author Elena Zheleznyak Source: 🔗

Wheat: selection and storage

For me, the question of choosing high-quality grain has been open for a very long time, just go and buy a bag of good wheat for homemade flour, you know, can be a daunting task. Even with several sources, you need to be able to make a choice, and for this you need to have an idea of ​​what quality wheat should be.

Wheat: selection and storage

It was important for me that the grain had all the necessary documents confirming the quality, and that it could be bought directly in the city, so that in the future I would be able to replenish stocks at any time.

On the market, you can mainly find fodder wheat of 5-6 class, in which there is practically no gluten and a number of other bad defects, it is mainly sold in buckets for animal feed. The one that is sold for germination, the so-called "food", also does not want to take: it is not known what class it really is, and the cunning grandmothers want too much for it. The last time I saw, my aunt was standing, selling a glass of rye (about 200 gr.) For 12 hryvnyas, (48 rubles Russian rupees, if anything) and wheat for about the same money. I consider it unreasonably expensive for a completely unknown grain.

During my search, I managed to look, touch, taste a lot of all kinds of wheat, and I must say that it almost all resembles each other, like twin sisters. Moderately weedy, with admixtures of sand and earth, with particles of ears, brown or spotted, sometimes badly damaged or very dry, withered. It tastes almost the same, sometimes sweetish, sometimes bitter. Here, for example, on the left is feed wheat, and on the right is a higher class. What is the fundamental difference between this wheat, you can't tell right away

Wheat: selection and storage Wheat: selection and storage

I remember my first acquaintance with wheat gluten: my brother and I were little, maybe we just went to school (late 80s), and we dreamed of chewing gum. An attack of acute desire for chewing gum happened to us exactly at my grandmother's in the village on summer vacation, in a beautiful, picturesque and, in general, far from civilization, village in the Kursk region. That is, there is no gum and nowhere to come from. We then tried to roll balls of gray bread, like from plasticine, chew what happened, chew paper with sugar and jam, fruit resin from cherry trees, but everything was not right. Until they tried to chew a handful of wheat out of curiosity. In her mouth, she miraculously turned into a lump of elastic rubber, however, all speckled with particles of chewed grain, but it was she - a gum with a taste of wheat. We were jubilant because we had figured out the secret of the gum. I then could not have imagined that I would remember this funny experience for the rest of my life and, moreover, it would be useful to me later! So, all the wheat that I had a chance to chew on the market never turned into a piece of wheat chewing gum, and this already says something!

Having such a serious experience behind me, it was still not enough for me, I wanted a more detailed and serious approach, at least more serious than childhood memories. I asked millers and textbooks, and they told me that in order to obtain whole wheat flour in industries, they usually use grain of the second class (and there are six of them), in which the gluten content varies from 23 to 27%. This wheat has certain indicators of moisture, glassiness, and other indicators, but all these characteristics cannot be determined by eye, laboratory studies and documents should speak about them.Therefore, when choosing, first of all, it is worth paying attention to how the grain looks, based on its "external data", you can make at least some initial conclusions about its quality. It should be a muted orange or brown color, preferably without spots. In addition, it should be "full" to the touch, not dry, not shriveled, not germinated. Wet soft grain can speak of marriage, but moisture is also difficult to judge by external signs, it can be hard and full at first glance, but inside it be damp. The moisture content of the wheat grain should be about 14%, but, again, this can only be said about the documents that are attached to this grain.

The main pests of wheat - weevils and bugs-turtles (sorry for the stupidity, ninja turtles are immediately remembered)), leave behind traces that are clearly visible to the naked eye: this is grain with voids, beaten, "eaten away" from the inside. Usually this is used for animal feed, it is almost impossible to wash gluten out of it, and bread made from defective flour will be terrible and inedible: sticky, low, cracked, blurred, in general, one chagrin.

Here, for example, a grain affected by a weevil (right) the weevil itself (left). It is immediately noticeable that the whole wheat is like a sieve.

Wheat: selection and storage Wheat: selection and storage

And here is a bug-turtle and grain affected by this pest.

Wheat: selection and storage Wheat: selection and storage

Photos of beetles from the Internet

By the way, similar losses in quality are expected for products made from flour, ground immediately after harvesting - the dough will disobey, tear, and the bread will be ugly, tasteless, with a lot of defects. The thing is that freshly harvested wheat, before turning into flour, must lie down for 45 days. Then the grain is cleaned with air from admixtures of sand, earth and other debris (this is done using special equipment, I do it manually at home), and, in fact, flour is ground. yba

This is the kind of rubbish I chose from a handful of my wheat of an undefined class.

