French Flour from Foricher
I’m delighted to be able to introduce you to a new range of flour from the French mill, Foricher. I’ve been looking for a really good quality French flour to stock for some years now, but finding the right one has proved to be somewhat difficult. It wasn’t that there was a lack of choice, more a case of ensuring that it was one that fitted with our ethos of delivering ingredients that go above and beyond. The flour from Foricher Les Moulins definitely meets these requirements.
The mills have been producing high quality flours since 1997, when Yvon Foricher, a 7th generation miller, started the business with the aim of sourcing the best grain and milling it to exacting standards. “Consistency and excellence are essential” he says. The company specialises in milling French grown grain and works hard at developing good relationships with the farmers who grow it. It was one of the founding members of a sustainable alliance of growers and millers in France. This alliance has strict regulations to ensure that everything, from sowing the seed to harvesting and storing the crop, results in great quality grain while at the same time protecting and enhancing the environment… encouraging biodiversity is a key part of the scheme. The French also have their own system similar to the Soil Association’s organic standard, it’s called Bio which means organic, and the mill produces a line of Bio flours using organically grown grains.
As Vanessa spent much of her teenage years baking and living in France, and is fluent in French, I asked for her help in my search for a superb, artisan French flour. So I’m going to hand over to her to tell us a little bit more about why she really loves Foricher flour.
When Patrick first asked me to help him find a French flour to stock, I thought it would be a relatively easy task. I mean, who wouldn’t? France is known for its wonderful baking and, having spent many years working in small bakeries there, I knew that high quality ingredients were important to French bakers. But, even in France, not all mills are equal. In fact over recent years there’s been massive consolidation. And I wanted to find a mill that could talk without hesitation about the provenance of its grains. One that mills for excellence - with a love and passion, dedication and drive to produce an incredible quality of flour. A flour that makes not just any bread, but bread with the best flavour and the most beautiful texture. That’s the key isn’t it? As bakers we want a flour that gives us great results. When I found a flour that produced bread that was exquisite in every way, I knew Patrick would be happy with it. Foricher flour is milled to bake loaves with beautiful golden crusts and soft, creamy, perfumed wheaten interiors. Now, that’s what every baker wants, right? It’s taken almost 18 months to bring this flour to market. Not least because, until now, this flour was only available to professional French bakers. This is not a flour you can find anywhere else. You won’t find it in supermarkets, or even in those high-end delicatessens which specialise in stocking the very best of ingredients. Foricher mills a range of flours that are all simply excellent, each one designed for a specific purpose. Here are the flours you can find at BakeryBits (and the list is sure to grow!):
Farine de Gruau T45 (French Croissant and Brioche Flour) is milled for croissants, brioche and other enriched doughs. This is a fine white flour, roller milled from only the centre of the wheat grain to produce a very fine and pure flour. Gruau T45 is blended from at least four high protein wheat varieties. Careful selection and blending ensures that the flour is of a consistently high quality, so you can be sure that your baking will also be perfect, time after time.
Tradition Française CRC T65 (Traditional French T65) Bread Flour is the standard bread flour in France, the one used for baking baguettes. It is roller-milled from soft wheat, and contains a good balance of all the components of the grain. The flour has a sweet, balanced flavour and is ideal for just about all of your bread making needs, especially slow fermented breads. The carefully blended of grains produce a flour that is tailor made to suit the traditional French bread making process with a long fermentation time. The gluten content is just right to produce an extensible dough, but with not too much elasticity.
Farine de meule CRC T80 (Stoneground French T80 Flour) is creamy-white flour milled from soft wheat. The stone milling results in a flour with a slightly coarser texture, with almost the feel of a semolina flour. It also means that the T80 has more flavour than the T65 flour. There’s a slight spiciness and grassiness to this flour, reflecting the higher bran content. The flour is rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre making it the perfect choice to add flavour and nutrients to your sourdough bread.
Pur Epeautre CRC T110 (French Spelt Flour) is brown roller-milled flour from spelt grain, ideal for tasty spelt loaves. The CRC T110 is milled from 100% French grown spelt. In fact, all the spelt grain used in this flour is sourced from farms within 200km of the mill. It is a lovely flour to use either on its own, or blended with other flours, for baking richly flavoured and nutritious loaves.
Brun de Plaisir CRC T150 (French Wholemeal Flour) is a silky flour with large particles of bran. It is carefully blended from different wheat varieties to allow you to produce doughs with good gluten structure and extensibility. The flavours are slightly spicy and almost grassy, due to the bran content. But the texture is smooth, and breads baked with this flour are soft and not too chewy. We recommend a good long autolyse when using this flour (at least 2 hours), to ensure it has time to absorb the water properly.
Farine Biologique T65 (French Organic Bread Flour) is an organic white bread flour, used for baguettes. It is roller-milled from soft wheat for use in traditional bread making. The organic T65 flour is similar to the CRC T65, but uses a different blend of varieties which give it slightly different properties. It’s a great flour for bread making, producing a dough with greater elasticity than the CRC T65. The wheat milled to make this flour is all sourced from organic French farms.
Farine Biologique T80 (French Organic Stoneground White Flour) is French organic creamy-white stoneground flour from soft wheat by one of France’s foremost mills, Foricher. For use in traditional bread making. The T80 biologique is milled from 100% French organic grain. Slightly rough in texture, and with a grassy, almost spicy flavour, it is perfect for baking both yeasted and sourdough breads with all the nutritional benefits of bran.
Farine Biologique Epeautre T110 (French Organic Spelt Flour) T110 is brown roller-milled flour from organic spelt grain. With its deep flavour and slightly rough texture, this flour is great for baking loaves with a more rustic feel. It contains high levels of proteins, lipids and other nutrients, making it a great choice for inclusion in a healthy diet.
Farine Biologique T150 (French Organic Wholemeal Flour) T150 is wholemeal, stoneground flour from organic wheat for use in traditional bread making. T150 is milled from the whole grain, producing a smooth, silky flour containing bran particles. This one is a great choice for sourdough baking – allowing the grassy, spicy flavour of the flour to be balanced by the acidity of the sourdough. It is a very reactive flour, full of enzymes, and makes a loaf with a good crumb.
These flours will be unfamiliar to many bakers. Whenever I introduce new flours to students at The Sourdough School, I’m regularly asked how to get the best from them. My advice is to start with a favourite recipe, one that you bake regularly and are really familiar with. This makes a great starting point. Choose the flour that is most similar to the one that you’re used to using for this recipe, and bake as you would normally. From there you can alter your timings and your hydration as needed. Using a baseline favourite recipe allows you work out the differences in the properties of a new flour, and it won’t be long before you have adapted your baking to suit it.
For more ideas and recipes there is a PDF to download from the website. But please note that these recipes are best suited to people who are reasonable experienced bakers, especially the sourdough.