The role of quality control in flour production

06 October 20225 min reading

The name of the person whose bread was not eaten in his life is not mentioned after its death..”

Sheikh Sadi

As a strategic crop, wheat is the most nutritionally important grain in human life for generations. Wheat and the products obtained by grinding wheat are used in the production of many product types in the food industry, and are also evaluated in different industries. In the wheat-based food industry, the quality of the raw material is the most influential factor on the final product properties. The most important problem is that it is not always possible to reach sufficient tonnage, high quality, economical and homogeneous wheat. Wheat quality can have different meanings for the region where the wheat is grown, the farmer who grows it, the mill where the wheat is ground, and the industrialist who processes the final product. 

Serhap Varan
General Coordinator

In terms of bakery, the most important factor determining the technological characteristics and market conditions of wheat is the protein amount and quality of the wheat. Although bread, which is our most important source of nutrition, seems simple and easy to produce at first glance, it is a very complicated product that requires a lot of effort and attention due to the diversity of the final product, production process / technologies and raw material differences. The same misconception about bread also applies to flour, which is the raw material of bread. When you say “flour” for people outside the flour production sector, the white food that comes to mind is the same for almost every product type. However, for people who are in many sectors such as bakery, biscuits and phyllo, each flour is completely different from each other. This difference is both physical, chemical and technological.

Flour, which is the basic raw material of bread, differs in the final product due to the infrastructure of the raw material from which it is produced, the diagram characteristics of the factory where it is milled, and the tolerance characteristics of the flour developers used. As bread couldn’t be made from every flour, it is not possible to produce the desired flour type from every wheat. For this reason, access control tests (moisture, protein, gluten determination, falling number, sedimentation analysis) are carried out in laboratories in order to determine the characteristics of wheat entering the factory in almost all flour factories. 

In the production of suitable flour, the milling process stage of the wheat and the milling technology are as important as the importance of the raw material for the standard flour quality. In this case, the equipped quality control laboratory and the technical personnel at the production stage work in coordination and intervene in production when necessary. These interventions are very important in terms of standard product quality and saving energy and depreciation for the business.

In terms of the bakery industry, the analyzes carried out in flour quality control after the flour is produced and before it is shipped prevent the determination of whether the flour is produced in accordance with its purpose, thus preventing the occurrence of possible customer complaints. These controls can be grouped under three main headings as physical, chemical and technological.

The first of these is the physical property of flour. In the physical examination, which can also be done visually, it is checked whether there is “pique” and the whiteness of the flour. The excess of “pique” indicates the presence of bran element in the flour and is an undesirable situation.

Determination of chemical properties, which is in the second place in the quality evaluation of flour, is related to the protein amount and protein quality of the flour. The gluten content of the produced flour is one of the most important criteria. It is extremely important for every producer that the flour can become dough when combined with water, that is, the content and quality of gluten protein, which provides its elastic structure. Moisture, ash and protein contents are also controlled.

The technological properties of flour are the most important evaluation point in terms of bread making. These analyzes (Farinograph and Extensograph), in which the rheological properties are determined, serve to predict how the flour will behave in the dough kneading, resting (fermentation), baking stages, which are the process of transformation into bread. The values ​​obtained from these analyzes are; As resistance, how much the dough can resist the applied force, how much the dough can make a base as elongation, the tendency of the dough to return to its former structure after processing as elasticity, and how much activity it can show in the baking phase as energy. How much the dough rises during the fermentation stage is related to the enzyme activity in the flour. At the same time, it is important how much the dough can swell during the fermentation stage, as well as how much gas it can hold in its body. This is related to both the quality of the yeast used and the elastic properties of the flour. As a result of all these controls, flour types are made suitable for the purpose by dosing with suitable flour improvers. The needs arising from the research that goes one step further every day are followed by the leading flour developer companies that have served this sector for years, intertwined with the sector, and these companies cause innovations in their own fields.

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