The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Balchedre Watermill Flour alternative ?

Ejay's picture
Ejay

Balchedre Watermill Flour alternative ?

I have really enjoyed working with  the Organic, stoneground, unbleached,Strong white bread flour from Balchedre  Watermill  in Wales.  I love its extensibility , and how smooth it becomes, even when mixed with wholemeal. I normally work with 70 % hydration formula and Slap & Fold kneading. (I can happily let it prove for long time too). I love that there are no flour improvers or suchlike added, except those compulsory by law. I have also found the texture just right and a lovely nutty taste. 
I had started off using a very well known (in UK) flour company, which is relatively cheap and okay quality, but I don't like the additives they use in  both yeast and flour, and was glad to finish my stockpile of it, and be able to support a smaller,  British miller. 
Unfortunately Amazon just cancelled my subscription/regular delivery. A hunt online doesn't reveal much other than mill went on sale in 2014, and company finally dissolved last December. The websites who recommended this brand in various articles, seem to have no mention of the closure. There are some stockists still, but obviously they are selling off final bags. So I need to find a replacement. I had been planning to change to buying sacks of this flour.
Does anyone know of a flour with similar qualities , perhaps you used it yourself and have a new favourite ?  I will certainly keep experimenting with different flours , but had hoped to make this my regular everyday supply, so would be really glad to find a similar flour, preferably supporting UK farms and mills.


aroma's picture
aroma

...Bacheldre Rye flour from Waitrose.  It is often hard to get as it seems to go out of stock regularly.  I reckon they manufacture in batches and when they're sold, they're unobtainable for a while.  I use Waitrose Very Strong white bread flour for my white loaves and it is fine.  Allison's seemed ok as well.

If Bacheldre ceased trading in 2014, I doubt there would be any available now.  

Ejay's picture
Ejay

You misunderstood, the mill originally went up for sale in 2014. The company was dissolved in December last year. The mill and land is up for sale currently, at 1.5 million. I don't know if someone is running the mill in the meantime, there seems to be no info online other than companies house saying the original company is dissolved. The flour that is hardest to get, being sold at inflated prices now by those who still have it in stock, is the plain unbleached strong white.

I don't like Allinsons because of the additives .

aroma's picture
aroma

I must have found some of the last rye flour at Waitrose then - shame.

Ejay's picture
Ejay

It is. I find it a lovely easy to work dough in my standard lean loaf and pan de mie. I just can find no info regarding current mill use, other than the facebook page and website have gone and mill is for sale. They seem to be marketing the campsite as a selling point more than the mill itself though. I don't buy lottery tickets, but if I did..... 
I don't have a local waitrose, but I understand their own brand is made by Marriages , so I may give that a go too. I have been in touch with a localish company, Mungoswells who farm and mill onsite, so on payday I will attend a local shop which sells everything  including flour loose, as they are a stockist and give it a go. 

liz grieve's picture
liz grieve

Hi Ejay

Mungoswells wholemeal flour is stoneground but I understand the white flour is rolled milled Have you tried Scotland the Bread flour its just wholemeal milled from heritage wheat grown  snd milled in Fife. Bowhouse is a food place that holds fsrmers markets monthly. Its really nice flour There is also GILCHESTERS flour wheat grown and milled in Northumberland. 

Shipton Mill flour is available online with a great selection  and delivery is free over £30 Bakery BIts sells alot of different flours from UK mills and available online They too have a great website including everything you need to make bread.  Happy Baking. I too live in Scotland Btw there is an event on 24th November at Bowhouse  called Common grains.  It's an event to connect farmers Miller's bakers scientists and crofters. 

albacore's picture
albacore

It sounds good Liz - a kind of a Northern hemisphere mini Grainz 2019?

Lance

liz grieve's picture
liz grieve

Hi Lance

I am sure it will be a great day a bit like UK grain lab last year too Have you watched any of the grainz you tube videos I have watched some but still have some to watch. Rosie the girl who is organising the event has said there has been a really good response Andrew Whitely mills flour at Bowhouse the wheat is grown locally there.

albacore's picture
albacore

A bit too far for me Liz, but I'm sure it will be a great day.

So far I've watched Ian's Schrot bread demo from Grainz. I must try and watch some more stuff.

It did inspire me to bake the Black Hamster which uses some Schrot and whole grains!

Lance

Ejay's picture
Ejay

Sorry I've taken so long to reply.
I have ordered some Gilchesters , along with the Bioreal yeast I use, from Bakery Bits. 
I  also paid a visit to  Locavore, a  social enterprise that grows organic fruit/veg and sells them loose , alongside proper free range eggs and other organic produce and environmentally responsible products , in a shop that is not too far from me , and we tend to pass by it once a week en route to piano lessons anyway.

I just took along a container and filled it up with some Mungoswells flour.  I have made a selection of loaves now, found the strong white absorbs a fair wee bit o water, is soft and fine and same colour as Balchedre's strong white. The one difference I noted, although whether it is down to flour or not  I cannot be certain, was better oven spring, and as I fordotted to use foil, I ended up with a couple of well fired loaves , lol. 

(I only have a tabletop oven , as main oven is a convection /microwave, which turns on top element high  as boost when temp falls, so no good for baking but fine for meals. However that will be another post soon, looking for recommendations of baking oven suitable for domestic use.)

 I talked with shop  owners and they are now supplying me with sacks of flour at a very good price.  I will keep trying other flours, but glad to have found a regular supply supporting two local businesses.  We will need to start visiting markets at weekends , but I do need a new folding electric wheelchair.  So it may be summer again before I can realistically do it, but Bowhouse will certainly be added to list . I had seen the Scotland the Bread website and intend trying the heritage grains they sell, but really need the strong white as well as wholemeal. 

Ejay's picture
Ejay

I have just emailed common grains to get more info,  and see if it is possible for us  to attend.