Shipton Mill flours – problems solved…

I’ve groused a bit here about the softness of dough (lower protein content than I was used to), made from Shipton Mill flour, and the unpredictability thereof – not any more, though.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research of late, and one of the things I turned up is that very many pro bakers prefer a lower-protein flour than, say, the stuff you’d buy in the supermarket – which, of course, is what I’d been doing.

Shipton Mill 701 bread flour makes excellent bread, there’s no getting away from that, but it can be difficult to work with – the secret . . . read on at my Bread Blog

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Floury thoughts…

I’ve written before about some of the difficulties of making bread with Shipton Mill 701 flour (very soft dough with apparently weak gluten). Adding a proportion – typically 50% – of their No. 4 flour helps, but doesn’t cure the problem.

Anyway, some weeks ago they offered me some Swedish spring wheat flour. This makes a very soft, but tasty, loaf, but it is even softer to work than the 701.

I normally work with approximately 60% hydration which, for Continue reading

Chestnut bread…

As with my sourdough loaf, this is written in real time, as I’m making it. All flour is from Shipton Mill.

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250g organic strong white flour No. 701

250g organic chestnut flour**

3 tablespoons e-v olive oil

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

336ml, 60% hydration, you’ll need it all.

1 teaspoon yeast, made into a starter as usual – in a mug put 200ml lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon flour (before adding salt), and the yeast, stir vigorously until lump free and leave until frothing almost to the top of the mug.

½ teaspoon yeast added directly to the flour

** The chestnut flour is quite Continue reading

Blending flour to your own specification…

A few days ago, I ordered some more flour. As I’d got the hang of the slightly problematic Shipton Mill type 701 strong white flour (or so I thought), I decided I’d go with that again, because it does make very nice, very light, bread even, as with my current loaf, with a hefty freight of oat bran. And then a loaf I was just about to put in the oven collapsed as I slashed it. Bugger, I thought – or something…

I’d talked to Shipton Mill about the apparently low gluten content of the 701, and they said Continue reading

50% Oat Bread…

The Hovis Hearty Oats loaf is being touted as the first ever loaf to be made with 50% wholegrain oats and 50% white bread flour. Claiming something as the “first ever” is always reckless and often, as in this instance, totally wrong.

I made my first 50% oats, 50% white bread flour about Continue reading

Shipton Mill flour versus Doves Farm’s…

Prior to switching to Shipton Mill, I used Doves Farm flours for some years, and I was perfectly happy.

I switched to Shipton Mill mainly because of their extensive range of flours other than basic white, and because their strong white flour is described as untreated, whereas Dove’s Farm’s version contains statutory nutrients**, added in accordance with The Bread & Flour Regulations 1998: Calcium carbonate, Iron, Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and Niacin. It also contains vitamin C which, as far as I’m concerned, is unwanted. The 25kg bag has no vitamin C – so why foist it on the rest of us?

**As I’ve since been advised by Shipton Mill, so does theirs, against their will.

In addition, the Continue reading

An emmer loaf…

Emmer (Triticum dicoccum), is a seriously ancient form of wheat, its first recorded cultivation dating back to around  9,000 BC, in south-east Turkey. These days, it’s the grain known as farro in Italy, though it’s also grown in other countries. Wikipedia will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it.

The references to spelt in the Bible, are now known to be a mistranslation, and emmer is what was meant, as spelt was, geographically at least, very unlikely, while emmer was widely known throughout the historical Middle East and Mediterranean. Spelt, on the other hand, from its origins 5,000 years BC in Transcaucasia, moved westwards, and has always been primarily a European grain, before being carried to the Americas. (Pedant’s note – this is a simplification.)

Wikipedia also says, somewhat sniffily Continue reading

Some thoughts on Shipton Mill flour…

Since switching to Shipton Mill from Doves Farm flours, I’ve had to modify my recipes, particularly those based on unbleached strong white flour.

The Shipton Mill (SM) flour has a different texture to Doves Farm (DF), feeling more finely divided, with obvious fragments of bran, which was a bit disconcerting before I figured out what it was. It seems to have a higher moisture content, too – about 10% higher (or the flour reacts differently when hydrated, for whatever reason).

SM strong white is packaged in 2.5kg bags (compared to DF @ 1.5kg), and in a more robust paper sack. Presumably, that, along with Continue reading

First adventures with sourdough bread…

This is a blow by blow record of the making of the first loaf made with the sourdough culture described in this post.

The culture yielded 10 portions, one of which I retained, the rest were frozen. I mixed the remaining portion with 100ml lukewarm water, and 50g each dark rye flour and strong white flour, both stoneground organic, from Shipton Mill.

Within minutes it was bubbling away and, after a couple of hours, I put it in the fridge to keep for the following day, when I made a loaf with it to this recipe (I’m actually typing this as I go, so you’ll get real-time details of its progress). I kept a portion so I could see if one would work, rather than the two I suggested previously.

So, take Continue reading

Creating a sourdough culture…

I’ve read a lot about creating a sourdough culture from just flour and water, most methods are needlessly complicated, and one was plain wrong. In that one, you’re told to mix 70g flour and 100ml water together, cover with a centimetre of flour (to stop it going mouldy**), and wait until it started to bubble.

That’s actually far more flour than is in the mix it’s covering, and it will just suck the moisture out of it. In addition, as the stuff is buried under a thick layer of flour, you can’t see the sodding bubbles, so how can you tell if it’s working or not?

**If it’s going to work, it should do so long before it’ll go mouldy.

So I thought, sod it, I’ll try Continue reading