FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, U.S. — Eleven participants from Canada, Guatemala, Senegal and the U.S. are attending the Rheology of Wheat and Flour Quality course this week at Northern Crops Institute (NCI), where they will learn about all aspects of quality analysis from kernel quality, milling, rheology analysis, and baking evaluation. 

Each participant will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the rheological instruments. They are focusing on tests for gluten content, falling number, flour color, ash content, moisture, starch damage, and speck count. Equipment training includes the Bühler lab mill, Alveograph, Mixolab, RVA, Farinograph, Extensograph, TA-XT Plus, and C-Cell Technology.

Hands-on baking sessions help participants understand the impact of flour quality on baked products and baking performance, and how to perform tests to evaluate the baked product’s quality.

“The underlying theme of this course is customer service as it relates to the baking industry,” says John Crabtree, NCI assistant director and coordinator of the educational programs. “Baking professionals need to understand the differences in wheat and flour quality, and how those differences can affect baking performance. Six classes of wheat are produced in the U.S., and these six classes have different end-use properties. If a customer is asking about the performance of a particular flour, our course participants will be prepared to troubleshoot their ingredients with their customers through scientific methods.”

Topics of the course are:  an overview of the U.S. wheat classes; factors that define wheat and flour quality; impact of milling on wheat flour quality; impact of protein and starch on end product quality; characterization of mixing, fermentation, and baking processes; and functional ingredients in flour and flour based products.

Speakers for the course were Rachel Carlson, NCI Food Technologist; Natsuki Fujiwara, NCI Food Technologist; David Hahn, Ph.D., NCI Director of Technical Services and Business Development; Alyssa Hicks, NCI Milling Specialist; and Robert Meyer, Dakota Specialty Milling.