USW Sub Sahara Millers course June 2018
Course participants score the dough before putting it in the oven allowing it to expand during the baking process. Left to right are: Hakeem Alabi, Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC; Tanya Erwee, Premier FMCG; Emmanuel Elechukwu, Dangote Flour Mills Ikorodu-Lagos Nigeria; and Olayode Muhammed, Honeywell Flourmills PLC. Photos courtesy of KSU.
MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Ten participants representing various milling positions from Nigeria and South Africa attended the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) for a training on flour milling.

The participants gained knowledge through lectures and hands-on training exercises led by Kansas State University  faculty and staff during June 18-29 at the IGP Institute Conference Center in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S.

“We have been working through the entire milling process really highlighting a lot over the last couple weeks about the benefits of blending U.S. wheats, primarily hard winter wheats, with lower quality wheat to improve finished flour quality and functionality,” said Shawn Thiele, flour milling and grain processing curriculum manager.

USW Sub Sahara Millers course June 2018
Justin Howie, plant manager for Farmer Direct Foods, explains to participants the machinery in the flour mill while they toured. 
The topics covered in the course included wheat classes; wheat structure; end use functionalities; U.S.  wheat grading standards; storage and quality management; U.S. grain production and marketing system; principles of wheat cleaning and conditioning; milling math, including blending; wheat and flour blending; flour and dough testing; flour functionality; understanding the quality of finished baked foods using blended flours, overview of the milling systems, flow sheets design, function, fluting tables and nomenclature; starch damage; using cumulative attribute curves for blending and quality control; and managing the process and impact of wheat quality.

Along with lectures and hands-on exercises in the Hal Ross Flour Mill and Shellenberger Hall Baking Lab, the course participants toured the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center; Farmer Direct Foods; Cargill; Kejr Farms; the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service; General Mills, Inc.; Boulevard Brewing Co.; and the USDA Agriculture Research Service.

USW Sub Sahara Millers course June 2018
Kansas wheat farmer Joe Kejr explains to participants the process of harvesting wheat and how the recent rain has affected the harvest.
“I have realized again how important it is to be a miller, how much stuff we can do to improve our mills and to put a good quality product out,” said Pieter Lombard, head miller at Pioneer Foods. “It is interesting because sometimes you get caught up in just doing the work and keeping the mill running.”

He emphasized that when he returns to the mills he will be conducting new testing because of his training.