Shipton Mill – “It’s all in the flour”
Let me ask you a question…Are you happy with your bread or flour purchases? Do you like artisan breads, organic produce, or know exactly what goes into your baking?
I have been rather underwhelmed for a number of years with my purchases of mass produced bread, tasting of little and for health reasons wanting to move away from preservatives, excess sugar and salt etc. For the last couple of years I’ve been making my own, with the aid of a bread-maker, looking to improve my recipes further on taste. No, I don’t think a bread-maker is a cheats way of making bread!
While on an Italian Cookery course in London at La Cucina Caldesi we were discussing flour and quality ingredients during a bread making class. Our chef and teacher Stefano Borella recommended I try UK based Shipton Mill at home.
The course has given me the confidence to make my own bread (when I have the time), so I recently purchased some flour, seeds and yeast to experiment with. Overnight, my family have noticed a huge improvement in flavour and texture using Shipton’s flour.
Until recently, I have been using a 50/50 mixed flour with seeds for a large loaf in the bread maker. I now use Shipton’s (50% finest baker’s white flour & 50% 3 malts and sunflower brown flour), along with several handfuls of mixed seeds; sesame and pumpkin. WOW, what a difference in taste. I was a little sceptical, using the same recipe, but different flour., but it does really taste amazing and the crust seems more pronounced. Now I can’t wait to get my hands stuck in!
My order consisted of their finest white flour, 3 seed brown flour, semolina, 00 pasta flour, fresh yeast (which I cut up and freeze until needed) and a seed only mix. It was tightly packaged in their branded box and YES, I am a real sucker for packaging.
The individually designed bags evokes UK tradition and history and a sense of quality, as if the master miller has personally ground the grains just for you. When you open a bag, the aroma is superb. It just has something that you don’t get with mass produced flour. Whether it is sat open for long periods or packaged differently, Shipton’s flour has that je nais se quoi and organically it saves you the magic.
When handling, the 3 malts and sunflower brown flour, it feels marginally heavier than other brown flour I am used to. This isn’t a negative, just a simple observation, but using a recipe on their website will ensure you have a perfect recipe as others having been using and perfected their cooking techniques. That all said, I have also used their baker’s finest white for Vetkoek (South African bread) and it was light and fluffy as you like. It is just getting used to the different styles of flour.
Prices at Shipton Mill start from £1.30 per kg for flour. Good value considering much of their range is organic and UK grown grain for many of their flours. Their range is not just limited to standard flour, as it extends to French, Italian flours, semolina, seed mixes and speciality flours. They do sell in bulk and wholesale with 25kg sacks. Don’t buy too much as you want to keep it fresh. Flour should be ok to store correctly, for up to 12 months.
I know the US and Canada have many local, independent mills and I would highly recommend that you consider moving away from mass produced grain and flour and buy it locally, as it really can change your baking and you will be rewarded with real flavour (and if you’re my age), that brings back memories of your Grandma’s baking.
It is our duty to support this industry and keep these mills producing organic products, using traditional methods.
Shipton Mill is based in Tetbury, Gloucestershire and provides a large selection of home delivered organic flour, seeds, yeast and other bread making utensils. Their website has a great number of recipes to try, whatever flour you may choose to purchase. They are from home bakers and some invaluable tips to achieving the perfect loaf! You can visit them at www.shipton-mill.com
My tip for storing flour is once the bag is open, put the contents in an airtight container to reduce the chance of flour getting moisture in it, storing in a dark and dry place.
Flour quality: Score 9/10
All my reviews on this site are impartial. I am not paid or receive any incentives to place reviews.
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