Usage of flour and starch in instant meals and food industry – check more here!

Flour is these days one of the basic ingredients of meals, as we need to have meals that are easy and fast to prepare. Since humans discovered that cereal and vegetables can be changed into flour, they used it to make food. The basic result is of course bread. It can be made of wheat and rye.
Flour can be produced from many varieties of cereal and vegetables and used to many kinds of food.

Flour can be also made out of triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye), barley, oat, corn, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth, rice, quinoa, pea, cicer, soyabean, potatoes, manihot and other vegetables.Flour products like bread or pastry have been made since many centuries. These days there are not many people who bake them by themselves. Both men and women are employed and they do rarely have enough time to cook meals that take hours to make. The modern solution are instant meals that take minutes to be ready to eat and also can be easily kept for a long time before being used.

snacks

The best example are asian noodles that are used in different kinds of instant soups and also sold as an ingredient of asian meals. They are made out of wheat flour with a relatively big amount of water what makes them soft by comparison to normal hard pasta that have to be boiled for at least a few minutes. The instant soup with chinese noodles needs only to be poured over by boiling water to be ready. You can also prepare the noodles on a frying pan with other ingredients of the meal to spare time.There also rice noodles and soybean noodles (that are accually made of mung beans flour). They have the same attribute – being easy to prepare just putting them into boiling water for a few minutes.

Similar idea was developed in snack industry. There are companies that sell dry snack forms to the snack companies – see more snack pellets. So called snack pellets can be changed into ready to eat snacks that we can buy in a local shop. The process of turning a snack pellet into a ready snack is frying or baking. Baking is more healthful beacuse the snack contains in effect less fat, is lighter and has less calories. The flour used in snacks is mostly made of corn, potatoes, rice, wheat or mixes of some of them.

Flour is also used as a thickening agent in ready sauces, sandwich sauces, dips and salat dressings (like ketchup, garlic sauce, barbecue sauce, vinaigrette etc.). The flour used to thicken the sauce or soup is not a new invention. In traditional recipes it was often used, mainly the potato flour and starch. Potato starch is often called potato flour but it is not exactly the same.The difference between flour and starch is how they are being made – the flour is made of boiled potatoes, the starch from raw ones – snackpellets.

In ready sauces that are available in local supermarkets is mainly used corn starch. Some sauces need to be thicken because otherwise they are too loose. But on the other hand flour and starch are being used too often because they are inexpensive way to make more food.

As we see, the flour is present in most of the ready meals that we prepare everyday. Also industry uses its advantage – it is easy to keep fresh for a long period of time when it is dry and it is also fast to prepare. Unfortunately it can be also a danger for our health because eating too much flour can cause obesity. So it is important to have a choice between fast and slow food and take time to cook for ourselves at least once a week.

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