Where can I buy flour?

Looking to score some of the white stuff, or a bit of brown? You’re not alone.

Photo: Chris Young / realbreadcampaign.org CC-BY-SA 4.0

Photo: Chris Young / realbreadcampaign.org CC-BY-SA 4.0

This is one of the most common queries we’ve received from microbakers and hobby/domestic bakers recently, so In March, we began this list.

Please keep checking back as we update it each time we get new details.

Mills

Run a flour mill anywhere on the planet? Please email your update to us!

The date in brackets is the most recent update for the mill. If you are considering visiting to pick up flour, please check their website and/or contact them before you set out for their current situation and availability.

NB While most of the mills below don't put additives (except the mandatory so-called fortificants) in their flour mixes, some might. Please check with the mill to be sure.  Loaves made using flour with any non-mandatory additive is NOT what we call Real Bread.

  • Brixton Windmill, Brixton, London: Organic wholemeal flour available from those of its usual retail outlets that are still open. (7 May)
  • Burcott Mill, Wookey, Somerset: Wholemeal wheat and spelt flours available in small bags and 12.5kg sacks if pre-ordered. Local pickup Mon-Sat 10am-3pm or contact for mail order. 01749 673118 enquiries@burcottmill.com (6 May)
  • Calbourne Water Mill, Isle of Wight: Is selling flour. (17 April)
  • Craggs and Co, County Durham: Webshop open for spelt, einkorn, emmer and rye flours (24 April)
  • Crakehall Watermill, North Yorkshire: Milling wholemeal flours, though giving priority to supplying farm, and other, shops. (1 May)
  • Doves Farm, Berkshire: Focused on keeping retailers and wholesalers in stock to maximise availability. Only some gluten-free flour available through webshop, but contains an additive so can't be used to make Real Bread. (24 April)
  • Gilchesters, Northumberland: Milling heritage and ancient wheats and then re-opening web shop to sell what they have milled. Keep checking back. (24 April)
  • Heatherslaw Mill, Northumberland: Has set up two local buying groups and are taking orders via email: miller@heatherslaw.org.uk (16 April)
  • Matthews, Oxfordshire: Online shop temporarily closed in order to fulfil a backlog or orders. (24 April)
  • Otterton Mill, Devon: Closed but offering a Click & Collect service. Taking phone orders with card payment on 01395 568031 between 10am and 1pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Max six bags of flour per order. (2 April)
  • Scotland the Bread, Fife: Milling heritage wheats and then re-opening web shop to sell what they have milled. Keep checking back. (24 April)
  • Sharpham Park, Somerset: Has 25kg bags of white spelt flour. Other flours and sizes added to the shop as they mill. Keep checking back. (24 April)
  • Shipton Mill, Gloucestershire: Full range of flours in 16kg and 25kg sacks, plus limited range in 1kg bags, available via web shop. Releasing delivery slots as and when they become available throughout each day. Community bakeries and microbakeries can try calling Rebekah or Louise on 01666 505050 to place orders for emergencies. (24 April)
  • Stanway Watermill: "We are milling flat out for our seven outlets, but being solely water powered with one pair of stones, there is a limit to output. We always have small quantities of sifted white and wholemeal flour available at the mill." (2 April)
  • Stoates, Dorset: Online shop closed. They suggest trying stockists listed on their website. (24 April)
  • Warwick Bridge Cornmill, Carlisle, Cumbria: Milling for the frst time since 1989. Flour initially available from five local shops. (22 April)
  • Wessex Mill, Oxfordshire: Online shop closed. They suggest trying stockists listed on their website. (24 April)
  • Wright's, Enfield, Middlesex: Taking online orders for collection from the mill on Saturday morning 9am -12pm and deliveries. (6 May)

See also: A longer list of independent mills to investigate.

On 20 April, a chap called Adam emailed us the following tips:

Daniels Mill, Bridgenorth: Limited but some flour available direct from mill house
Clencher's Mill, Nr Ledbury: Limited production, water permitting 07500892324
Whissendine Windmill, Rutland: Flour available 01664 474172
Wicken Windmill, Cambridgeshire: Producing flour when windy.
Charlecote Mill. Flour available. Contact mill before travelling.
Roots Family Farm Shop, Bransford: Flour ground on electric stone mill available.

On 4 May, Business Insider published a list of mills in the USA selling flour online

Other suggestions

  • A Million Thanks, Wales: Set up by The Pudding Compartment to buy flour and ingredients from other struggling baking businesses and re-sell in retail bags (24 April)
  • Bakery Bits, Somerset: Has flour and yeast, though online ordering is available intermittently due to the volume of orders they're handling (24 April)

Oh, and if you ask a bakery if you can buy some off them and they say no, please take it graciously. They are under huge pressure right now and need their flour to help feed hundreds, or even thousands, of people.

Yeast tenders

Yeast suppliers are facing similar issues - ie demand (particularly domestic/retail) outstripping the ability to supply.

If you have flour you can nurture your own sourdough starter.

What the hell's going on?

As lockdown started, millers in the UK, USA and elsewhere began experiencing unprecedented demand from bakeries and other regular wholesale customers as people begang buying more bread and industrial loaves.

At the same time, seemingly everyone has become a home baker and there's a lot of panic buying going on. In May, a representative of one of the biggest milling companies in the UK told The Grocer: “In the four weeks ahead of lockdown, nearly a third of households bought flour. That’s 50% higher than flour’s usual Christmas peak" He said his brand had seen 265% year-on-year growth.

Industrial millers are mainly geared up to bag flour in large (16kg+) sacks for bakeries and other professional users, and just don't have the capacity to keep up with the new demand for 1-1.5kg bags.

Mills are working flat out to fulfil and deliver their orders but there are also some bottlenecks when deliveries are being done by third parties. Everyone is ordering everything for delivery at the moment, and there just aren't enough vans/couriers/delivery slots to meet demand.

When panic buyers realise that they are stacked to the gunnels with flour and loaves, we hope that demand and supply will balance out and everyone will be able to find flour again.

The big millers

The National Association of British and Irish Millers, a trade body that represents a number of larger flour milling companies.

17 April: Stated that there is plenty of flour and that millers are now producing 'twice as much retail flour as before – up from 2 million bags a week to 4 million.' Launched this map/directory of places selling commercial-sized bags of flour (4kg - 32kg) direct to shoppers.

1 April: Issued a statement that only about 4% of flour is usually sold direct to shoppers and so capacity to bag in smaller (eg 1.5kg) packs was limited. It went on to note that it could only fill enough small bags for about 15% of households per week.


27/03/2020
Real Bread Campaign

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