We've always been bread makers (by hand, never in a machine), making not just wholemeal but a huge variety of different breads. In north Norfolk we lived a couple of kilometres away from Letheringsett Mill, a water mill restored to working order and flour production by Mike Thurlow; we bought as well from Adrian Colman at Garboldisham Windmill a bit farther south, from Maud Foster Mill in Boston and from Caudwell's Mill near Rowsley in the Peak District, close to where I used to live. All milled organic flours and were excellent; if I had to pick my favourite it might just be Maud Foster (sorry Mike!). But it was always a bit of a challenge finding out where the grain was grown - all the millers claim to use 'locally grown' grain, but they buy from their suppliers, who buy from their (bigger) suppliers .... and so on. It's bizarre, and rather sad - all the wheat that grows across East Anglia tends to disappear down farm tracks in huge lorries, never to be heard of again, at least by name.
So, when two of the guests who'd booked a holiday with us in July turned out to be organic growers AND millers and asked me if I wanted them to bring any flour with them, you just couldn't hold me down ...... enter Andrew and Leonie Workman, from Dunany Farm near Drogheda in County Louth, Ireland where their farm is surrounded on 3 sides by the Irish Sea. And apart from being Jolly Nice People, they also make flour which I reckon is the best yet: fine wholemeal, coarse wholemeal, spelt and rye. Have you ever stuck your nose into a bag of real flour that was milled just a few days beforehand? Bliss.
We soon got stuck in. The bread is exactly what I've been craving: a gorgeous, nutty, golden crust, with a rich, sweet and moist crumb. It would fly at the market in St Girons ..... The spelt flour makes wonderful breakfast breads - we've used it so far for courgette and banana loaves, and various muffins - as well as pastry. And next up, as soon as I remember to buy some buttermilk, I'm going to be trying out Leonie's recipe for soda bread - watch this space!
|Wholemeal loaves, 30% coarse, 70% fine|
|Look at that gorgeous crumb ...|
|Banana, spelt and seed breakfast bread|
|Lovely moist texture|
Just got to work out now how to import Andrew and Leonie, and their land, and probably the Irish Sea as well, to the Ariège :)
Actually we are hoping that enough people here will be interested in buying their flour that we can organise an occasional bulk pallet delivery - so if you're local, and you are, give me a shout. If you're in the UK and would like to see a local shop stocking their flour, give them a shout - they're currently looking for some UK outlets. Their contact details are here: http://www.organic-trust.org/members/detail/dunany_flour; they're on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/dunany.flour. And say I sent you!