wheat grain is the most traded food source in the world ‘Wheat… set record volume in 2016, at 31 million contracts traded’ (http://openmarkets.cmegroup.com/11931/grain-futures-contracts-revolutionized-finance) and this activity generated billions in revenue during such trades.
The other major constituent of bread is Water. Our bakery uses a filter to take out a lot of the stuff that is put in it to make it ‘safe’. We’d love to collect rain water, as this is the most pure, or to collect some from one of the various wells around here in South Devon. We are on a quest to do this. In the mean time…
we are tackling the flour and grain part of the bread. Our mill is housed a few doors down form the bakery and is now providing the flour for our, soon to reintroduced, Wholemeal loaf. The loaf will be 50 to 70% of our flour; the grain comes from the UK, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon, Cumbria. It travels by road to us, we mill it ,and I carry it down to the bakery. Its pretty simple and the bread tastes great!! Being a bit of a puritan I am growing our own heritage population of grain and attempting to harvest it by hand this will then be loaded onto a trailer and wheeled 100 yards over to the mill… but this, being four years in, is proving difficult. Hopefully 2018 will be the year I crack the puritan way. In the meantime Shillingford and Dartington farms are growing heritage wheat for me, and alongside this i’m buying wheat from other farmers around Europe and the UK – I want to find the finest sourdough bread making grain i can that will grow well in Devon and the South West – who, if my plans come together, I will visit and learn from their experiences.
I’m selling fresh flour – and thats worth it’s weight in gold – from the Mill. Pop over and we can have a chat.