One of my favourite flours to bake with is the Heritage Blend Wholemeal from Lammas Fayre.  It has bags of valour, with a malty, nutty sweetness to it. I often use about 20% of it in my usual everyday white bread to add texture and flavour.

What is Heritage flour?

Heritage flour is a somewhat controversial name for varieties of flour made from grain that lacks the characteristics required for industrial milling.  It is a controversial term because some millers consider that grains from the 1970’s are heritage, and some define heritage grains as those grown pre industrialization. It’s not a straightforward definition, but John Letts flour is all made with varieties that were grown pre 1900, so it is fair to call these heritage grains.  In the US they are more often called Heirloom varieties.

Are there any health benefits to baking with heritage grains?

There are actually many benefits to eating heritage flour.

Today’s grain is short. The roots are short too because it has been bred to a height that facilitates combine harvesters.  Heritage grains are tall, and their roots are deep, and so studies show that nutritionally heritage grains are generally more nutrient dense than modern grains. Bread made with heritage flour is also an environmentally more sustainable bread to bake, as heritage varieties require little or no chemical fertilizers.

By using sourdough as the leaven it, your loaf delivers the highest levels of nutritional value possible, because the sourdough neutralises the phytic acid, which is responsible for blocking the absorption of the micronutrients.

Many of the heritage grains have lower levels of gluten, too, and many people find lower gluten flour easier to digest.

How to bake with Heritage flour.

The way in which you bake bread using heritage grains is perhaps the single most important factor to take into account when you buy them.

Unlike modern flour they do not make the kind of bread that we are used to eating.  There is less gluten, the texture will be very different.  They are in the main denser, nuttier, moister and more flavorsome than modern flour, but some adjustments are needed to make the best bread possible.

My top tips for bread making with heritage flour.

One of the easiest places to start is by blending your usual flour with between 30% - 50% heritage flour to make a delicious loaf with the bounce of a modern loaf and the wonderful flavour from the heritage grain. The advantage to this method is that the loaf will have a similar structure to your usual loaf, but you it will have better flavour and more nutritional value.

[caption id="attachment_2839" align="alignnone" width="680"]70 30 rivet pooliosh 680 I often use about 20% of it in my usual everyday white bread to add texture and flavour.[/caption]