Flour is a powder made by grinding and crashing uncooked cereal grains and seeds. It is a key component in making bread, which is a staple food in many countries. Therefore, supply of flour has to be constant in order to satisfy the demand. Most flour is made from wheat. In the past, flour was produced through grinding of grains between stones, processes that had to be done using bare hands. Nowadays, things have become automated in that just by the press of a button, everything is done and only one person is needed to monitor the whole process. As much as it has become automated, constant training is needed in order to be able to operate these heavy wheat flour machines for great output. The purpose of this article is to give the reader a simplified breakdown of how to manufacture flour.
THE FlOUR MANUFACTURING PROCESS
1. Grading the wheat
Once the wheat is received, it has to go through analysis to check on various things. The most important thing is usually checked is the protein content. Once the grading and separation is done, each grade is stored in a different silo.
2. Purifying the wheat
Just before the wheat is approved for grinding into flour, it has to be inspected to see if it contains any unwanted objects. It first passes through a separator, which contains metal screens. What happens here is that the wheat and the small unwanted particles pass through the metal screens while the large ones fall off. Next, an aspirator is used. Its function is to suck up any kind of foreign matter that is lighter than the wheat and removes it. From there, the wheat is pure.
The moisture content needs to be regulated for the grinding process to be swift. This can be done by either soaking the wheat in cold water for 2 days, warm water of 46 degrees for 60minutes or in hot water of about 60 degrees for about 10minutes.
4. Grinding of the wheat
Wheat of different grades and moisture is mixed together to acquire high quality flour at the end of it all. Here is where the wheat flour machine comes in and also the most technical part of this process. The wheat grains are smashed using some two breaker rolls under intense pressure. Once they crack, the inside and the outside parts of the grain are separated. The results are then passed through metal sieves and a fine material that looks like flour is released. This material, also known as middlings, is passed over a vibrating screen
where air is blown to remove the light unwanted matter. The middlings are then ground into flour using some smooth rollers. Once this process is done, separation begins, in terms of the different grades of flour.
5. Processing the flour
After flour milling
is done, small contents of oxidizing and bleaching agents are added to the flour in order to improve the content of vitamins and other minerals. The flour is then left to mature for about one to two months.
Once all that is said and done, the flour is tested to make sure that it can be suitable for its purpose and that it meets the governments requirements in terms of vitamins and minerals.