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Thursday, 01 October 2015
A great story from WWII has an underlying message. The story centers around an outdated procedure practiced by Australian artillery units until, when tested under fire, it proved to directly result in a high casualty rate.
As legend has it, once the gun was sited in on a target, before firing, the requirement called for a solder to stand up in full view of the enemy. He would then smartly extend his arms horizontally, look quickly to the left and right and yell "clear". Back in the day when artillery pieces were repositioned with the aid of horses, when the gun was fired, they often bolted and ran off, leaving the weapon stranded. Having a soldier grab the reins and giving the "all clear" before firing made perfect sense. In fact, in peace time, this formality actually added a colorful element to artillery practice. Under hostile fire, the procedure was quickly abandoned.
For another great story with an underlying message, one first needs to refer to the Whole Grain Council May 2015 report. It notes that over 94% of commercially milled U.S. flour is refined flour produced on outdated roller mills. These are ingeniously designed to inefficiently (and unnecessarily) remove all the nutritional bran and germ elements to produce a refined (white) flour. In fact, most raw grain in the world is shipped to these centralized factories employing this 150 year old technology. Before milling, the grain is augured into massive tanks that are then flooded with water. The grain absorbs moisture for over twenty four hours and, once hydrated, it goes into a milling system that is so eclectic, it's actually amusing. It was ingeniously designed to effectively peel off all the bran and the germ elements of the kernel where, incidentally, most of the fiber and micro-nutrients reside. This leaves the white, starchy "endosperm" or roughly 80% of the kernel volume that we all know makes flaky croissants.
In contrast, the Unifine "impact" milling system, in one pass through the mill, simply subjects the dry grain to a high speed rotor. All the nutrition, great tastes and flavors of the whole grain kernel are instantly pulverized into a very fine flour. Baking with this flour has proven to yield the optimum "whole grain" outcome.
For baked products requiring a more refined flour, in the Unifine system, a high speed rotary sifter is simply employed to remove the larger flour particles. In the process, only 10% of the very fine whole grain flour volume is extracted. This compares favorably to the 20% that is eliminated when roller mills needlessly sift out all the bran and germ elements to produce refined (white) flour. With Unifine refined "Tawny White™" flour, the wonderful whole grain sensory experience is retained because most of the fiber and micro-nutrients remain. That's not the case in the inefficient production of refined flour using roller mills. Artisan bakers doing head/to/head "bench tests" give Tawny White flour rave reviews over roller milled refined (white) flour.
I suppose I should close this first Unifine blog post by explaining what the state of the world's flour milling has to do with the Australian artillery practices, but, I'll let you figure that out..
President of Unifine Mill LLC.