Flour milling and baking at Winchester City Mill
Come as see our volunteer millers producing our unique stoneground wholemeal flour. We grind british wheat grown at Newhouse Farm, 7 miles from the Mill, using traditional machinery and the natural power of the river Itchen.
There has been a mill on this site in Winchester for over a 1000 years. The Mill remained in use until the early 20th century, and after an ambitious restoration project, resumed flour production in March 2004 with a dedicated team of volunteer millers.
Thanks to the work of the National Trust and the local community, this building is still milling flour for the people of Winchester, centuries after it was built, with local wheat sourced from Newhouse Farm, 7 miles to the north of Winchester.
Please note that our millers do not mill every day - to check if we are milling on the day you plan to visit, please give us a call on 01962 870057.
How we mill
The millers can produce 20-30kg of flour per hour. Our mill stones only produce wholemeal flour as the whole grain seed passes between the stones. Historically, millers sieved the flour to produce whiter grades for the wealthy.
The stone floor
The grinding process begins when the miller empties the sacks of grain down the wooden chute into the hopper above the mill stones. The shoe under the hopper shakes the grain into the centre of the top ‘runnerstone’
The damsel, which protrudes from the centre of the stone and rotates at the same speed as the mill stone, strikes against the shoe causing it to shake. Thus, the flow of grain increases as the speed of the mill increases.
The bell, fixed to the horse, provides a warning if the hopper becomes empty. Should this happen, the stones would run without grain and flour between them leading to rapid wear and damage.
The grain passes between the runnerstone and the lower ‘bedstone’ and is ground in to flour. The stones rotate at 60 revolutions per minute or above to mill high quality flour.
Finally, the flour passes down a second chute to the lower floor where it is collected in sacks.
The lower floor
Winchester City Mill houses one undershot water wheel, in the left-hand millrace. It is the source of power for the Mill’s flour grinding and is driven by the force of the River Itchen striking the wooden paddles. It makes about 7 or 8 revolutions per minute.
The series of gears connects the water wheel to the millstones and enables the mill stones to turn much faster than the wheel.
The water wheel can only turn, and milling commence, when the sluice gate is raised. You can see the controls for the sluice gate by the wall near the mill stones on the stone floor. Raising the gate allows water to pass under the water wheel. The height of the sluice gate determines how much water hits the wheel and consequently the speed on the mill.
Why our flour is so good for baking
Our flour has a unique taste and can be used in all sorts of ways – for breads, puddings and everyday baking like cakes and biscuits. Wholemeal flour is particularly nutritious – richer in B vitamins, iron and protein than traditional white flour. Great results can be achieved using a bread machine, as well as by hand. The nation is discovering the fun and enjoyment of baking like never before. Here at City Mill we’re proud to be able to support this great tradition, with our fresh flour, recipes, and passion for baking.
If you would like to contact us with any questions regarding our flour, please email our team on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01962 870057.