Not surprisingly, finding these varieties and getting to the point where there is enough flour to go round has been quite a story. How do you find the seed to revive and research these long-forgotten wheats? Read more about our grain research.
Scotland The Bread sells organic wheat and rye grain and flour, milled in small batches on a UK-unique Zentrofan mill. This cyclone mill processes our whole grains into cool, ultra-fine wholemeal flour, while preserving their higher-than-ordinary nutrient levels.
Grown on Balcaskie Estate in Fife, our traditional grains have been meticulously researched and chosen for their suitability for the Scottish growing conditions and climate, their biodiversity, their considerably higher levels of vitamins and minerals than conventional grains, and their exceptional flavour.
These qualities are increasingly sought after by enlightened bakers across the country, and we are encouraged by the recognition our flour is receiving from commercial Real Bread bakeries. We have collected some feedback, put together some top baking tips, and regularly update the list of bakeries who use our flour. Since it was launched in September 2017, ours has been the flour of choice for the overall winning loaf in the Scottish Bread Championship.
Nutrient Dense Flour
Our scientific testing has proven that Scotland The Bread’s flours are, on average, more nutrient-dense than most – if not all – commercial alternatives. Find out how we confirmed this information.
Nutrient-dense, biodiverse, organic wholemeal flour
We call our wheat grain ‘Balcaskie Landrace’ as an indication of our ambitions to create an increasingly diverse population of plants that adapt to the local soils and climate.
This is an evolution of work that has been going on for some years. In 2016, Scotland The Bread got started as a social enterprise by milling flour milled from three varieties of wheat that were common in Scotland in the 19th century – Rouge d’Ecosse, Golden Drop and Hunter’s.
These heritage wheats are more than a historical curiosity. Their superior nutritional profile and their suitability for agro-ecological farming make them a good starting point in our quest to select and develop bread grains that grow well in Scottish soils and can nourish healthy citizens while providing local farmers with a fair and reliable return.
Our ‘Evo’ rye flour is an evolutionary spring rye grown on at Balcaskie from Hans Larsson’s Fulltofta rye, developed in Sweden. ‘Evolutionary’ means that there is a high degree of genetic diversity in the crop (unlike in modern ‘monoclonal’ wheat varieties where every plant in a field is identical to the others). Read more about about our rye flour here.
Rouge d’Ecosse, Golden Drop and Hunter’s are all recognised in Slow Food International Ark of Taste, and are being registered as conservation varieties by SASA.
Read below for information on:
- how we rescued these wheats from international obscurity
- the special way we mill the flour for maximum freshness, flavour and nutrients
- what’s actually in these grains and how we found out
- how to bake the best of them
Scotland The Bread Heritage Flour
Our flour is milled to ensure maximum nutrient retention, keeping every part of the whole grain in the final product. But while wholemeal flour is usually quite coarse, we’re using an innovative ‘cyclone’ mill to produce a flour that retains all of the benefits of the whole grain without compromising on texture.
The grains are milled so finely that the resulting wholemeal flour feels as soft as white flour and is almost as easy to bake with. A real win-win.
The key to this is the cool-running Zentrofan is that it mills whole grains into very fine wholemeal flour, conserving all the important minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium etc), vitamins (especially the B vitamins such as folate) and phenolic compounds that are found in the outer bran layers of the grain. These are the bits that are almost entirely absent in white flour.
It’s a slow, small-scale process, which reduces the grain to fine particles without either heating it up by excessive abrasion (as can happen with stone milling) or stripping it of its vital nutrients (which is the main effect of producing white flour on industrial roller mills).
There is more detail about the mill and how it works here.
In addition to its great taste, Scotland The Bread’s flours are, on average, more nutrient-dense than most – if not all – commercial alternatives. Read more about our grain research.
Every bag of flour we sell comes with a summary of the mineral values for that variety on a label. We don’t know of any other flour being sold with this amount of information, though we hope other millers will follow suit so that bakers can choose and use flours that have more in them. Although we can be confident that we are on the right track to improve the nutrient density of Scottish bread-making wheat, we know that there is much more to do. This is why we are including well-researched high-mineral wheat varieties from Scandinavia into our growing programme.
This flour is special. Apart from its above-average mineral content, It has
- a full, satisfying flavour without the dry dustiness of some wholemeals
- gluten that is naturally softer, less stretchy and more extensible (and arguably more digestible) than in common breadmaking flours
Top tips for getting good results:
- Knead the dough gently and for less time than you have to when using a ‘strong’ flour
- Be patient and ferment your bread slowly (using sourdough) to develop flavour and digestibility
- If you’re struggling to get a longed-for lightness, sieve the flour to remove some of the bran or add a portion (up to 25%) of a ‘strong’ flour