Wholemeal Flour Milled At Daniels Mill
The flour now milled at Daniels Mill is 100% stone ground & wholemeal (100% of the grain is used) and we use locally sourced wheat.
Wheat has to be of a particluar quality & hardness to produce good flour of baking. Our flour is ideal for bread making.
Catherines Bakery in Bridgnorth (formerly Whitneys) sells loaves of bread every day made from our flour.
This is available to purchase at the gift shop, as well as recipes to bake your own sponge sandwiches, fruit cake, scones and more. It is also sold direct to the public, and through the wholefood shop :
- Maximum Health, St Marys Street, Bridgnorth.
- Bridgnorth Delicatessan, High Street, Bridgnorth.
- Apley Farm Shop, Stockton Buildings, Norton, nr Bridgnorth.
- Morville Heath Farm Shop, Morville Heath, nr Bridgnorth
Wheat To Flour
Daniels Mill obtains its wheat for flour making from local farmers in south east Shropshire. The surrounding countryside is an area of nitrogen enriched clay soil that is so perfect for the growing of wheat that it is known as ‘The Wheatlands’.
Strong flour for bread making is produced from a variety of wheat grown locally that has a high protein content. Hard wheats generally contain smaller kernels and are harder than soft kernels and contain higher protein and gluten levels. However, depending on the grain variety and growing conditions, hard wheats can have vastly different protein levels. A traditional or experienced miller can test wheat by biting it and/or rolling it between the palms of his hands to ensure optimum flour quality.
At Daniels Mill we only produce traditional 100% stoneground wholemeal flour – using the whole grain to make flour ensures all the goodness and natural flavour of the wheat germ is retained. Wheat germ, along with the bran, is normally removed from commercially produced flours as only 75% of the wheat grain is used.
The Milling Process
Before it can be milled, grain is first screened and cleaned to remove debris and wheat stalk (chaff) which may come through from the harvesting process. This is done by tumbling the grain through wire meshes. The resultant cleaned wheat is known as ‘grist’ and this is stored on the garner floor of the mill until it is ready for milling.
The cleaned wheat (grist) is fed into large wooden hoppers, or tuns, which sit above the millstones. A pair of millstones is needed to grind the wheat into flour. The bottom, or bed stone, remains static whilst the top, or runner stone, turns by waterpower. When the waterwheel is engaged, and the top millstone starts to turn, wheat is released in a trickle into the centre, or eye, of the top millstone. The amount of grain that is released is governed by the action of the damsel. Centuries ago grain would have been fed into the stone by hand – often this was the job of a young girl, or damsel.
Centrifugal action forces the grains of wheat slowly but steadily between the faces of the two stones which are marked in a special way, until the grain eventually emerges at the outer edge of the stones crushed into a fine flour.
The surface of a millstone is cut, or dressed, in a concentric pattern of grooves, or furroughs. The miller uses a tool called a billet to etch increasingly fine channels along which the grain travels getting increasingly finer in texture.
On reaching the edge of the stone the flour trickles down into a collecting shute from where it falls down through the floor into a bag or hopper beneath.
Bagged flour is then attached to a sack hoist, again worked by waterpower off the main shaft, and lifted up to the top floor of the mill ready for dispatch to baker or retailer.
The most effective grain for bread making is wheat. It tastes good - nutty with no bitterness - and it performs consistently well. An ear of wheat has all the ingredients for a good loaf: starch for bulk to feed the yeast and to turn a golden brown during cooking; germ to give essential fats and oils which enhance breads nutritional value; bran to help our digestive systems; and gluten which allows bread to stretch and rise
What differentiates bread flour from flour more suited to making cakes and biscuits is the gluten content. Gluten is a protein present in all wheat in varying amounts. Wheat grown in hot, dry summers in a short season will have a higher gluten content. These wheat’s are known as hard or strong. The high gluten content will ensure an extensive and even rise and a lighter loaf
Wholemeal flour is ground on a traditional millstone it is and made from the whole grain of the wheat, from which nothing is extracted and to which nothing is added. This is the type of flour ground at Daniels Mill.
Bran is the outside layer of the grain of wheat – often this is sieved out to produce a lighter coloured finer flour
Granary flour - This is a combination of 80% - 90% whole-wheat flour and malted wheat or barley flour. Malted wheat or barley has been allowed to start to germinate, thus releasing some of the sugars locked up in the germ. The result is a bread that has a characteristic sweet nutty flavour, much favoured by many people
Protein & Gluten – the link:
The amount and type of protein in flour affects the final product. The wheat proteins responsible for developing bread’s characteristic structure are gliadin and glutenin. When water is added to the flour these hydrate to form gluten. This is a strong elastic substance which forms a network throughout the dough. The network traps carbon dioxide, produced by the added yeast and allows the dough to rise. The process of kneading dough helps develop the gluten network. Fat and sugar can inhibit gluten development, but salt and ascorbic acid help it.
In products such as cakes, biscuits and pastry, flour with a lower protein content is mixed with fat to produce a crumbly and light texture
Gluten-free flour: Flour made from barley, rye and oats all have very low gluten content but it is hard to make a palatable risen bread so loaves tend to be heavy
Other flours with a low gluten content are used in a variety of ways: Oatmeal from oats make the flat bannocks seen in the north & Scotland; cornmeal from maize is used to make the Italian Polenta; chickpea flour is used to make chapattis; soya & rice flours are used as additives or enrichers to wheat based flour.