• Caitlin Booker

Flour from Stone

The global lockdown brought out everyone’s inner baker. We started simply with cookies, but progressed fast into bread making. #homemadebread became a daily occurrence. Not surprising as making bread is wonderfully therapeutic.

The rise of the bread making resulted in a national shortage of flour in almost every locked down country. Personally in the Vaal it was almost impossible to get hold of standard roller mill flour, and completely impossible to get hold of stone ground flour. This got in the way of some serious bread making as I prefer to only use stone ground flour.

Why do I prefer stone ground to roller mill?

The first reason is that stone ground, unbleached flour is a lot less processed. The brand I love (and stock) Millstone has no GMOs, no preservatives, no additives, and is GMOs free. It’s pure wheat, or rye in the case of the rye flour. Being less processed, especially not being chemically bleached is important to me as, well who really wants to add bleaching chemicals even in trace amounts to their food?

Secondly, stone ground flour is considered to have more nutritional value than that of roller mill flours. This is due to the wheat not being stripped of the germ & the bran before being milled. High quality stone ground flours contain the germ, and the bran of the wheat giving them a higher fibre and nutrition content.

Thirdly, flavour, flavour, flavour and one more time for the kids at the back - FLAVOUR! The bran and germ of wheat contains the majority of the flavour. By not stripping it this flavour is brought into the finer ground flours. Meaning tastier baked goods.

Lastly, from personal experience I find that the bread has a much better structure when made with stone ground flavour than roller mill. This is most likely due to the stone ground flour not being as finely ground as roller mill. As well as the germ of the wheat contains slightly more protein, giving the gluten more to feed off.

That being said, many will ask why doughs made from stone ground flours don’t rise as much, or as fast as their counter parts made from roller mill? This is due to the bran in stone ground flour acting like a tiny obstacle that the gluten has to develop around. The bran is also the reason that cakes made from stone ground flour are slightly denser than those made from roller mill. Which to me is great thing as the cakes stay moister for longer. And who doesn’t want longer lasting cake?

If all these reasons of why stone ground flour is just better doesn't convince you to make the switch, I’ll give a few more fun facts about it. Stone ground flour is usually produced in smaller batches, giving it artisanal characteristics as well as allowing for higher quality flour. The smaller batches means that the flour is fresher, often made to order. Meaning the flour spends little to no time sitting in a warehouse. Most stone ground brands are small, family run companies. Now more than ever we need to support small business where possible.

Fun Fact! The Covid-19 crisis, led to a baking spree and flour shortage in the UK. Which made a really amazing thing happen. One of the oldest recorded stone mills, Sturminster Newton Mill in Dorset which is recorded in Domesday Book of 1086, resumed commercial production. A fun thing to go visit when this Covid vibe is done.

With Love,

The Gourmet Hippo

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