Baking bread with Stanway Flour
BAKING BREAD WITH STANWAY FLOUR
Why Stanway flour bakes such good bread
Stanway flour contains wheat and nothing else. It is milled from Solstice wheat grown on the Stanway Estate less than a mile from the mill.
Most bread you buy in the shops contains additives and chemicals to “improve” it, which in fact debase its taste. The texture and flavour of bread made with Stanway flour evokes memories of how bread used to be. Children and young people love it. What’s more, if kept in cool, dry conditions it actually lasts longer than modern supermarket loaves.
Our different flours and their characteristics
Stanway Mill produces four distinct grades of strong, high protein flour using a mechanical grader powered by the waterwheel. When the flour leaves the millstones, still slightly warm from the grinding, it can either fall straight into a paper bag as wholemeal flour or, by moving a flap, it can be directed to the grader, a giant sieve, where the different sized particles are separated. The bran will not pass through the sieve and is given to cattle or horses.
Wholemeal is, as the name implies, exactly that –the whole grain, straight from the millstones, full of all the goodness of the grain, with nothing removed, with a rich, slightly malty flavour, giving a robust texture to bread and rolls, delicious with cheese, cold meats, honey, or toasted with marmalade for breakfast.
Finest Sifted The silky texture of our finest flour forms an elastic dough which when stretched becomes almost translucent. It bakes into a pale coloured loaf with a rich tan crust, perfect for sandwiches, and it can be used for delicious pizza bases, and is similar in particle size to Italian 00 grade flour.
Fine Sifted A little coarser than the finest, this bakes into a hefty loaf for the perfect ploughman’s lunch, or sprinkled with sesame seed makes a truly wonderful burger bap. Similar in particle size to 0 grade, this makes an ideal general purpose flour for everyday baking.
Semolina Literally “semi mulina” or half milled, this has a finer granular texture and a pronounced nutty flavour. Not to be confused with the pudding your mother used to make with milk and served with a dollop of jam, this is a very tasty flour that can be used to make pasta, or added to your favourite bread recipe to produce a nutty crust.
These flours can of course be mixed afterwards to suit individual preferences.
It is possible to produce bread using Wholemeal flour only, but more commonly a mixture of equal quantities of Wholemeal and Fine Sifted is found to give better results. Several local bakers produce wonderful bread using this combination.
For further information a visit to the Real Bread Campaign website is strongly recommended. Here is a portal to the world of real bread, covering every aspect of what is an enormous and fascinating subject.
Why other flours are not the same
All flour (except wholemeal flour) sold in the United Kingdom is required by law to contain four additives to the basic product.
These additives, namely calcium carbonate (chalk), iron, thiamin and nicotinic acid are deemed necessary partly because, apart from chalk which is added for enrichment purposes, the complex modern milling operation removes some of the naturally occurring other three ingredients.
In addition, a raft of other additives such as processing aids, artificial additives, flour “improvers”, dough conditioners, preservatives and chemical leavening are introduced by the modern day bakeries to enhance the appearance, flavour, texture and usability of their products.
Incidentally, as things stand now, none of the additives have legally to be listed on the wrapping of the product, so consumers can be totally unaware of what they are actually eating.
Soda Bread A simple quick dense nutty bread. Just add butter!
- 225g Stanway Wholemeal flour
- 225g Stanway Finest Sifted flour
- 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 25g butter
- 320ml semi-skimmed milk
- 70ml water
In a large bowl, mix flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Melt butter gently in a saucepan, then add milk and water. Heat until bubbles start to appear. Add slowly to flour mixture, stirring constantly. When thoroughly mixed, turn onto a greased baking tin and bake in the centre of an oven at 200C for 25 minutes. Allow to cool on a grid.
Basic real bread
- 250g Stanway Wholemeal flour
- 250g Stanway Finest Sifted flour
- 340g hand warm water (about 25 deg C)
- 10g fresh yeast or 5g dried active yeast
- 10g salt
- 1 tsp oil or butter (for baking tray)
Dissolve salt in the water in a jug. Put flour in a bowl, crumble yeast in and rub into flour. Add liquid and stir with fingers or spoon. Cover bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Work the dough by stretching and folding it over itself until smooth and stretchy. Put dough back in bowl, cover with cloth and leave for approx 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Oil a baking tray. Wet the work surface and hands and scrape dough out of bowl. Press gently until it forms a square then pull each corner in turn into the centre and press in the middle to make them stick. Flick the ball over, tuck in any corners and round with your hands until it forms a smooth ball. Place dough on baking tray and cover with mixing bowl. Leave to prove for approx 1 hour. Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 230C. Uncover dough, dust with flour and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 200C, continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes. Remove loaf and allow to cool.