I was kicking myself as I typed the title for this post! We could never fathom the French system to classify flour and know which one to use and yet the famous catch phrase for a well known UK flour held the answer.
Graded grains make finer flour!
A few years ago we met Madame and Monsieur Piaumier, owners of the Moulin Boutard, at a Craft Fair in the grounds of the Chateau at Giseux. Monsieur Piaumier explained the finer the flour the ‘whiter’ it is, the higher the category the nearer it is to the wholemeal flour which we were looking for.
So the flour we use now ranges from Type 55 for making croissants, Type 65 for pizza dough, through to Type 170 for rustic wholemeal bread. We also get rye flour, spelt and a speciality mix of chestnut flour, fig and hazel nut for cookies.
This website gives some good descriptions of the different types.
Through the generations
In the nineteenth century, there were no less than 22 water mills on the River Changeon., but they closed one after the other when industrialised production of flour and bakery goods started to arrive.
The Moulin Boutard was a true water mill until 1956, when it too was mechanised to keep pace with the demands of the market. It is the only mill still operating in the Bourgueil area.
The mill is owned by the Piaumier family, a family with a traditions of seven generations of millers. The family member who will make it the eight generation is currently working in a mill near Tours.
A Short History
The changes at the Moulin Boutard over the years demonstrate how life changed so much more quickly from the 19th century onwards compared with when it was built by the monks of Bourgueil in the XII century.
1850 – The mill was extended
1928 – Mr. Albert Piaumier became as tenant operator of the mill
1930 – A diesel engine was installed and it is still in operation today,
1957 – The production rate is increased by the modernisation of equipment and it is then possible to mill 300 kg of wheat per hour instead of 100 kg.
1963 – Cleaning equipment and storage is installed.
1966 – A bulk tank is installed for receipt of wheat. This is the first mill equipped with this system in Indre-et-Loire. Also machinery installed for the manufacture of animal feed.
1974, – The son of Albert Piaumier, Paul, bought the Moulin Boutard from Madame Garnier Moreau.
I983 – A major change in the milling equipment increasing throughput up to 10 quintals (ie 100 kg) per hour.
1998 – Moulin Boutard gets organic certification
Ets Piaumier et Fils, Moulin Boutard, 37140 Bourgueil