By Helen Randell
The Laucke Flour Mills tagline is “good grains, great flour” and it excellently summarises the philosophy the family business which has been operating in South Australia since 1899.
Its flour mills are located in Strathalbyn and in Victoria, employing about 100 people, with benefits also rolling for regional growers who supply grain to the long-standing and locally-based operation.
Mark Laucke, managing director of Laucke Flour Mills, is the third-generation to take the reins, and is passionate about ensuring Laucke customers get the best possible product.
For Mark, that process begins right back at the soil where the wheat crops are grown, and also through his 30-year association with the Adelaide-based wheat breeders’ group, Australian Grain Technologies.
“We were the first commercial flour mill in Australia to be certified organic,” he says.
“And now we are working with local farmers who value sustainability to ensure ongoing food safety. We help our farmers use less chemicals so we can build the microbes in the soil and create sustainability of the farming land.”
Elevating the humble wheat grain to its rightful place as a vital sustainer of life in regional SA, Laucke has partnered with Primary Industries and Regions SA, Skala Bakery, Drakes Supermarkets and local farmers to produce Single Origin Flour products from Kangaroo Island and the Mallee region.
Milled from selected varieties of wheat, Laucke’s Grains of Provenance flours are used to create specialised baked products, as well as being sold to consumers for their own baking needs. The flours each have defining characteristics around flavour and baking performance.
“Kangaroo Island is a unique environment, with its fresh sea winds and pure water,” Mark says.
“The area produces a very pure product, but the grain production area is relatively small. The Mallee is a much bigger, more diverse region, and unique in its own way.”
The Mallee Flour has recently been included in the new Laucke Bake at Home Sourdough Kit, allowing consumers to bake their own professional quality sourdough bread at home.
The Single Origin Mallee Flour creates strong doughs that are capable of trapping gas under pressure and also provide volume.
“When I was a young man, there were two sorts of bakers,” Mark says. “There were those who did a long ferment, what we now call a sourdough, and there were far more who did a shorter ferment – which was anywhere between eight and 12 hours.”
“These days, with the push for cheaper items in the supermarket, the ingredients are not dissimilar, but the methodology is much different.”
Mark explains that to reduce the costs of production of mass-produced sourdough, the fermentation period is often only around 40 minutes.
While it is enough time to allow some gas into the bread, it creates distinct disadvantages such as lack of flavour and the loss of that crispy crust.
“There are also many health benefits in allowing sufficient time for the fermentative microorganisms to partly digest the constituents of the flour. This makes it easier for humans to digest and provides more available nutrition with less glycaemic response,” Mark says.
“There is also a wide range of beneficial outcomes as a result of the healthy complement of gut microbiota.
“If you ask me, the best bread you could eat is a wholemeal sourdough, and with a glass of wine to accompany it, I think we would all be pretty happy.”
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