Thursday 14 May 2020

All the Flour You Need: Kells Wholemeal


Let's talk about white gold, that rare commodity that everyone is looking for these days: flour. According to RTE, Tesco Ireland had a 300% increase in their sale of flour when the lockdown happened. It seemed like everybody turned into a baker overnight. After all, we were a nation of bakers for centuries until the bread-making tradition faded with the effects of commercialisation and industrialization. It's great to see people going back to basics.

My mam in France was truly shocked when I told her that my local bakery was closed during the lockdown. In France, the bakeries are pretty much as essential as pharmacies, she really couldn't get it. "Maman, people don't eat bread at every single meal here and most people buy it in supermarkets anyway!" I explained. I can't even tell you how many times I experience culture shocks when I'm talking to my own mother. I've been here too long.

I still had flour when the lockdown started but soon enough my baking went out of control, I had to get enough to avoid stepping into a supermarket. Luckily I spotted a tweet from @beoir showing a big bag of flour from Kells Wholemeal and went to their website to place an order.

Father and son Bill and Robert Mosse run Kells Wholemeal, a seventh-generation business based in Bennettsbridge in Co. Kilkenny. This Irish miller produces stoneground wholemeal flour and has been supplying the foodservice industry and bakery trade for many years. Their products range from many different types of flour (12,5kg to 25kg bags) to bread mixes, cake mixes, muffin mixes, cooking chocolate, seeds and proving baskets. Their website is easy to use and the delivery cost (available nationwide) is calculated at check out.

I went for a 16kg bag of Marriages Uppermost flour (€19.50) which is essentially a white breadmaking flour which is suitable for sourdough as well as ciabatta, white rolls, pizza, puff pastry and choux pastry. It's quality stuff and far superior to what you'll find in a regular supermarket. As I wanted to make the shipping cost worth it, I also bought a 2.5kg of Callebaut dark chocolate (€29.99) which can be used for confectionery and pastries. Smaller bags of 400g are also available for €6 if you want to spend less.

You don't have to jump on the sourdough wagon just because everyone is posting about it on social media. As rewarding as sourdough baking is, it's quite a commitment. Truth is I used to make sourdough bread about five years ago after training in Ballymaloe Cookery School and was the worst mother to my starter, I kept killing it. There are so many types of bread that are easy and quick to make, from Irish soda bread to focaccia, even flatbreads (I make those all the time, it can't be any easier). I also baked brioche the other day, my house smelled like a French bakery after it, a pure delight. I tried this pitta bread recipe over the weekend and I was amazed at how well it turned out. So yes, the possibilities are endless if you get your hands on enough flour, so get ordering!

Online shop:

Delivery: nationwide (shipping calculated at check out) via An Post.

Follow them on social media: Kells Wholemeal on Facebook, Kells Wholemeal on Twitter