« AnteriorContinuar »
the United States. The respective uses of hard and soft-wheat flour are well defined and clearly recognized by bakers, millers, and wholesale dealers. Soft-wheat flour has more starch and less gluten than hard-wheat flour. It makes a whiter, and, in a certain popular estimation, a more attractive loaf, but it is less nutritious, and has a poorer flavor. Tenacity of gluten, so essential for good bread, becomes undesirable “toughness” in pastry and cake. In pastry, porosity is rendered unnecessary by ‘‘shortening,” and in cake it is obtained with greater delicacy by adding the beaten albumen of eggs. Soft-wheat flour, having less gluten, is most suitable for these products. The thinly rolled and thoroughly baked cracker has the best color, texture and crispness when made from soft-wheat flour. Pastry and cake in some of their many varied forms are so universally a part of the daily diet of America and Europe that softwheat flour ‘s sometimes designated in the markets as “pastry'' flour. Durum-Wheat Flour.—The flour from durum wheats has hitherto been used chiefly in the manufacture of macaroni and similar products. Its special sitness for this is its high gluten content. Bread made from this flour has a fine flavor, but a dark color. Because of the latter fact, and because of the fact that durum wheat requires special milling processes, there has been a prejudice against it as a bread wheat. With the great increase in the production of durum wheats in the United States, these difficulties are being removed, and it is very probable that its use for bread-making will greatly increase. It has long been used as a bread wheat in parts of Russia and France. Graham' Flour contains the whole grain, and is made by cleaning the wheat and grinding it to a moderate degree of fineness. Soft wheat is the most suitable for making this flour, which, however, is used chiefly for bread. Entire-Wheat Flour is prepared by a process similar to that used in milling graham flour, only that between the cleaning and grinding it is run through a machine which removes the three outer layers of the berry. This leaves the cerealin in the flour, but removes the bran. This also is a bread flour.
1 so called from Graham, a temperance reformer of a century ago, who advocated bread made from unbolted meal as an aid in curing alcoholisin. o
Self-Raising Flour is produced by mixing leavening agents with flour, such as form the essential constituents of ordinary baking powder. The addition of water liberates the carbon dioxide, and a spongy dough results. Self-raising flour has had little commercial importance.
The Comparative Value of Different Flours.-The nourishment that can be obtained from flour depends upon its chemical composition and digestibility. Of the different flours that can be made from the same lot of wheat, graham flour contains the greatest proportion of protein and phosphates. Experiments have shown, however, that patent flour has the greatest amount of available or digestible protein and other food elements. More phosphates are present in white bread than are needed or absorbed by the body. The lower digestibility of graham flour is due to the bran, both because of its resistance to digestion, and because of its playsiological action. The lower grades of flour, although not of such a fine white color, are yet highly nutritious, and yield a bread that is quite thoroughly digested. Since nitrogenous foods are proportionately more expensive than starchy foods, and since wheat is cheaper than lean meat, all wheat products are economical food, and those containing a high percentage of gluten are especially so.
Commercial Brands or Grades of Flour.—To a greater or less extent each miller manufactures a flour that, on account of the closeness of grinding, the proportions of the different kinds of wheat, or for other causes, is peculiar to his mill. His flour is branded, and a trade arises for his particular brand. As he has a monopoly of this brand, his business is largely non-competitive. While the brands of flour reduce competition for the wholesaler, they increase competition for the retailer, who must meet in the brands that he handles the prices of all other brands. The wholesale baking trade generally demands a sharp granular flour with a great capacity for absorbing water, whereas the household trade requires a finer granulation and a whiter color. The foreign trade prefers a strong granular flour with little regard to color, for the flour bleaches during the time consumed in transportation. In some of the larger markets, authorized flour inspectors stamp the packages with a brand which indicates the date of the inspection, the weight of the package, and the condition and quality of the flour. In St. Louis the standard grades are, in descending order of qualitv and whiteness, *atent, Extra Fancy, Fancy, Choice and Family. Besides improving in color, flour also yields a larger loaf as it grows older. When properly stored, the only loss is in the power of absorbing water. Flour readily absorbs undesirable odors, such as those of pine wood, kerosene, and smoked meats. Human Foods Made from Wheat.