Grains and Flours
- Identify and describe grains and flours used in the food service industry
- Describe the milling and processing of grains and flours
- Describe the function of grains and flours in baking
Grains and flours are a broad category of ingredients used in the food service industry, and in baking in particular. When we refer to “flour” we generally mean wheat flours, but there are a wide variety of grains and other plants that are used both whole and ground in various forms.
Canadian grown grains processed for the food industry in Canada include:
- Cereals – wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale, corn, and rice
- Oilseeds – canola, flaxseed, mustard, safflower, soybeans, sunflower
- Pulses (grain legume), beans, chick peas, fava beans, lentils, peas
- Ancient and heritage – spelt, kamut, quinoa, emmer (also known as farro), einkorn, red fife
- Other specialty grains – grown for special markets
Conventionally grown grains (grown with the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides) account for a much larger volume than organically grown grains (grown without the use of chemical fertilizers). The demand for organic and whole grain flours has grown immensely over the past decade as consumers learn more about the nutritional benefits of true whole grains and become increasingly concerned about the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Ancient and heritage grains are also becoming more readily available in Canada, particularly in organic farming communities.
We will look at each of the main types of grains and flours in greater depth, starting with the most common, wheat.