We use two main flours: FWP Matthews & Charlecote Mill
We love FWP Matthews flour. Love it.
The mill is owned and run by Paul and Graham Matthews the great, great grandsons of the founder Frederick William Powell Matthews.
Situated on the edge of the beautiful Cotswold hills in the village of Shipton under Wychwood their traditional mill produces a wide range of quality organic and conventional flours. They still use the original building that was completed in 1912 and source as much wheat locally as possible and then carefully blend it with other wheats to produce flour of the highest quality.
Here’s a bit about the milling process taken directly from their website:
“The production of our quality flours is only achieved by using the best quality wheats which are combined and blended, a task which requires great skill and experience by the miller. The process starts with the delivery of wheat to the mill. After weighing, the wheat is tested in our laboratory to ensure it is of the desired quality. Each consignment of wheat has random samples taken using a ‘spear’, a hollow rod which is inserted into the wheat in several places, to ensure that the representative samples are taken. In the laboratory each load of wheat is tested to ensure that it meets the required specifications: moisture levels, impurities, density of the grain, enzyme activity, protein content and quality. Any consignment of wheat failing to reach the rigid quality standard is rejected, as this would impair the quality of the flour. Before the milling process starts the wheat must first be cleaned. Magnets remove any ferrous metal objects, stones and other foreign objects are also removed. Currents of air remove the dust and chaff. Our new ‘colour sorter’ separates impurities from wheat by colour and so reducing the overall product waste and improving flour quality (especially stoneground and organic flours). FWP Matthews Ltd was one of the first flour mills in the UK to use this leading technology. The wheat is then ready for ‘conditioning’. Which is the dampening with water until the desired moisture levels are reached. This softens the outer layer of the wheat and helps release the ‘endosperm’, the white centre of the grain, from which flour is made. After conditioning the wheat is ready for gristing. This is the blending of different wheats needed to produce each specific flour. The grist is what gives each flour its own unique taste and characteristics. Milling is a gentle process of extracting as much as possible of the endosperm (starch) from the inside of the grain of wheat. This is achieved by passing the cleaned wheat through the ‘Break Rolls’ which are a series of fluted rollers rotating at different speeds. The rolls shear opens the grains of wheat separating the white inner portion from the outer skins. The particles of broken wheat grain are the separated by passing through a complex arrangement of sieves. The white particles of endosperm and semolina are then passed into a series of smooth rollers for their final milling into white flour. To ensure the quality of the flour is consistent it is tested at hourly intervals. It is at this stage that the bran and wheat germ will be ‘streamed’ back into the flour for the production of brown or wholemeal flour. Other additives such as baking powder for self-raising flours and other legally required additives (such as calcium, niacin, thiamine, folic acid, iron and B vitamins) are added at this stage. The final stage is for the flour to pass into the packaging plant or the bulk bins ready for distribution. FWP Matthews Ltd supplies flour in a variety of sizes from 1kg to 27 tonne loads. Our liveried lorries are a familiar sight all over the UK from Cornwall to Scotland and Essex to Wales.”
Perfect – wouldn’t you agree?
We also love the flour from Karl at Charlecote Mill.
Charlecote is not a museum occasionally grinding flour as many water and windmills now are. Charlecote is a piece of living working history and one of only a small handful of surviving commercial working watermills in the UK. Producing traditionally stoneground flours through French Burr Stones every weekday (when the water levels allow), the mill is a constant hive of activity but retains all the atmosphere and charm of a mill run in Victorian times. Most of the processes we use are as they would have been over 200 years ago and wherever possible grain is still sourced from local farms keeping our food miles to almost zero! Almost everything is done using the power of the two waterwheels, as it always was, and all of our products are hand finished and hand packed personally by Karl, the Miller. Mechanisation in a modern sense has never caught on at Charlecote; this truly is a place where time stands still and where quality and tradition blend perfectly to produce the unique Charlecote flours.