March 3, 2021

Wheat flour: Applications in the baking industry

Wheat (Triticum spp.) is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. It is a noble cereal of high global consumption, is produced in quantity and quality by a few countries and imported by developing countries, which in most cases do not have enough production to supply the internal market. Other cereal grains include corn (maize), oats, rice, and rye.

Wheat grain is a staple food used to make flour for leavened, flat and steamed breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereal, pasta, noodles, couscous and for fermentation to make beer, other alcoholic beverages. Wheat is more popular than any other cereal grain for use in baked goods. Its popularity stems from the gluten that forms when flour is mixed with water.

Wheat varieties are called:
· "Clean," "white," or "brown" if they have high gluten content
· "Soft" or "weak" flour if gluten content is low.
· "Hard" flour, or bread flour, is high in gluten, with 12% to 14% gluten content, and has elastic toughness that holds its shape well once baked.

Wheat flour is the finely ground product obtained in the milling of wheat, and consists essentially of the starch and gluten endosperm. Whole wheat flour contains all three parts of the kernel, white flour is milled from the endosperm. Whole wheat flour is considered a whole grain product because it contains the entire wheat kernel.

When flour is mixed with water, glutenin and gliadin form strands of gluten, important in the structure of baked goods. In fact, wheat is the only common cereal grain that contains sufficient glutenin and gliadin for the formation of good-quality gluten for bread making.

Wheat flour quality is directly related to the wheat gluten and with the use of appropriate application of mechanical work to form a viscoelastic network, the structure is the basis for bakery products and pasta.

Wheat is also preferred because of its mild, nutty flavor. Wheat flour is unique among cereals due to its ability to form a three-dimensional structure when mixed with water.

Wheat germ is high in protein, fat, B vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals. These nutrients are important to the germ as it sprouts. While germ protein does not form gluten, from a nutritional standpoint it is of a high quality.
Wheat flour: Applications in the baking industry

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