Home-baking boom during coronavirus lockdown sparks huge demand for bread flour

Letheringsett Watermill has seen a huge rise in demand for its bread flour during the coronavirus lo

Letheringsett Watermill has seen a huge rise in demand for its bread flour during the coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: Michelle Thurlow helping the grain through the hopper which feeds the mill stones. Picture: Serena Waite-Shores - Credit: Serena Waite-Shores

A revived interest in home bread-making during the coronavirus lockdown has helped spark a huge upsurge in demand at Norfolk’s only flour-producing watermill.

Letheringsett watermill is the only working watermill in Norfolk. Photo: Michelle Thurlow

Letheringsett watermill is the only working watermill in Norfolk. Photo: Michelle Thurlow - Credit: Michelle Thurlow

The team at Letheringsett Watermill near Holt has carried out a months’ work in two days in a bid to satisfy orders from farm shops, delicatessens and domestic bakers – some of which are trying their hand at bread-making for the first time while confined to their homes.

Owner and manager Michelle Thurlow, who inherited the restored mill from her parents and runs it despite her allergy to flour, has been milling up to 12 hours a day to clear the backlog.

“Normally two tonnes of wheat would last four weeks, but we had 2.8 tonnes delivered last Monday and we had milled that by Wednesday,” she said.

“A lot of our trade customers are double-buying and I have had so many emails either from home-bakers saying they have run out of flour, or from people starting home-baking because they are self-isolating.

Letheringsett Watermill has seen a huge rise in demand for its bread flour during the coronavirus lo

Letheringsett Watermill has seen a huge rise in demand for its bread flour during the coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: Michelle Thurlow operating the main sluice gate handle.Picture: Serena Waite-Shores - Credit: Serena Waite-Shores


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“It means people are getting used to our flour and hopefully they will come back and continue to buy our flour once this is all over. You cannot beat home-made bread, so I think a lot of people will carry on baking after this.

“We cannot get yeast anywhere at the moment, but you can still make levain bread, or soda bread or sour-dough.”

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The mill’s shop was temporarily closed while its stocks of flour was replenished, but it is hoped that the shop will re-open on Friday and online orders will continue again later this week when the backlog is cleared.

“We will continue running and continue to produce flour, people just need to bear with us a bit,” she said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Norfolk

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