The End Product
In the UK, flour millers use some 5 million tonnes of wheat annually to produce over 4 million tonnes of flour.
UK millers produce flour for a competitive domestic market, with approximately 60% used for bread making, often delivered to the bakeries by bulk tanker. Pre-packed flour, as seen on supermarket shelves constitutes approximately 3% of the market. Approximately 4% of production is exported annually. Other users of flour include the biscuit and cake industries, starch manufacturers and food ingredients companies.
Thanks to the skill of the miller, the variety of flours now available is immense, from basics such as white, brown or wholemeal through malted grain and stoneground as well as more specialist flours. Within the past few years there has been an increasing demand for specialist flours such as organic and gluten free.
More unusual flours such as buckwheat, sorghum and spelt are also increasingly common and many large mills can now blend bespoke flours for specific customers.
White flour - made from the starchy endosperm only; bran and germ are removed as co-products.
Brown flour - produced through the inclusion of bran along with the white endosperm. The amount of bran retained can be varied, though brown flour is unlikely to contain less than 5% bran and wheatgerm.
Wholemeal flour - this contains every element of cleaned wheat; thus wholemeal flour has exactly the same composition as the wheat from which it was milled.
You can learn more about flour, its properties and health benefits by visiting the Flour Advisory Bureau web site at www.fabflour.co.uk