Milling at e5
At e5 we make our bread with as few ingredients as possible so it’s important to us to understand every step of where those ingredients come from. This in turn is partly why it’s always been a priority for us to use British flour in our baking as much as possible. However this can be hard task in the quantity we require.
This ideal led us to the idea of milling our own flour; not only to have more control over where the grains we use come from but to have access to flour milled on site at its freshest, giving us more flavoursome and nutritious bread.
We hope to form strong relationships with the farms providing our grains. Creating partnerships with famers so that we have in depth knowledge of growing conditions and soil treatment as well as having more information on the nutritional values of different types of grain in our breads.
In the past it’s been difficult for us to use solely British grains as they naturally have a much lower protein content, which is why there is so much imported grain from Canada and Kazakhstan. It is the protein content in the flour which gives the bread its strength and rise which is why our gilchester buns (made form 100% british flour) have much less volume than a Hackney Wild.
However, we’re determined to experiment with British varieties until we find the right combination to give us the results we want and stay true to our values.
Knowing that stone milling is essential for cold extraction of flour causing minimal damage to the vitamins and essential oils present in grains we contacted Austrian company Osttiroler Getreidemuhen. They have have been operating in the mill industry for 77 years and supplied us with a beautiful pine wood artisan stone mill with special cut stones to guarantee the best quality of flour.
Initially we contacted farmers from across Britain as well as France, Sweden and the Netherlands to get a variety of grain to experiment with. After trying many combinations our bakers found they were getting some nice results with a mix of paragon and amaretto grains, both grown in the UK, but they’re far from finished. We hope that in the future we can focus more on heritage varieties however this is something we’ll need to look to working towards as we develop partnerships with farmers.
Our next step is to improve our own knowledge by learning from the passionate farmers and millers we currently work with. Such as Andrew from Gilchesters Organic farm in Northumberland who has over 8 years of experience within organic crop research. Over the next months he has kindly agreed to share his years of experience in milling with us for some training. Keep your eyes peeled for further experimental breads for sampling in the bakehouse as we continue.