Material & Useful Data
Flour has been made since primitive eras. The earliest methods
used for producing flour all involved grinding grain between
The millstone was a later development that consisted of one
vertical, disk-shaped stone rolling on grains. Millstones
were first operated by human or animal power. Later on, the
ancient Romans used waterwheels to power millstones.
Although most flour is made from wheat, it can also be made
from other starchy plants. These include corn, oats, buckwheat,
barley, lima beans, peanuts, potatoes, soybeans, rice, and
Numerous diversities of wheat exist for use in making flour.
In general, wheat is either hard (containing 11-18% protein)
or soft (containing 8-11% protein).
Flour intended to be used to bake bread is made from hard
wheat. The high percentage of protein in hard wheat means
the dough will have more gluten, allowing it to rise more
than soft wheat flour.
Flour intended to be used to bake cakes and pastry is made
from soft wheat.
All-purpose flour is made from a blend of soft and hard wheat.
Durum wheat is a special variety of hard wheat, which is used
to make a kind of flour called semolina. Semolina is most
often used to make pasta. In Lebanon, Semolina is widely used
for Lebanese sweets.
The quality control of flour begins when the wheat is received
at the flour mill. The wheat is tested for as many as 25 different
characteristics. Those tests can be grouped into 3 large categories:
Physical (test weight, moisture, etc
Chemical (contents in protein and ashes but also in
harmful elements etc
Rheological (water absorption, dough extensibility,
During each step of the milling process, several samples are
taken to ensure that no unfamiliar substance ends up in the
The final product of milling is tested for baking in laboratories
to guarantee that it is suitable for the uses for which it
A kernel of wheat consists of three parts, two of which can
be considered byproducts of the milling process.
The bran is the outer covering of the kernel and is
high in fiber.
The germ is the inmost share of the kernel and is high
The endosperm makes up the bulk of the kernel and is
high in proteins and carbohydrates.
Whole wheat flour uses all parts of the kernel, but
white flour uses only the endosperm.
Bran removed during milling is frequently added to
breakfast cereals and baked products for it is regarded as
an excellent source of fiber. It is also widely used in animal
Wheat germ removed during milling is often used as
a food supplement or as a source of edible vegetable oil.
It can also be used for feeding animals.