Durum, Pasta and Noodles

1. Where is durum wheat grown?
Throughout the world, provided that the climatic conditions are suitable (warm and dry). The biggest exporting countries are Canada, USA and Australia.

2. Is there an alternative to durum wheat?
No. In spite of all the successful breeding and selection with soft and hard wheat and so much technological development there is no alternative. But the properties of pasta made from Triticum aestivum can be greatly enhanced by adding egg, gluten and especially enzymes.

3. What importance does flour treatment have for the quality of pasta?
We occasionally find pasta flours that have been treated with ascorbic acid. It is doubtful whether they have a positive effect on the end product. It is probably more a question of adherence to specifications whose values have been determined by rheological methods. But enzymes, especially those with a hemicellulolytic or lipolytic effect, can bring about a great improvement in quality. However, in most cases their use will depend on the difference in price between high-quality wheat and an inferior grade.

4. Are there other applocations for durum products besides pasta?
Yes, in special types of bread (e.g. in Italy and Greece) and in baked products in general to produce a crumb with a yellowish tinge. The baking properties are good and come up to those of hard wheat.

5. What possibilities do flour improvers and baking agents offer for enhancing the quality of pasta products?
Emulsifiers, above all monoglycerides and lipolytic and hemicellulolytic enzymes, can be used to improve processing characteristics, the quality of the products and eating properties.

6. Why do uncooked noodles darken, and how can this be avoided?
Polyphenol oxidase present in flour causes oxidation and polymerization of phenolic components and thus the formation of brown pigment in wheat flour dough. Refrigeration or immediate cooking or frying prevents browning.

7. What is the best wheat for Asian Noodles?
Lists many suitable wheat varieties. Generally speaking, the wheat should not be too hard in order to reduce starch damage; it should be low in ash and polyphenol oxidase to ensure a bright colour.

8. Can noodle dough be evaluated by standard rheological methods?
Rheological methods were developed for bread doughs with a much higher water addition rate than noodle doughs. The Farinograph, Extensograph and Alveograph cannot therefore be used for evaluating noodle doughs. Nevertheless, an experienced person will be able to correlate at least some of the figures obtained by these methods with the noodle making properties of flour.

In addition, the pasting properties of the flour obtained from the Alveograph of the RVA, and to some extent also from the Falling Number device, give valuable information on the processing properties of noodle flour.
9. Is there a correlation between the protein content of durum wheat and pasta quality?
The quality of pasta increases with the protein content. At least 12% is necessary for good quality pasta.

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