Fortunately, nearly a fortnight ago we combined our heritage wheat in exceptionally good weather, just before the rains came.
A sample was taken to FWP Matthews, a traditional mill close to FarmED, for lab testing. This revealed that the moisture content was 14.3%, protein 12%, screenings were 1% and the all important Hagberg Falling Number (HFN) was 258.
The HFN gives an indication of the milling quality of flour by measuring the number of seconds it takes for a plunger to fall through a mix of wheat flour in water. If the plunger falls relatively fast, it means that starch has been converted to sugar. However, if the plunger falls more slowly, it shows that the mixture is thick with starch. This is crucial for breadmaking since it has implications for handling dough, it’s water absorption and binding capacity, among other things. The HFN is influenced by nutrients in the soil, particularly nitrogen and potassium, so we were so glad we harvested when we did and really pleased with these positive initial results.
The wheat is now being stored in our barn, waiting to be taken on a very short journey to FWP Matthews, where it will be measured on the weighbridge and cleaned prior to some of it being milled to create wholesome, wholewheat flour.
FWP Matthews is located just beyond the boundary of our fields at Honeydale Farm, which is very important for this project which is all about keeping the process localised. Importantly, the grains that are not milled will be distributed to neighbouring farms to be sown on their land in order to build acreage of this valuable resource within our area of the Cotswolds.
Meanwhile, Ian has been experimenting with milling on a mini milling machine. This small domestic stone mill uses the age old process by which our staple food, bread, has been made since time immemorial.
Our vision is that visitors to FarmED will be able to look out from our farm and food education centre, across the beautiful Evenlode Valley, and see fields of our golden heritage wheat growing in multiple local farms, supplying local food to local people.