Tuesday, 16 April 2013

fresh from the mill


On the second Sunday of every month, Foster's Mill in Swaffam Prior, Cambridgeshire, opens to public visits. I've been wanting to go for ages, but the right time never seemed to come. Finally on Sunday we made it! Our little boy calls our newly-reconfigured family a "circle", so when we go out together all 4 of us, we call it "going out as a circle". I think it's when we're happiest.

Our 2 year-old (well, he'll be 3 in July - I can't believe it!) was excited to see inside a real, working windmill. He saw how the mechanism turned and ground the flour from the grain, and how it slowed down when the wind dropped. I was wearing the baby, so I only went up to the first level, as the stairs were more like a ladder. I loved the great roaring hum as the grindstones moved.

They were making Spelt flour that day, and we were able to buy a bag of the very flour we had seen being ground. The friendly volunteer got our little boy to help him scoop out the fresh flour from a sack and into our bag. Then we whisked it off home to make bread with it.

I use a breadmaking machine to make bread. It's addictively easy and really does make very good bread, if not as aesthetically appealing as hand-kneaded and shaped bread. This loaf certainly is delicious, and it's nearly finished already! I've never tried Spelt flour bread before. I think I prefer rye or wheat, but the taste of this loaf is about so much more than molecules hitting the tongue: it's the memory of a windy Sunday, out as a circle, spotting the big white sails across the flat Cambridgeshire land and breathing the dusty air inside, with the sound of everything turning and moving.

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