Frequently asked questions:
1. Where does the grain that you grind at Felin Ganol come from?
Our aim is to use as much locally grown grain as possible and in September 2010 we had our first harvest of local wheat. This year, Andrew Broad in Trelech, Carmarthenshire has grown small trials of different wheat varieties and we are delighted to be able to mill some of them. See our Flour pages for more details. Aberystwyth University Organic Farm have successfully grown the winter wheat variety Nelson for us for the last three years and have also sown a crop for this season.
Howard Roberts at Hammonds End Farm in Hertfordshire supplies our spelt, rye and the wheat varieties Paragon and Doubleshot.
2. Can Felinganol 100% wholewheat flour be used in a breadmaker?
We regularly make excellent loaves with a 70:30 mixture of our medium ground 100% wholemeal and a strong white flour using the standard wholemeal programmes in Panasonic and Kenwood breadmakers.
Our fine ground wholemeal produces light well risen loaves without the addition of white flour.
A common problem when using stoneground flour in bread machines is that the second programmed proving time is too long and the dough does not hold its volume until baking commences. The result is a dense, concave loaf. To overcome this problem I recommend mixing machine and hand baking methods. Take the dough from the machine after the first proving, shape by hand and place in tins, allow to rise and bake in the oven as soon as the dough rises above the top of the tin.
3. Is the flour only for bread making?
Our flour can be used to make tasty fruit cakes, gingerbreads, scones and wholemeal pastry. Medium ground flour adds a nutty flavour to biscuits and date slices.
See our recipe section and question 6 about self raising flour.
4. There is seed husk in my flour, where did it come from?
Wild oats are a common weed in cereal fields growing naturally alongside the crop. Inevitably some are harvested with the wheat and despite thorough cleaning some occasionally remain in the flour. Wild oats are not harmful to humans.
5. What is spelt?
Spelt is an ancient grain that traces its heritage back long before many modern wheat hybrids. Many of its benefits come from the fact that it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the wheat family. It can be used in many of the same ways as wheat including bread and pasta making. Spelt does not seem to cause sensitivities in many people who are intolerant of wheat.
6. Do you sell self raising flour?
Self raising flour is a low-protein, low-gluten white or wholemeal flour with a raising agent mixed in. The most usual raising agent added is baking powder, but some brands also use bicarbonate of soda or other agents.
Self-raising flour will not keep for very long. The baking powder absorbs moisture from the air, which reacts with other ingredients in the flour, affecting its ability to rise.
Since it varies between manufacturers and in different countries, many bakers prefer to use a plain or all-purpose flour and add small amounts of baking powder and/or bicarbonate of soda together with similar amounts of either tartaric acid, lemon juice or even wine vinegars to activate the rising process.
We prefer to keep our flour additive free, so here are a couple of recipes for your own self raising flour.