—Not only does wheat have great superiority in sustaining life, but a large variety of healthful, palatable and attractive foods are made from it, either wholly or in part. Breads, pastries, crackers, breakfast foods and macaroni, of almost endless variety in composition, form and appearance are now found on table and market. Many of these have a comparatively recent origin, while others of a more remote origin have come into general use only in recent times. Wheat foods alone do not furnish proper nutrition for the body, for an amount sufficient to supply the requisite protein would furnish more than the requisite carbollydrates. Bread is the oldest and most important product made from wheat. It supports life better than any other single food except milk, and it is the most staple food of modern civilization The baking of bread is older than history. The prehistoric Swiss Lake Dwellers baked bread as early as the Stone Age. From the burnt specimens that have been disinterred, it was found that they did not use meal, but that the grains were more or less crushed. The ancient Egyptians carried the art of baking to a high perfection. Lippert maintains that the baking of leavened bread was practiced longest by the Egyptian and Semitic peoples. The Jews, however, still hold one feast in memory of the old form of unleavened bread. The bread: of the Homeric Greeks is supposed to have been a kind of unleavened cake baked in ashes. The ancient Greeks had at least 62 varieties of bread. An oven containing 81 loaves of bread similar to the bread of modern times was found in Pompeii. “Strong” and ‘‘Weak’’ Bread Flour.—The higher the gluten content of flour, the more water it will absorb in the dough; consequently it will yield more bread, and is known as “stronger” flour. Baker's bread is sold according to its
weight in the dough, and a barrel of hard-wheat flour will make several pound loaves more than a barrel of soft-wheat flour. The weight of the dough and the size of the baked loaf are largely determined by the quantity and quality of the gluten. One hundred pounds of flour will make about 160 pounds of dough and about 140 pounds of bread. The flavor of the bread depends to a great extent upon the gluten and oil of the flour. These two compounds give the desirable “nutty’’ character so prominent in hard-wheat bread. At the present day, first-class bakers generally use but one grade of standard flour for making bread. Every barrel of such flour is numbered at the mills where it is made, and if the quality should happen to be inferior, a report is made to the mill, and from the number of the barrel the mill determines the date when the flour was milled, its composition, and whether other similar complaints have been made concerning the same flour. The disliculty is thus located and remedied. Flour of the first-class standard grades costs from 10 to 25 cents per barrel more than other flours which are often just as good, and which are frequently used, although less reliable. Yeast.—The making of leavened bread requires the use of yeast, a fungous plant. Three forms of yeast have been used in making bread: Brewer's yeast, which is that used by brewers in malting; German yeast, also called dried or compressed yeast, which consists of sporules only, and contains little moisture and no gas; and patent yeast, which is a thin watery liquid prepared from an infusion of malt and hops. Mechanical Processes.—The most primitive method of making bread consisted merely in soaking the whole grain in water, subjecting it to pressure, and then drying it by natural or artificial heat. Perhaps the simplest form of bread and the rudest baking of modern times are found in the Australian ‘‘damper.’’ Dough composed of flour, salt and water is made into cakes, which are baked in the dying embers of a wood fire. There have been no great modern improvements in machinery for making bread. A quarter of a century ago it was still made and baked much as it was in ancient Greece. The sponge was mixed and the dough kneaded by machinery, but as yet there had been failure to make loaves by machinery. Except in the formation of loaves, perhaps, there seem to have been no marked improvements during the last 25 years. The Modern Bakeshop.–The statutes generally require bakeshops to be inspected and kept in healthful condition. Each baker contracts by the year with a specialist to keep insects out of his establishment. The specialist visits the place at least once every three months whether insects appear or not. He receives a notification if but a single bug appears. His work is performed so thoroughly that it is exceptional if a bug is seen at all. The following description is of a representative, moderately large-sized bakeshop which uses from 25 to 60 barrels of flour per day, and daily bakes from 7,500 to 20,000 loaves of bread. Each day the flour for the next day's baking is sifted. The sifter consists of a rotary brush running over a sieve, and it sifts the flour as fast as an attendant empties the barrels, about one each minute. All machinery is operated by electricity. The bakeshop is three stories high, and the sifting is done on the third floor. The sifted flour descends to a bin under the ceiling of the second floor. Under this bin, and on the second floor, is located the mixer. It has a capacity of four barrels of flour. The water, milk, lard, sugar, yeast, malt extract and salt are first placed into the mixer, and then the flour is added. Two parts of moisture are used to one of flour. Compressed yeast is used, and more is required in winter than in summer. The arms of the mixer revolve at a comparatively slow rate, about once in every two seconds, throwing the dough from side to side. The mixing operation requires 30 minutes. A large spout extends through the floor to the room below. As soon as the dough is in proper condition, the mixer is turned over, and the bread descends through the spout to the floor below, into the large bread trough which has been rolled under the spout. In this trough it rises about three hours. Thus far no hand has touched the bread, but some handwork now becomes necessary. Enough dough is weighed for 12 loaves, which are then cut out at one operation with an air pressure machine. After the loaves are cut they are molded by being run through the molding machine, of which the capacity is theoretically 60 loaves a minute, but in practice only about 40. The loaf is molded or rolled by an endless