Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our Wheat is Now Our Flour: Thanks CIGI!

We had a few choices about how we would turn our wheat into flour. We knew that we might be able to use a Vitamix machine (thanks for the offer, Mrs. Becker), or we could use a coffee grinder, or we could mill it with a couple of used grindstones from an old Bosch Food Processor that we bought on Kijiji.

In the end, we didn't do any of those things. Instead, we made some new friends at the Canadian International Grains Institute, which is located in down town Winnipeg. Ashok and his colleagues kindly offered us their time and their expertise as wheat scientists to help us with our project. Thanks Cigi! Here is a link to find out more about Cigi: http://cigi.ca/

Making New Friends at the Cigi Pilot Mill (A Science Lab for making flour!)
But our milling story started a little before we got to Cigi. First of all, we finished up the drying, and decided to weigh our wheat.
Drying is done...how much Wheat do we have?
After careful measuring, it turns out that our 4x8 field of wheat produced 908 grams, or exactly 2lbs of wheat. In the Spring we planted 207 grams of wheat, but we know that we over-did it. Even with the over seeding, our harvest of 908 grams means that we got close to 4.4 grams of wheat for ever gram we planted. Experts tell us that we did ok for just starting out!
We were careful to weigh the container separately as well, so that we knew the correct weight of the wheat.

Now we had to figure out milling. We learned about Cigi after doing a Google search for milling options in Winnipeg (where we live). Since they had a Twitter account, We Tweeted out to them to see if they could help us in some way:

After a few days and a phone call or two we took the wheat downtown to the Canadian Grain Commission Building on Main Street. Then we went up to the 10th Floor, and then to the Pilot Mill on the 11th Floor.

The Canadian Grain Commission Building
Here we are...at the Cigi Office!
And finally...to the Pilot Mill on the 11th Floor (Like a super secret wheat lab!)
What happened in the Pilot Mill? Well, we have flour now, and we know how we got it. The good people at Cigi helped us by milling it into flour, bran and "shorts", which are the left-overs that are not flour or bran. They kept our wheat overnight and prepared it by "tempering" it. More about that process will follow in a blog post soon to come.
The Pilot Mill (the smaller one) is behind me, and I have flour!
So our wheat is now flour, and we are starting to figure out what recipe would be the best for our bread. We plan to add the "shorts" to the flour and bake them into the bread, but we have not decided on a recipe yet. In the end, we have 688 grams of flour, 190 grams of bran, and 65 grams of shorts. Cigi also kept a 20 gram sample of our harvest so they can do some further testing to tell us a bit more about our wheat. Thanks Cigi! It was good to make some new friends!
Back at home with our flour, bran, and "shorts"
So we got some help with the milling and made a few new friends. This was a fun part of the project! Now we will have to figure out our recipe. Canadian Thanksgiving is around the corner!

And that is all we know so far.

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