Earlier this week a historic exchange took place, as a miller handed over a sack of white flour to a baker on a normal street in South Birmingham. Nothing extraordinary about that you might think, it’s a transaction that echoes centuries of intertwined relations between these two ancient professions. There was something special about this exchange though – the flour being handed over was the first batch of commercial flour from Wellesbourne watermill since the 1950’s, and the baker (me), runs Birmingham’s first and only community supported bakery. I felt honoured to receive the 25kg sack of white flour from talented traditional millwright Adam Marriot, who together with his wife Vicky have taken on the tenancy of the mill and lovingly restored it back into production. During the exchange, Adam told me of his future plans to restore a threshing machine too, and to rent 40 acres of land so that they can start growing, threshing and milling their wheat all on the same site.
The flour will be put to work over the next two weeks for Loaf’s community bakery, making our white sourdough loaf and being part of the flour in our granary sourdough (the other flour comes from Charlecote Mill a few miles down the road). I couldn’t wait quite that long though to have a play with the flour, so on Tuesday I made a couple of white tin loaves using a basic yeasted bread recipe. I had to go out before they were due in the oven, so the slashing and baking was entrusted to Jane – she did a great job: