Improving flour quality

by Emily Wilson
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Dear editor,

I learned a lot from the article "European Flour Treatments" by Dr. Lutz Popper (see World Grain, January 2000), and would like to take this opportunity to seek his advice on improving the quality of my flour. I have been using flour improvers, mainly potassium bromate and alpha-amylase, on and off depending on the availability.

I am currently milling three types of wheat: Australian, American and Argentine. The Australian wheat is of good protein content and gives flour with high gluten content, and the dough has good extensibility. Therefore, I am using it for bread flour only. I usually add potassium bromate at 40 ppm and Fungamil (87,500 skb) at 0.6g/100kg flour. But, I am not getting very good oven spring with the bread flour. Can you please suggest ways I can improve the quality of my bread flour?

With the American and Argentina wheats, the gluten is too short and the dough tends to get cut and is not extensible. Although I am using these two wheats for general purpose flour, the performance is very poor because of the poor extensibility. The color of the flour also is quite dark. I have been adding Novadelox at 50 ppm but the difference is not much. Can you also suggest ways of improving this type of flour and possibly if I might be able to blend some percentage of these wheats into bread flour? I would also like to know if cysteine can be used with potassium bromate.

Patrick Mwitia, head miller

Agro Processing and Allied Products Ltd., Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania

Editor's reply: Dr. Lutz Popper of Muehlenchemie, Ahrensburg, Germany, writes, "Your reader, Patrick Mwitia, should wake up the tiger which is certainly sleeping in his good quality flour! All the mentioned flours often not only need plenty of alpha-amylase, but also hemicellulase. This would also be a means to improve the extensibility without jeopardizing the dough stability.

"Although cysteine can be used to increase the softness, it would partially interfere with the (action of) potassium bromate. Therefore, we would recommend achieving the desired softening with enzymes. The treatment Mr. Mwitia mentioned (about 50,000 SKB/100 kg) would be sufficient for a flour with a falling number of about 300 to 350. Since especially the flour from Australian wheat most probably has a falling number of above 400, the alpha-amylase addition could be increased to 100,000 or even 200,000 SKB/100 kg.

"Concerning the dark color, benzoyl peroxide should be able to bleach the flour. The usual addition rate varies between 30 and 150 ppm (pure benzoyl peroxide). Its effect already takes place in the flour, but it takes 24 to 72 hours to become visible. Novadelox contains probably 27% to 32 % benzoyl peroxide."

Dear editor,

I would like to thank you for your brilliant article, "European Flour Treatments" (see World Grain, January 2000). I'm specialized in flour formulation, and I found this article very interesting.

The author, Dr. Lutz Popper, wrote that "glucose oxidase doses range from 10 to 50 g per 100 kg of flour." When we use this enzyme its range is usually located between 1 to 5 g per 100 kg. His values astonished me. Also, I would like to know his detection method for L-cystein in flour.

Dr. Popper also writes that "Benzoyl peroxide is used in flours for export." I thought that it was impossible to use this product in the Communauté Européenne (European Community). Do you have some representation of this product which has been used in the E.C.?

Sébastien Jollet

Moulins Soufflet Pantin, France

Editor's reply: Dr. Popper writes, "There are indeed glucose oxidase preparations to be used at 1 to 5 g per 100 kg or even less, but 10 to 20 g or more is a usual and obviously more convenient level for many customers.

"Regarding the cysteine assay, prepare two solutions: Solution A with 4 grams sodium nitroso-ferricyanide/100 milliliters warm distilled water and Solution B with 5% ammonia. Prepare a wet Pekar sample, pour about 5 to 10 ml Solution A over the slab; wait 30 seconds, then pour Sol. B (5 to 10 ml) on the sample. After one minute, violet spots will appear and disappear after five minutes.

"Finally, Benzoyl peroxide is not permitted in Europe for treatment of flour, but it is being used for export flour (mainly for Africa), e.g. by some French mills. Hope this helps. Best regards also to Monsieur Jollet."

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