Artisan Flours - Different types of flour and what are they all used for?
The definition of an artisan, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.” When it comes to baking, artisan bread is not commercially made, not created by machines, something lovely crafted by hand, no artificial flavourings or additives, and made in small batches. With home-baking becoming more and more popular, handcrafted loaves, rolls, pastries and cakes have never been more in demand.
Here at Ratton Pantry we sell the good old fashioned, stock cupboard essentials such as self raising flour and plain flour, but we also source artisan flours for home baking. For those wanting to try something different, experiment with a new technique, or just copy a recipe seen on the TV or online, there are a variety of flours you can bake with at home. It’s easy to order from our website, and it’s all delivered to your door. We are proud of the suppliers that we have, and here are just a few examples of the artisan flour available at Ratton Pantry today.
Ratton Pantry Fact: Rye is actually a grass, but grown the same as wheat for its grains
Rye grain is related to wheat and barley, and historically, was added to wheat flour to make bread. It wasn’t until what we consider to be modern farming techniques that wheat flour was used predominantly in bread, prior to this technology, rye flour was always added to wheat flour. Rye flour gives a deeper, denser texture and flavour to bread. Rye is a hardy crop that grows anywhere, hence its popularity in Europe and harsher climates where it is more popular, and why most people think of German rye bread (the dark brown, almost black rye bread we have seen for sale but maybe never tempted to buy it). It does contain gluten but less than traditional wheat flour and produces a much darker bread. Light Rye flour is also available and this contains less bran content hence the ‘light’ colour.
Ratton Pantry Tip: Fry a slice of Rye bread in a tiny amount of butter, or spray oil, for a sweet, almost caramel taste!
Ratton Pantry Fact: Traceable back to the Bronze Age, Spelt is also called Dinkel Wheat, or Hulled Wheat
Spelt flour is related to wheat but contains more protein and fibre, less calories than wheat and is easier to digest. The husk of spelt is a lot tougher than wheat and so the vitamins are preserved until the milling process, unlike wheat which loses its husk whilst growing. Spelt does contain gluten but is lighter to use than wholemeal flour and gives a sweet, almost nutty taste to your baking. Spelt is an ideal flour for making a Sourdough Starter, and isn’t a recent introduction to this country, as there are records dating back over 5,000 years confirming that spelt was being cultivated. White spelt flour is available, which is when the husks have been removed and just the grain used; same flour, different colour. Why not add some spelt to your next bake, use 80% of your regular flour and 20% spelt and add some fibre to your life.
Ratton Pantry Fact: Eight grain flour is produced exclusively by Matthews Cotswold Flour
If you want good, all-round wholesome flour that contains everything you could want with protein, vitamins, fibre and natural goodness, then Eight Grain Flour is the one for you. Containing, rye, wheat, malted wheat, oats, maize grits, linseed, sunflower seed and Millett seed, this flour is packed with goodness and fibre. The Eight Grain Flour is strong, and is best suited to breadmaking, either by hand or in a bread machine.
Ratton Pantry Fact: The 55 refers to the ash content, in milligrams, per 10 g flour. A sample of flour is burned, and the ash that remains is weighed. The number 55, refers to the 0.55% ash left.
Now the French know a thing or two about baking baguettes, and if you want to try making your own at home, T55 flour is the one for you. The number 55, refers to the refinement of the milling process; the lower the number, the higher the refinement. T55 contains less proteins than regular baking flours, which produces the cloud-like soft texture of a baguette. As the flour doesn’t absorb as much water, due to the lower protein levels, it doesn’t last very long (and now you know why French bread goes stale so quickly!) Don’t think T55 flour is solely for making French bread, it is also very good for making pastries, and for cake making.
Ratton Pantry ships to the UK, Northern Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and Channel Islands, and if you are located within a five mile radius of hometown Eastbourne, we can deliver for FREE!
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