COLOUR GRADING: FLOUR
Flour is typically milled with a number of properties in mind, one of them being colour. The colour of flour directly affects it’s quality and therefore it’s price. Cake bread flour is the best grade that millers can achieve, this flour is valued for it’s smooth texture and whiteness. Flour grades then move from Cake Flour to Brown Bread Flour to Rye Flour, each require different milling times are receive a different market price.
In 1959, the first flour grading system was invented and although the Kent-Jones system was unreliable and the equipment no longer available, it was still being used. Objective colour measurement was then developed in the 1980s to try and replace this system, but the technology had not been developed to the point where it could be widely adopted and relied upon. With the introduction of the Konica Minolta CM-5 Spectrophotometer in 2009 a system could finally be developed. After about a years worth of research and a close working relationship with the company in question, the worlds first accurate, repeatable and reliable system to grade flour was created. Since then it has been adopted by South Africa’s largest milling companies and has become the de-facto standard for flour milling.
The primary challenge faced by a flour miller is time. When should I stop milling to achieve a certain grade of flour has often been asked. Managing milling time is crucial to running a successful mill. If you mill for too long you will miss the grade you want to achieve which can lead to a dangerous mill environment. If you mill for too little you will not reach the grade you were aiming for which leads to a less valuable flour.
Colour measurement can assist miller’s in the following ways:
- Managing milling time to optimize production
- Mill to a certain grade of flour that meets consumer demand
- Save time and money by controlling milling time with colour
- Limit customer rejections due to colour