Allinson's Country Grain Flour

Allinson's Country Grain Flour
Today, I'm test-driving Allinson's Country Grain flour. It comes highly recommended by reader, Gill*, whose description made it sound so delicious that I just had to give it a try.
*Thanks Gill!

I usually buy just two types of flour, one white and one wholemeal, in huge sacks from Shipton Mill. But when Gill described the Allinson's Country Grain, I couldn't resist decided it was my duty to test it out and let the good readers of Freshly Baked know what it is like.

Incidentally, if anyone else would like to recommend their favourite flour to me, I will be happy to write more flour reviews in future. Just another perk of the job service I provide, you know, taste-testing bread. You're welcome.

Allinson's Country Grain is white flour with (according to their website) 'malted wheat flakes, rye flour and malted barley flour to give you a rustic bread with a rich texture and a nutty flavour.'

In other words, it's got bits in it.


Exactly the sort of bread I have been studiously avoiding since infancy.

Mum's bread was rustic, alright, (previously mentioned here) but it didn't have bits in. If ever my parents bought bread, which was next to never, it was always a huge disappointment if there were bits. Solid chunks seemed far too chewy within the otherwise perfectly soft bread. It absolutely ruined the bought bread experience, in my opinion.

Well, Gill had recommended this flour and, besides, I'm a grown-up now, I can appreciate texture, so I wasn't daunted by the bits but I thought my children might be.

(That's EP, in the picture, my middle daughter, who is 11 now!)

The flour smelled amazing when I was mixing up the dough. I used my standard formula for great dough, by the way. I think the lovely smell was the maltiness. I could see the bits(!) but they didn't look too daunting ;o)

The bread that I made is also pictured in How To Achieve An Amazing Crust, so I apologise if you've seen a couple of these pictures before.

I made a round, free-form loaf in the casserole dish* and a longer loaf on a baking tray, next to the casserole dish. I browned the loaves at a very high temperature and certainly achieved caramelisation. The one that never had a lid was positively burnt, if I'm absolutely honest. But it did taste good.
*That's an affiliate link to Amazon, meaning that if you click through, and end up buying stuff, I might get a small commission. It's equivalent to you buying me about half a cup of coffee but I'm hoping that if lots of people do that, I might earn a whole cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun.

Homemade loaf

Oops. Yes, it certainly does look 'well caramelised' doesn't it?!

I hoped I hadn't done Gill's flour a disservice by overcooking it. But you know what they say about the proof of the pudding...

Homemade loaf

Homemade loaf

I was pretty pleased with the texture inside. It has what they called a fairly open crumb (biggish air bubbles: big air bubbles apparently being the Holy Grail of bread making). It still had that delicious, malty smell too. But what about the flavour? And the bits, I expect you're wondering.

Well, the thing I used to hate about bits in bread is the contrast between the ridiculously soft dough and the impenetrably chewy grains. Here, there was no such problem since the bread itself was sufficiently robust to carry the added texture (plus, I am not a fussy child anymore). I found the bread to be very tasty and the bits went without comment, even from my children (not as fussy as I used to be, eh?!)

This was a delicious loaf and a loved the sweetness of it: I even went back to check the ingredients for added sugar, but no, the sweetness is purely from the malted grains. I really enjoyed having a change from my usual loaf. I usually go for speed, reliability and, as mentioned above, bulk purchase of flour. It was lovely to have something different this time and I certainly plan to buy this flour again in future.

Gill has since told me that she likes to make rolls, from this flour, to have with soup. I only made loaves and I am looking forward to getting another bag and making rolls, next time.

So, I agree with Gill, a huge thumbs up for the Allinson's Country Grain! Let me know if you try it.

8 comments:

  1. I will let you know if I try the Allinson's, but for the moment I am working my way through a large order of Matthews's excellent flours (their website is https://www.fwpmatthews.co.uk/ ). Their Eight Grain and their Cotswold Crunch are their two mixed flours, but they also do various other non-mixed flours (their Wholemeal is fab). My loaf today was mainly Eight Grain plus a bit of Strong White to help the rise to hold and a bit of Dark Rye for the extra flavour (all flours were from Matthews). I also put in some extra linseeds (there are some in the Eight Grain) and some chia seeds. I used Fermipan Red yeast, let it work overnight, and baked as per the casserole method (my timings). Brilliant crust, good rise and terrific, tasty bread.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds yummy! I love all the variety. And thanks for the tip about Matthews' flours.

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    2. Eight of their flours won in the most recent 'Great Taste' awards. See https://www.fwpmatthews.co.uk/blog/great-taste-awards-2020/

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    3. Tony, my Matthews' flour arrived yesterday. I'll let you know...

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  2. Hi Rachel,
    Where did you manage to purchase the Allinson's Country Grain Flour?
    Have not been able to find any and, after reading your article about it, am eager to try.
    Kind regards

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    Replies
    1. I found it in my local (big) Sainsburys. Maybe a large supermarket near you will have it?

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