Milling Around: an Update from our Miller-Manager Connie

As we head closer to the year’s end we are reflecting on how the milling operation here at Bowhouse has changed over 2019. When we first started we were cleaning and milling 25kg sacks of a grain one a time, using our small grain cleaner. The first great improvement we made was to get the remaining grain grown at Mungoswells cleaned for us, and for all the 2018 Balcaskie grain to also be cleaned. This has saved us a lot of time! We also took on Clément (from Langoustine the Box) as a part-time Assistant Miller back in May, who has been a great help. In July we had the mill ‘upgraded’ to be able to mill 125kg at a time, which has again increased our efficiency a great deal. The latest development which is keeping us busy is the amalgamation of the Bread Matters and Scotland The Bread online shops.

Zentrofan mill in actionWe learn more about how the mill functions every day: milling 125kg at once throws up new challenges that we hadn’t yet had to face. For example, the wheat was grown in fields where beans were grown the previous year for the fertility they bring in an organic system. However, small segments of broken beans occasionally show up in the grain, which cumulatively can clog up the inside of the mill over the course of a 125kg run. Longer runs also give more time and opportunity for moisture to build up which can also clog the inner workings of the mill, and rye seems particularly prone to this given its sticky nature. We’re constantly learning and growing from these fresh challenges!

The next big development will be milling a blend of the different varieties. We will first be milling a blend of Hunter’s and Golden Drop from the 2018 harvest, as we are running down our stocks of Rouge d’Ecosse much quicker than the other two. Our 2019 harvest is of the three different varieties grown together as a ‘Balcaskie Landrace’. This will save time switching between different varieties, and means we can start approaching new customers. If you have any suggestions of bakeries that you think might be interested in trying our flour please do let me know at connie.hunter@scotlandthebread.org

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