Wheat: selection and storage

It is important that during maturation the wheat is stored in an open container or bags with constant air access, this will ensure the safety and oxygen access necessary for maturation. For this, fabric bags, wooden, glass or metal open containers, for example, such bunkers, are well suited. The same goes for flour. It is known that freshly ground flour must also undergo an oxidation process, ripen in order to improve its baking properties. Under the influence of oxygen, gluten becomes stronger, and the lower the percentage of gluten in flour, the more noticeably its properties improve. Flour with initially high levels of gluten also improves its qualities during the ripening process, but not as dramatically as it happens with weak flour. If wheat flour is left to ripen in a vacuum, such an experiment has already been carried out, nothing will happen to it, it will not improve in any way, but it will not worsen either. Therefore, it is very important to store flour in containers that allow the flour to "breathe".

L. Ya. Auerman in his textbook "Technology of bakery production", claims that whole grain or wallpaper flour should ripen for about 3 weeks, in fact, in production, even a small one, it ripens in a shorter time - about two weeks, or even immediately after grinding goes to implementation. At the same time, the shelf life of whole grain flour is not as long as, for example, premium flour. White wheat flour of the first and highest grade can lie for more than three years without damage and only improve its quality. But whole grain flour should not be stored for long - about six months, due to the fact that it contains all the components of the grain and, including wheat germ, containing large quantities of valuable oils. And wheat germ oil, in turn, contains unique vitamins (A, E, D, B vitamins), microelements (potassium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc, selenium, copper, sulfur, iodine, etc.) .) and essential fatty acids (Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9).It is the latter, by the way, that provide a short century of useful flour - they oxidize rather quickly and the oil of the embryo goes rancid. Such flour, first of all, ceases to be useful, begins to taste bitter, and the bread baked from it turns out to be bitter and has a musty smell of old butter. For example, until recently I kept flour in closed glass jars, but it turned out that this is fundamentally wrong: firstly, access to oxygen is closed, which prevents ripening, and secondly, flour, which naturally contains moisture, cakes, crumples and suffocates. Ideally, it should be stored in burlap or linen cloth bags.

In general, everything is logical, but I switched to storage in banks solely for reasons of protecting my stocks from pests. Before that, I tried to wrap cereals and flour in bags, jars and special containers, put several cloves of unpeeled garlic in them, but everything was in vain. Once a year, mainly in summer, small gray butterflies began to fly around the apartment to thunderous applause. Every time I had to throw everything away, hang useless moth-repelling fragrances in closets, and so on until the next visit of insolent insects. With the move to a new apartment, we seemed to get rid of moths, but this summer it appeared again and gobbled up reserves of wheat germ, bran and flax, a little flour and a whole mountain of cereals (I have not looked into a bag of malt and bran). I had to throw everything out again, wipe the cabinets with a weak solution of vinegar, drip lavender essential oil on the shelves to scare away the voracious beast. Yes, I have to admit, I slightly started up my bins and a whole settlement of uninvited guests formed there. At factories, too, anything happens, but most often the grain and flour do not lie there, and the reorganization of warehouses is carried out a couple of times a year stably, during periods when there is no grain or flour in them. For me, lavender essential oil was the way out, it is not only safe, but also beneficial for the body, and maintaining order on the shelves.

Returning to the question of grain for the mill. I still managed to solve this problem - to find high-quality reliable grain, supported by documents - just recently I bought a bag of second-class wheat. As I wrote earlier, I was actively looking for grain in the markets, even relatives from the village passed wheat for testing, but all this was grain of uncertain origin, and I could not reliably assess its quality. Private farms and small industries flatly refused to sell small quantities, like a bag or two, they were interested in "machine volumes" from "20 tons". But, as you know, if you really want to ... Now it remains to find where to buy rye!

As a result, I want to note that the quality of the grain depends on how the bread will turn out, how viable and "able-bodied" the leaven will be, and it will not work to "cheat" on it. Having tried it on my own experience, I can say that flour from the most affordable low-grade wheat, even with a strong desire, will not give a good result, therefore the only possible way is a proven grain, ideally with all the necessary documents confirming the quality and environmental friendliness (organic , bio). The latter means that wheat was grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, was not processed with any chemicals and grew on the land, which has not been treated with anything chemical for the past three years.
Tell us where they found ... The mill stands idle for a year (((
At home, you can determine the approximate quality of grain. Conduct an experiment, you will need: a glass jar with a capacity of 1 liter, a sufficiently accurate bizman or a balance with an accuracy of +/- 1.5 grams or similar, a bag for weighing. The essence boils down to the following, measure the nature of the grain by weighing. The nature is stipulated by GOST and corresponds to the class of grain. So, fill the jar with grain flush with the rim, pour into the weighing bag and weigh. The weight of the bakery nature should be 780 - 840 grams per liter.Anything below 780 is of little use for good bread. For comparison, at home weigh 1 liter of wheat groats, its nature will be about 700 grams.

Grain grain size values ​​are rounded. You can find out the exact values ​​of the class of grain in the State Standards for Grain.

In rye, the nature indicators will be slightly less than that of wheat.

I bought a hand-picked wheat grain for germination at the market. Weighed, nature 0.745 corresponds to 5 - 6 class of feed grain. The bread turned out to be blockaded.

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