Running a Flour Quality Assessment.

Wheat flour constitutes over 50% of bread formulas and about 25% of cake formulas. So controlling the quality of this key ingredient is essential. It’s quality related to breadmaking performance is usually determined by:

  •  Protein content: Protein quantity in the wheat kernel is mainly dependent on cultivar, soil type, soil nutrients and crop climate conditions.
  • Composition of gluten-forming proteins (glutenins-to-gliadins ratio): Upon hydration, gliadins behave as a very extensible material, almost a viscous liquid, while glutenins as a cohesive solid. Although both influence gluten behavior, it is the larger polymeric glutenins that wield the greater influence on gluten quality.
  • Molecular size distribution of glutenins: High-molecular-weight (HMW) glutenin subunits have a major role in dough rheology and gluten strength.
  • Amount and location of cysteine residues of gluten-forming proteins that contain thiol groups, i.e. oxidation potential to form disulphide bonds which create gluten-starch matrices strong enough to retain CO2 during breadmaking.

What to look for in flour

When selecting flour for a given application, it is important to bear in mind that flour must be compatible with the intended processes and formulations, and comply with the required quality attributes for optimum end product results.

Quality attributes of flour directly related to food safety

  • Microbiological parameters
  • Mycotoxins and aflatoxins content
  • Heavy metals content
  • Pesticide residues

Quality attributes directly related to processability of flour:

  1. Moisture content
  2. Protein content
  3. Gluten content (wet and dry)
  4. Ash content
  5. Falling number (FN)
  6. Particle size distribution
  7. pH
  8. Hardness or softness of grain kernel (e.g. particle size index, PSI)
  9. Solvent retention capacity (SRC)

What factors determine the quality of bread or cake flour? Find out in our free technical paper! Download here.