• Ian Brooke

All You Knead is Love - Mungoswells Malt & Milling

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

Situated in ‘breadbasket’ county, East Lothian, near to a small town named Drem, sits the small arable Mungoswells farm. The McDowall family bought Mungoswells in 1920 from Hopetoun Estates and moved from Galloway in 1924. The part Organic farm is a busy operation yet very welcoming when you visit.

They farm cereals, beans and clover on their 550 acres, 235 acres of this are Organic and the rest Conventional (Non-Organic). Favoured by many bakeries throughout Scotland many delicious things can be made with their range of flours; from all types of bread such as wholemeal bread and malted loaves to sourdoughs, pizzas, cakes, scones and more.

Far from being a marketing ploy or easy way to charge a premium, the term ‘organic’ actually refers to a whole, holistic system of farming that underpins the way food is produced, one which is certified by law and is dedicated to working with nature.

Organic food production is not easy and takes real commitment and attention to detail. Organic farmers play a vital role as environmental stewards, and the price tag can sometimes reflect the increased time, effort and expertise that goes into working with nature to produce organic food.

Early Beginnings

In the early 1800s, Patrick Shirreff started selecting and breeding new varieties of wheat at Mungoswells. Some of these early varieties are being grown again at Mungoswells along with modern strains to produce flour. Whilst they presently remain unavailable to consumers it is hoped that in the future these early grain varieties will be used to make flour.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Major Andrew Mcdowall developed the world's first electric tractor, which was built in the workshop at Mungoswells. Perhaps it is this innovative streak which has led to their latest diversification.

In 2008 building work began on a small Maltings to take process barley and wheat grown on the farm and convert it to malt ready for brewers and distillers to make beer or whisky. Most microbrewers don’t have their own crushing facility.

Having bought the mill to crush malt they are also able to mill wheat to produce flour. Being partly Organic and having the maltings allows Mungoswells that allowed them to produce a wide range of flours such as Malted Wheat Flour and the more common flours such as Bread Flour or Plain Flour. In total, there are 14 types of flour available at Mungoswells.

Their flour is made entirely from wheat grown in East Lothian. They grow different varieties of wheat (some organic and some not) suitable for making different types of flour. Hard wheat varieties such as Paragon or Mulika are used for strong bread flour while soft wheat like Consort or Tuxedo makes plain or self-raising flour for cakes biscuits etc.

One particularly lovely thing about the flour available at Mungoswells, unlike commercial white flour, theirs has small darker flecks in it. These are tiny particles of bran, the outer protective skin on a grain of wheat which contains more protein and fibre and adds flavour. These wholemeal flours truly have nothing taken out or put in. The flakes of bran can be seen throughout.

Personally we love the flour produced by Mungoswells. Its fantastic to bake with and all the more so because they are a local business. The health benefits aside, you can make a cracking loaf with their Wholemeal Rye Flour. You can purchase flour from Mungoswells through our Facebook shop here.

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