Safe Drying Of Milling Wheat

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Some dryers may overheat wheat and partially cook the protein, ruining the baking properties of the flour. If you dry milling wheat in a grain dryer, you may be damaging your wheat and not know it.

The Canadian Grain Commission says that for safe drying of wheat, the dryer must keep the wheat moving in the dryer and mix it adequately with the hot air. If the wheat is not kept moving, wheat kernels lying next to the heat source dry first and may be damaged if the air temperature is above 60C (140F).

Take the temperature of the hot air before it enters the dryer. Temperatures taken within the wheat layers may be misleading. Dryer thermometers may be inaccurate or incorrectly placed in the plenum. You may have to install extra temperature sensors to determine the highest air temperature in the plenum.

Outside air temperature and wind may affect drying. Watch the thermometers inside the dryer to ensure the temperature stays constant.

If you have not had your dryer tested, keep temperatures in the dryer below 60C (140F).

If you use a non-recirculating dryer or a cross flow continuous dryer, keep temperatures at 60C (140F) or below.

For other types of dryers, dry batches first at 60C (140F). Have the results tested. If tests show no damage, raise the temperature 5C (41F) and test again. With some dryers, you may be able to raise the temperature to 70C (158F).

Do not overdry. Stop drying when the moisture level reaches 14.5 per cent. Further loss of moisture occurs during cooling.

Dry very wet wheat slowly. If your wheat is over 20 per cent moisture, do not try to remove more than six per cent of the moisture in one pass through the dryer. Keep the temperature below 60C (140F), and reduce the drying temperature by 10C (50F) for the last quarter of the heating cycle.

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