Flour is valuable, versatile and nutritious
Grains form the cornerstone of the diet for most people in the world. This is in part due to its versatility, but also because the proteins present in wheat allow the formation of gluten with elastic properties essential to the production of risen bread.
Although wheat is used for breakfast cereals and in the making of alcoholic drinks such as bier or gin, most is consumed in the form of flour. Today, the range of flours and breads available is wider than ever before. The skill of the European flour miller is paramount in ensuring that different types of wheat are gristed and milled to make flour with specific uses in mind.
Basic flour categories in Europe
All flours vary are classified according to the percentage of wheat grain present. This is know as the extraction rate. Wholemeal flour contains the whole grain and is therefore a 100% extraction-rate flour. Brown flour contains about 85% of the grain and white flour between 75-80% extraction.
- White - usually 75% of the wheatgrain. Most of the bran and wheatgerm have been removed during milling.
- Wholemeal - 100% extraction, made from the whole wheatgrain with nothing added or taken away.
- Brown - usually contains about 85% of the original grain, some bran and germ have been removed.
Wheat & flour quality
Flours vary in their composition and, broadly speaking, are defined by the quality of wheats used in the grist prior to milling and by their rate of extraction. The extraction is the percentage of whole cleaned wheatgrain that is present in the flour. A typical European mill will produce hundreds of different types of flour using a wide range of home-grown and imported wheats.