The production of our quality flours is only achieved by using the best quality wheats which are combined and blended, a task which requires great skill and experience by the miller.
The process starts with the delivery of wheat to the mill. After weighing, the wheat is tested in our laboratory to ensure it is of the desired quality. Each consignment of wheat has random samples taken using a ‘spear’, a hollow rod which is inserted into the wheat in several places, to ensure that the representative samples are taken.
In the laboratory each load of wheat is tested to ensure that it meets the required specifications: moisture levels, impurities, density of the grain, enzyme activity, protein content and quality. Any consignment of wheat failing to reach the rigid quality standard is rejected, as this would impair the quality of the flour.
Before the milling process starts the wheat must first be cleaned. Magnets remove any ferrous metal objects, stones and other foreign objects are also removed. Currents of air remove the dust and chaff. Our new ‘colour sorter’ separates impurities from wheat by colour and so reducing the overall product waste and improving flour quality (especially stoneground and organic flours). FWP Matthews Ltd was one of the first flour mills in the UK to use this leading technology.
The wheat is then ready for ‘conditioning’. Which is the dampening with water until the desired moisture levels are reached. This softens the outer layer of the wheat and helps release the ‘endosperm’, the white centre of the grain, from which flour is made.
After conditioning the wheat is ready for gristing. This is the blending of different wheats needed to produce each specific flour. The grist is what gives each flour its own unique taste and characteristics.
Milling is a gentle process of extracting as much as possible of the endosperm (starch) from the inside of the grain of wheat. This is achieved by passing the cleaned wheat through the ‘Break Rolls’ which are a series of fluted rollers rotating at different speeds. The rolls shear opens the grains of wheat separating the white inner portion from the outer skins. The particles of broken wheat grain are the separated by passing through a complex arrangement of sieves. The white particles of endosperm and semolina are then passed into a series of smooth rollers for their final milling into white flour.
To ensure the quality of the flour is consistent it is tested at hourly intervals. It is at this stage that the bran and wheat germ will be ‘streamed’ back into the flour for the production of brown or wholemeal flour.
Other additives such as baking powder for self-raising flours and other legally required additives (such as calcium, niacin, thiamine, folic acid, iron and B vitamins) are added at this stage.
The final stage is for the flour to pass into the packaging plant or the bulk bins ready for distribution. FWP Matthews Ltd supplies flour in a variety of sizes from 1kg to 27 tonne loads. Our liveried lorries are a familiar sight all over the UK from Cornwall to Scotland and Essex to Wales.
Please note we mill both rye and wheat in this mill.