This Sunday I am really excited to have our first workshop on breadmaking and against all odds as it is the middle of summer and everyone is on holiday, it is sold out. And to say that this pleases me is no understatement – not from the sold out point of view, though this is great! – it is the fact that making bread is something people want to get to grips with and the trend towards wanting to make your own is on the rise (pardon the pun!).
Coming from Vermont, a state which prides itself on being a bit different in our thinking, there is an affinity to doing things by hand. And if you can’t do it by hand, you support the small business that does. A few months ago, knowing that the Breadmaking workshop was taking shape and that its addition to our schedule was imminent, I decided to take a visit to Wessex Mill , located in Wantage, Oxfordshire, which is one of the few mills left in the UK that produces small batch flours from (mainly) UK sourced farms. Not only did I want a workshop that introduced people to the art of making bread (and thanks to Vegi Table for coming up with the goods), I wanted to avoid using mass produced flour as that just didn’t sit right with the Vermonter in me. So one Saturday, I prodded my family to come with me to see what the mill was about – and we all fell in love with it.
When we arrived, the fork lift was loading an order into one of their vans. They were nice enough to stop the loading (yes, that pallet above my husband’s head was the one that was waiting to be loaded) and let us in to their tiny shop. As you can see from the expression on my son’s faces – they thought that was just great.
The shop really is tiny and stacked up all around you are the different flours that they mill – this is just a small selection that you can see.
It was a bit how scary how much flour I could have bought on that day….my magic moment was when I was looking at the various flours, I said to my husband, “do you think we should try the Mediterranean flour mix?” and from behind the desk, the man that had been watching the frenzied activity of five curious people. reached around from behind him and produced a cutting board with a freshly cut loaf of Mediterranean flour bread.
We all looked at each other and burst out laughing while we reached for our samples (some of us more than once..ahem).
We still don’t know if it was just coincidence that we happened to pick the one flour they happened to have made their bread from that day….but needless to say, we were sold. You wouldn’t get that service from Hovis!
And just as one last thing to make you laugh, I make all the pizzas here at the Studio from the Wessex Mill Pasta and Pizza flour – it has a mix of really finely milled white flour mixed with semolina which gives it a sweeter taste and slightly yellow colour. It has a fantastic smooth texture.
Last time I served the pizza, it was described as tasting like “a velvet slipper”…
…..beat that Dominos.