After five years’ work in growing and research, social business Scotland The Bread has released for sale Scotland’s first ever nutrient-dense heritage flour.
More than 900,000 tonnes of wheat was grown in Scotland in 2017, enough to make all the bread we consume six times over. Instead, grain was imported to mill for breadmaking flour, using the home-grown crop as animal feed, biofuel and to make alcohol.
Scotland The Bread is a project working to establish a Scottish flour and bread supply that is healthy, equitable, locally controlled and sustainable. Based on an organic farm in the Scottish Borders, Scotland The Bread conducts research into the nutrient content of a range of breadmaking grains and supports community groups to grow and mill their own grain to bake with.
The project has stocks of three 19th century Scottish wheat varieties that have been bulked up over the past five years from tiny samples in gene banks round the world (see below for details of each). Having successfully completed growing trials and conducted research that shows these heritage grains have higher levels of several important minerals than ordinary flour, Scotland The Bread is now able to sell fresh, wholemeal flour ground from Scottish heritage wheat. Home and community bakers can purchase this from their online shop.
In addition to committing to high-nutrient grains, Scotland The Bread is trialling a radical new way of producing this wholemeal flour using innovative milling technology. This decentralises flour production while conserving nutrients that are wastefully discarded in conventional systems. Further, years of expertise in handling softer, lower-gluten grain (without additives and processing aids) will be communicated in recipes, techniques and baking methods that explain both why the grains are so good (for the digestion as much as the biosphere) and how to get the best out of them.
Our heritage wheats:
Rouge d’Ecosse: this wheat was imported from Eastern Scotland in the 1800s by the French seedsman Vilmorin, who gave it the name by which it has been known ever since. It is probably descended from the ancient British landrace Blood Red. This flour has already boarded the Ark of Taste, the international project created by Slow Food to save foods at risk of extinction.
Golden Drop: this brown winter wheat was widely grown in Scotland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and is possibly a synonym for Rouge d’Ecosse. It is probably descended from the ancient British landrace Blood Red.
Hunter’s: this light coloured wheat became a favourite of farmers, millers and bakers alike. It is descended from a single plant found around 1810 by Mr Hunter of Dunbar growing by the wayside of Coldingham Muir in Berwickshire.
More about Scotland The Bread
An innovative social business setting a whole new agenda for cereal research and public health, the project started in 2012 under the wing of Bread Matters, and is run by Real Bread Campaign co-founder Andrew Whitley and his wife Veronica Burke. A successful community share offer allowed the Bread For Good Community Benefit Society to launch in April 2016, trading under the name ‘Scotland The Bread’. Its members are working to re-establish a supply of nutritious Scottish-grown grain, milled close to home and used to make wholesome, slowly-fermented bread that everyone can enjoy.
Scotland The Bread offers anyone the opportunity to become a member of the Society by buying shares or signing up as a supporter for priority updates. See below for a special seasonal offer on membership.
Credited with leading the UK’s revival in artisan baking, Andrew Whitley first gained recognition in the 1970s as founder of the organic Village Bakery in Cumbria, where he used English wheat and wood-fired ovens. In 2002 he took an MSc in Food Policy at City University London, and since 2010 has been based on five acres of organic agroforestry at Macbiehill in the Scottish Borders.
In 2008 Andrew co-founded the UK’s Real Bread Campaign, and in 2011 received the Special Judges’ Award at the BBC Food & Farming Awards for ‘changing the way we think about bread’. He is the author of Bread Matters (Fourth Estate, 2006/2009) and of DO Sourdough (2014), and is a former vice-chair of the Soil Association.
Special Membership Offer: during winter 2017-18, if you spend £75 or more on shares in Bread for Good Community Benefit Society (instead of a minimum £100), you will be entitled to a £20 voucher to spend on freshly milled heritage wheat flour or grain or a stone mill to grind your own.