I arrived in Central Kansas in time to join a farm family picnic.
After I looked around the farm site, I asked to tour the flour mill down the road,
I arrived early in the morning and watched large semi trucks drive on to scales to weigh how much wheat they were hauling in to the mill. After the wheat is unloaded the truck weighs again. Next, the mill workers solve a subtraction problem to find out how much wheat the truck unloaded.
After another farm family joined us for the tour we dressed for safety. My hair net would help protect the flour from contamination…no one wants to find a hair in their food.
Randy, our tour guide, walked us to another building where the flour is packaged and stored. We learned that the flour is packaged in five pound and fifty pound bags.
This is a conveyor system that carries five pound bags to the next station.
I hopped on for a ride on a pallet as it was wrapped for shipping.
This pallet holds fifty fifty pound bags of flour.
Next, I saw stacks and stacks of flour waiting to be shipped out to businesses around the country. This flour is used by two different tortilla companies, a hot wings seasoning, government commodities for people in need of food assistance and baking mixes.
Due to safety restrictions I was not allowed in the milling building with my host family.
When we returned to the office I watched a short video describing the process of making flour from wheat. First, wheat is hauled to the mill on trucks from fields in June. Next, the wheat is sampled to check for quality. Once approved the wheat is cleaned..not with soap and water! Then, the wheat is sifted to remove stems and dust before being store in grain silos until it is time to be milled.
The milling process is a cycle of grinding the wheat, and sifting out the large pieces. Grinding those pieces and sifting out the large pieces. Grinding the large pieces and sifting out. Grinding and sifting until the wheat is the consistency the mill will approve to sell.
I learned a wheat kernel has many parts. White flour is made by grinding the soft inner part of the kernel. I learned about many types of flour.
1. Bread flour which has high protein to make yummy bread!
2. Cake flour which has low protein to make crumbly yummy cakes.
3. All purpose flour which is a compromise and can make either cake or bread!
4. Self-rising flour has added ingredients for making yummy biscuits.
5. Whole Wheat Flour is the ground with the entire kernel and is often mixed with other flours to make yummy food.
My tour ended with a gift from the flour mill to my host family. A five pound bag of flour. But my host decided five pounds would be to heavy for each of you to carry home after class today so I helped her pick out biscuit mix! Happy Baking! you can read about my other Agriculture adventures on NIcole’s website, Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom.