Modern Cereal

by Rena

Some of the processed items it would be great to duplicate from scratch are:

  • blue corn taco chips
  • flour
  • corn flakes, or similar flaked cereals

The first two require a common household mill. But corn flakes? How do the cereal companies make flaked cereal? Flaked cereal has been around since milling machines have been around, and earlier when done by hand. But they make small flattened grains–oatmeal, for example. Here is a site that inspired me to try to obtain an Italian oat rolling mill or flaking machine by the name of Marcato. And the following photos are of an antique Roller Mill in the process of making flaked wheat from hulled wheat, similar to the household Marcato.

But what we’re looking to make at home are large crispy flakes, such as corn flakes. In 1894 Kellogg invented a recipe of boiled grain in paste form, which was then dried and roasted. In 1906 malt was added as a sweetener which began their commercial success with corn flakes.

Now all major cereal companies make an adaptation of the corn flake and we found one of the machine suppliers for making them:

Baker Perkins is one of the companies that manufacturers the machines that make corn flakes and extruded cereals.

A bakeryandsnacks.com article mentioned that the flaking process consists of converting “grains or extruded pellets” into flakes ready for toasting. And Baker Perkins mentions “wheat and bran flakes [use] the traditional steam cooking process…” and “Other units can be added later to extend the product range to include corn, multigrain and frosted flakes…and…extruded cereals such as corn balls, multigrain rings, alphabet shapes, and cocoa balls can be extended, through additional units ”

Sounds like fun! Let’s write to them and ask them to make a small version for the home kitchen! Or tell your inventor friends. : )

Baker Perkins cereal machine manufacturer: Follow-up

On September 6 [2009] I emailed Baker Perkins using the form on their website and asked them if they knew where I could get their cereal-flaking and extruding machine for home use. A long shot, but who knows?

As of December 7, 2009 I haven’t received a reply, so at this point I’m not expecting a reply.

Vintage Instructions for Making Corn Flakes

I bumped into a few more hints about the making of corn flakes.

Corn flakes are manufactured by passing corn, after the removal of the hull and the germ, between hot rolls. The corn before going to the rolls is cooked so that the starch is gelatinized. The pressure of the rolls is sufficient to flatten out the corn into flakes and the heat of the rolls dries them. The flakes turned out for use in doughs for the baker are so treated that none of the starch is converted into yellow dextrine, nor is any color produced in any other way, the product being pure white. A similarly prepared flake, which has practically been toasted, is sold widely for use as a breakfast food, but on account of its color and characteristics cannot be used for bread-making. — Baking Materials Part Three, 1923, Siebel Institute of Technology.

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