The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Apprentice Milling Job Opening at Historic British Windmill

Crider's picture

Apprentice Milling Job Opening at Historic British Windmill

This is something I'd throw away my present career for if I was British and I was younger.


We are looking for a General Assistant to help Mervin in all aspects of milling and baking.
Must be keen to learn all aspects of working in a traditional windmill. Must be fit. Will be trained in the workings of the windmill and will assist the miller/baker – this will include lifting wheat bags weighing up to 50kg, milling, cleaning, bagging the flour. Will also be expected to help in the bakery as well as general site maintenance and other duties as required. 

National Minimum Wage during training period - no previous experience necessary - full training will be given - permanent job.

40 hours a week – 9.00 am 5.30 pm – Tuesday to Saturday –

Must be flexible regarding working hours as milling takes place when the wind is blowing hard – difficult to plan in advance!

Own transport would be an advantage. 

 in Kirton-in-Lindsey may not be easily available. 
Scunthorpe is the closest town – 8 miles away. Please check accomodation before requesting interview if not local.

This is at Mount Pleasant Windmill, Lincolnshire. 

lumos's picture

I live in Britain but there's no way I can lift a bag weighing more than my own weight!  It'd would have been lovely to have a working windmill like that in my local area, though. ;)

Thanks for the interesting info, Crider. How did you find it?



Crider's picture

I happened to read a funny article about the 50-year anniversary of the Chorleywood Process for manufacturing bread, and on the sidebar was a timeline called the 20th Century of the history of bread. In that was a mention of something I'd never heard of before, the National Loaf which was made during World War II. 

That sent me looking for more info about the national loaf, and I found a lot of information, but not a satisfactory recipe. That lead me somehow to find out about brown flour, which led me to Mount Pleasant's site because they sell a brown flour. It seems not all brown flour is the same!

I'm still working up a recipe for a national loaf and have home-milled my own 85% extraction flour and will use potato flour for the filler.


Daisy_A's picture

Hi Criker.

Good to hear about another working windmill in the Midlands regions - thanks. Wow - sounds great that permanent employment is being offered but that also sounds like one tough job ...

Re. the British national loaf and heritage grains: One archived version of the National Loaf formula is held by the Imperial War Museum and referenced on the thread below: Recently contemporary bakers on the TV programme Back to the High Street tried to make this but it was very salty. Don't know if this is the version you have come across?

There is some very interesting research on the types of bread baked and grains (including non-wheat grains), used historically in the different regions of the UK prior to industrialisation in E. J. T. COLLINS Dietary Change and Cereal Consumptionin Britain in the Nineteenth Century, which should be available on this link:

You may have read about this but the Oxford Bread Group, John Letts and affiliated farmers and millers have been growing and grinding heritage British wheats, recovered from wheat used for thatching? Seems that the heritage wheats are still relatively strong but have some of the softness and creaminess of French-style wheats. It seems the OBG is trying to get wider distribution for the flour. Very much look forward to that if it happens! [Think it would be top for baguettes as well as hearth loaves - hi lumos!]There is a report on the baking and eating qualities by renowned Australian baker John Downes on the blog below:

Kind regards, Daisy_A

Crider's picture

the one about 19th century grain consumption. I've also seen the article on before. I hope interest in the heritage wheat varieties takes off in the UK.

I've seen that national loaf recipe, but it uses wholemeal rather than wheatmeal, or high-extraction flour, at the mix of 75% wheat and potato flour at 25%, which I understand is outside of the specifications. The most authoritive article I've seen is this National Loaf article on A few key points are:

A ban on commercial, pure white bread production came into effect on 6 April 1942. The regulations stated that 75% of the wheat flour in a loaf of bread had to be of 85% extraction (the rest of the wheat flour could be regular white wheat flour), that the bread had to be sold unwrapped, and unsliced, that the bread could only be sold the day after it was made, not on the day of, and that the official legal size of a loaf of bread was reduced from 16oz to 14 oz.

The addition of non-wheat flours came later.

And indeed, by 1943, up to 10% of the ingredients could be barley flour, or a mixture of barley flour and oat flour. Potato flour was also allowed by the summer of 1943:

"Apart from yeast, salt, and the various improvers which are the recognised adjuncts of bread baking, the permitted ingredients of National Flour for making the present National loaf are wheat flour of 85 per cent extraction, imported white flour, oat products, barley, rye, milk powder and calcium in the proportions authorised. In addition the baker may use potatoes and potato flour as permitted in the Bread (Control and Maximum Prices) Order, 1943. No modification of these arrangements is under consideration at the present time."
That quote was from Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, according to the footnote in the article.I think I'm going to try doing a loaf with 75% high-extraction (85% extraction) flour, 10% potato flour, and 15% white flour. Should be an easy bake and a tasty loaf. Maybe I'll even let it sit for a day unwrapped before I eat it!
Daisy_A's picture

Hi Crider,

Many thanks for the message. It all makes interesting reading, doesn't it? As stated Imperial War Museum recipe is one snapshot in a whole process, Good for the archives though and interesting how the war effort led to a focus on the documentation of food practice, as much documentation of earlier British practice has been lost.

Cooksinfo article is very interesting, thank you. 

I looked into this in detail at one time and read some of the Annals of Parliament that are available online, like this the one below. Online British Medical Journal copies were quite interesting, also, as there was quite a lot of debate among physicians about the impact on health and on what would happen if white bread regained popularity. A bit different to Govnt. priorities which were also about freeing up ships!

I would be really interested to hear how the loaf turns out. 

With best wishes, Daisy

PS Sincere apologies for misreading your name - think I have it right now.