Wheat Milling Process

The wheat plant is grown from wheat seed called the kernel. Most wheat plants grow to the height of two to four feet. The plant's part that is harvested for food production (wheat head) can yield fifty to seventy five seeds/kernels. The kernels are small and dry, well suited for storage and transport. Wheat seeds are milled into flour. Wheat milling is the process by which wheat is ground into flour.

wheat milling process

What are the steps of wheat milling process?

The wheat milling process involves separating the wheat grain into its constituents that is the germ, bran, and endosperm. It follows the steps below. However, wheat milling is more complex than is conveyed by this simplified view. Preparing the wheat;The wheat is weighed, inspected then graded. The grain is separated by size, shape and weight.

Cleaning;Here, the wheat is cleaned to remove impurities such as sticks and stones and other course and fine materials. The whole pure wheat is then passed for further processing into the conditioning bins.

Tempering and conditioning;At this stage in the wheat milling process, soaking of the wheat in water takes place for easy removal of the bran. Conditioning is done before milling to ensure moisture content is uniform throughout the grain. Moisture helps to prevent the bran (outer layer) from breakage during milling.

Gristing;Gristing refer to the blending of conditioned and cleaned wheat. At this stage different wheat batches are mixed to create the required specific kind and quality of flour.

Separating;The grist goes through a series of rolls rotated at various speed levels. The rolls only split the wheat grain open to separate the inner white portion form the bran.

Milling;The wheat is ground by a machine that crush it into pieces. It is then put through sifters from which the meal obtained starts out course. With repeated grinding and sifting, the meal becomes fine flour, wheat germ and wheat bran. These can be sold separately, used to produce different flours or used together to produce whole meal flour.

Blending;Here, constituents are mixed together to produce different flours. For instance, a blend of wheat bran and white flour produce whole wheat flour.

Different types of flour

  • White flour is produced from early rolls. The flour gets less white on later rolls with the increased amount of bran particles.
  • Brown flour is produced as a mixture of the other streams and white flour.
  • Whole meal flour is produced when all the other streams are mixed back in their original quantities. The left over wheat feed and brans are sometimes used in animal feed and breakfast cereals.

It should be noted that the flour types to be produced are affected by the different qualities of wheat going into the mill. Millers can ensure further feature variations such as flour colour by mixing together the different streams of flour produced by the mill.

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