NCI rheology course: Understanding quality tests

Farm Forum

Fargo, N.D. – Eleven participants from Canada, Guatemala, Senegal, and USA attended the Rheology of Wheat and Flour Quality course last week at Northern Crops Institute, where they will learn about all aspects of quality analysis from kernel quality, milling, rheology analysis, and baking evaluation.

Each participant had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the rheological instruments. They focused on tests for gluten content, falling number, flour color, ash content, moisture, starch damage, and speck count. Equipment training included the Buhler lab mill, Alveograph, Mixolab, RVA, Farinograph, Extensograph, TA-XT Plus, and C-Cell Technology.

Hands-on baking sessions helped participants understand the impact of flour quality on baked products and baking performance, and how to perform tests to evaluate the baked product’s quality.

“The underlying theme of this course is customer service as it relates to the baking industry,” says John Crabtree, NCI Assistant Director and coordinator of the educational programs. “Baking professionals need to understand the differences in wheat and flour quality, and how those differences can affect baking performance. Six classes of wheat are produced in the U.S., and these six classes have different end-use properties.”

Topics of the course were: an overview of the U.S. wheat classes; factors that define wheat and flour quality; impact of milling on wheat flour quality; impact of protein and starch on end product quality; characterization of mixing, fermentation, and baking processes; and functional ingredients in flour and flour based products.

Speakers for the course were Rachel Carlson, NCI Food Technologist; Natsuki Fujiwara, NCI Food Technologist; David Hahn, Ph.D., NCI Director of Technical Services and Business Development; Alyssa Hicks, NCI Milling Specialist; and Robert Meyer, Dakota Specialty Milling.

Northern Crops Institute (NCI) supports regional agriculture and value-added processing by conducting educational and technical programs that expand and maintain domestic and international markets for northern-grown crops. NCI is funded by the states of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and commodity groups in those states and Montana.