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9 numbers behind...wheat flour

9 numbers behind...wheat flour

More than 750 million tons are consumed every year: it's certainly a lot but how much do we really know about wheat flour? And how is it produced?

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2 main types of flour interest us most when we are not referring to their origin; those of "soft wheat", deriving from the Triticumaestivum, and those of “durum wheat”, deriving from the Triticumdurum. In actual fact, in the case of the latter, the package indicates that it is “semolina” which explains why we mean soft wheat flour when referring to the plain variety.

3 main phases are involved in flour production. Once the grains have been obtained, they need to be purified, to eliminate any straw, residue or foreign grains. At this point, the grains go through the conditioning phase, which consists in soaking them to facilitate grinding and the separation of the bran. The next and final phase is grinding, which is when the grains pass through rotating cylinders. This phase may even be repeated several times, according to the type of flour being produced.

4 great families of flour exist, which are named after the plant they come from. So, we have grain flours (wheat, corn, rice, spelt, millet, teff, rye, atta and tang), non-grain flours (moringa, buckwheat, hemp, quinoa, amaranth), those made from pulses (soy, broad bean, chick pea, pea, bean) and starch flours (potato, chestnut, cornstarch, cassava root). Then we have the so-called “rare flours”, which in actual fact are no longer in use: typha, taro and acorn.

5 different levels of “purity” apply to flour: 00 or pastry flour, 0 or all-purpose flour, 1 or high gluten flour, 2 or first clear flour, and wholegrain or white wholewheat. The 00-type is called “superfine flour” since it is so refined as to contain only the internal part of the grain. Then, the other levels are established according to the percentage of bran they contain, down to wholewheat flour which is produced by grinding the grains and removing only a small percentage of bran.

125 grams of 00-type flour are sufficient to make 12 delicious pancakes to serve with jams, syrup, cream and fresh fruit. You will also need 25 grams of butter, 2 egg, baking powder for cakes, 200 grams of full fat fresh milk and 20 grams of sugar. Melt the butter over a low heat and when lukewarm blend it with the previously beaten egg yolks (setting aside the whites). Mix well and then add the milk gradually, beating vigorously with a hand whisk. Combine the flour and baking powder on one side and add this mixture to the bowl with the butter and the other ingredients. Beat the egg whites separately with the sugar until they form soft peaks and then gently fold into the rest of the mixture. Heat a non-stick pan and start to spoon enough mixture into the pan to make individual pancakes. When cooked on both sides, add the filling of your choice and sit down to a delicious breakfast. If you're looking for the pefect tips to make pancakes like a boss, don't miss our ultimate pancake mixture recipe.

130 million tons of flour are consumed in the European Union, which is the geographical area which consumes most worldwide. China follows with 120 million tons while India occupies a constant third place with an annual consumption of around 95 million tons, followed by the United States which consumes 60 million tons.

366 Kcal is the energy content of 100 grams of 00-type flour. In the same quantity of flour, we also find 9.71 grams of proteins, 76.22 grams of carbohydrates, 1.48 grams of fats and 2.4 grams of fibre. On the other hand, in 100 grams of wholewheat flour, which generate 340 Kcal, we find 13.21 grams of proteins, 72 grams of carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of fats.

755 million tons of flour are produced on our planet every year. The world's number one producer is the European Union with a total of approximately 150 million tons. Hot on its heels comes China (134.3), then India (98.5), Russia (85.9), United States (47.3), France (36.9), Australia (31.8), Canada (39), Pakistan (26.7) and Ukraine (26.2).

2400 industrial mills are currently at work in the European Union, the area with the highest engagement in this industry. Of these, 416 are situated in France, 410 in Poland, 300 in Romania, 233 in Italy and 212 in Germany. A census of 1990, however, revealed the existence of more than 5000 industrial mills.

 

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