Cereals overview

Cereals overview - how we assess the breadmaking qualities of new wheat varieties - showing grain preparation, milling, flour and dough testing, dough mixing, baking and bread quality testing - using our extensive facilities for milling, flour analysis, pilot scale production of baked goods, and cereal research and technology.

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Bread is recognised as a staple food, and the underpinning quality of the flour is one of the key elements of the production of acceptable bread. This is of vital importance to the plant breeding industry who are continually looking to generate new varieties of wheat which give better performing flour and give ultimately more efficient, more effective bread production.

One of the key parts of the work within the cereals and cereal processing division of Campden BRI is helping plant breeders in understanding, in an objective way, the individual quality characteristics of their new wheat varieties. This is work that is done every year and typically follows a three-year cycle for individual varieties where they go through two years of what is called the national list system and the final year of being called the recommended list system. Varieties which are successful at each of these stages then become approved and recommended for production within the UK.

Within the process there are a number of key stages, these include milling, the quality testing of the resultant flour from that milling process, baking and then the testing of the final baked products. This requires not only skilled scientists but it also requires there to be a degree of practical application which allows for bakery technologists to play a significant part in the overall experimental plan and in the final analysis of the quality of the bread. In addition, the physical resource required, the ability to mill at a range of different scales, the ability to bake at different scales, and to be able to assess the quality of the baked products, each of these plays a very significant part in the overall ability to be able to meet the need of understanding wheat characteristics and how they impact on baking performance.

Within the cereals and cereal processing division at Campden BRI we are uniquely placed to enable us to have both the technical excellence to underpin the work, but also the ability to practically apply that work using a wide range of physical resources available to us. While the bakery technologist will be focused on the production of individual samples of bread, it is critical to remember that these samples of bread, in common with the wheat and the flour, are all individual parts of an overall experiment and therefore the ultimate quality of that bread is seen as a key output of that experiment, which relates directly to the quality of the wheat and the flour that go into the process. This output is critical for plant breeders who require objective data to allow them to move their breeding programs forward and that is what they rely on through the work that is provided within this testing round by Campden BRI. The particular example shown has demonstrated how we work to produce bread, similar examples exist when we're looking at a range of different bakery products and indeed snacks whether that be cakes, pastries, biscuits or extruded cooked snacks.

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