LENEXA, KAS. — Reducing the risk of pathogens and saving time are two goals when tempering wheat, which involves adding water to wheat before milling to improve the efficiency of flour extraction.

Lactic acid shows promise in the first goal. Lactic acid requires little modification for existing tempering systems, said Brent Adams, national sales manager, milling, for Corbion, Lenexa.

“While the method is still fairly new, lactic acid is being added to the tempering process more often for a 2-3 log reduction,” he said. “This helps reduce the risk of pathogens, which can be prevalent in wheat flour and cause foodborne diseases.”

Adding chlorine gas to water during the tempering process also has been shown to help control pH level, which prevents the spread of bacteria.

“Anytime you can reduce the chances of bacteria spreading during the production process or in a final application, it will bring greater comfort and assurance for customers,” Mr. Adams said.

Another innovation in wheat tempering is using wheat heaters to warm the wheat instead of using live steam on the wheat, said Jason Watt, Bühler instructor of milling at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kas. High speed paddles and/or the use of ultrasonic vibration in temper conveyors are other options.

“This breaks the surface tension of the water, allowing it to be absorbed into the wheat quicker, shortening temper times,” he said.

The amount of water to be added when tempering wheat is pivotal.

“The main things that affect the amount of water that is applied during the conditioning stage are the initial moisture of dry wheat and the hardness of the wheat, which is most often based off the types or variety of wheat,” Mr. Watt said. “The drier the wheat, the more water is added as well as the longer temp time is needed. The harder the wheat, the longer temp time as well.”

The type of grain will play a factor, too.

“Soft wheat is going to have the lowest target moisture and shortest temper time,” Mr. Watt said. “As the wheat you are tempering gets harder, higher protein, the higher the target moisture and the longer the temper time.”