Suffolk Day shortbread baked from wheat bred, grown and milled in county
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
A county-bred-and-grown wheat has been milled and made into shortbread using an ancient baker’s oven to celebrate Suffolk Day.
Father-and-son team Kenneth and Kieron Palmer of Palmer’s Bakery in Haughley — the fifth and sixth generation of a Suffolk baking dynasty — took flour made at Pakenham Mill from grain grown at Limagrain’s Woolpit trial site where it was bred. The seventh generation of the baking family, Alexandra Palmer, tested the finished product.
Wheat breeders Limagrain developed the biscuit wheat — called LG Astronomer — at its technical site in Woolpit.
Tom Barker, cereals and pulses product manager at Limagrain UK, said they wanted to celebrate Suffolk Day by showing the key role the county plays in the production of commodities such as wheat.
Tom took a bag of last year’s crop of Astronomer wheat — this year’s crop won’t be ready until the end of July or start of August — to picturesque Pakenham Water Mill, near Ixworth, on Friday, June 18, to be milled into wheat by head miller Peter Stobbart. Pakenham is one of the oldest surviving mills still working in England and thought to be the oldest working flour mill in Suffolk.
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On Suffolk Day — June 21 — the milled flour was brought to celebrated family bakery Palmer’s so that it could be made into biscuits.
The new wheat breed is designed as a biscuit variety. Wheat breeders at the breeding centre create new varieties by crossing old ones and are looking to build in traits such as disease resistance and high yields.
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“The reason we like Astronomer is it’s got a really good package for farmers,” said Tom.
"I was very pleased with how the process went. It`s great to be able to support local businesses especially ones that have part of the Suffolk fabric for such a long time. It's a wonderful way of showing the whole food chain from raw material to finished product. Feedback from the finished shortbread was excellent and more has been requested."
Limagrain is holding an open day for farmers near its wheat breeding centre at Woolpit on Wednesday, June 23.