The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My version of Hovis

qahtan's picture

My version of Hovis

 My basic white loaf with 2 cups home milled w/w replacing 2 cups white flour, with 1 teaspoon malt added. qahtanA 2 pound loaf.

dougal's picture

Qahtan, that's a nice looking loaf (where'dya get the tin?) BUT ...

... the USP of Hovis isn't malt. Its wheatgerm.

And specifically, more wheatgerm than a normal loaf can manage.

Much more wheatgerm than in wholemeal flour. (Which would normally make for a gummy unattractive bread.)

The wheatgerm is pre-cooked somehow with salt (in a patented process, using steam) and the salt plus cooked wheatgerm is then blended back into the flour to make Hovis-branded flour.

Note the injunction to add no more salt when baking with Hovis patent flour! (There have been recent moves to reduce the salt content, on health grounds.)  

By 1826 wholemeal bread, eaten by the military and commoners, was recommended as being healthier than the white bread eaten by aristocracy. But wholemeal soured quickly. In 1886 Richard "Stoney" Smith, a third generation flour miller in Staffordshire, England, separated the germ from the flour, lightly cooked it in steam, added a little salt and returned it to the flour. None of the nutritional value of the wheat germ was lost and it produced a tasty brown loaf, long lasting and rich in vitamins. This process was patented in 1887 as "Smith's Patent Germ Flour," and in 1890 Herbert Grime, in response to a national competition calling for a better brand name, came up with Hovis, a derivative of the Latin "hominis vis" meaning "the strength of man". Hovis Bread-Flour Company Limited was formed in 1898 and began marketing and selling their product across Britain. Bakeries using their flour carried the Hovis sign and tea shops carried the slogan "Teas with Hovis".

Can anyone find any more detail about the process? (And surely the patents would have expired by now?)


I don't know the origins of the belief that "Hovis" means "malt".

And sadly, I don't know any means of replicating the patented process for those in places where the patent cooked-wheatgerm-enriched flour is unavailable. (Anyone?)

That loaf certainly does look the part though!

qahtan's picture

Yes you are right, real Hovis does carry a lot of wheatgerm in it.

 I have tried many different ideas for it, but this is so far the best looking,;-)))

 Two one pound tins were given me by a kind soul on another list, they were

old and well used, But with my husbands elbow grease they now look like new.

The loaf in picture is baked in one of two 2 pound tins I bought from an antique shop

in UK. qahtan

They are for my own enjoyment as I know I am not allowed to sell any breads baked in the tins