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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 2

I Technology Transported; 1788-1840

II Technology Established; 1840-1940
i Meat Preserving: Heat Processing Introduced
ii Horticultural Products: Heat, Sugar and Solar Drying
iii Refrigeration and the Export of Meat
iv Milling and Baking
v Dairy Products
vi Beverages
vii Sugar: Supplying an Ingredient

III The Coming Of Science

IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years

V Products And Processes

VI Conclusion

VII Acknowledgements



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Flour (continued)

Air classification of flour, i.e., the centrifugal concentration of protein from starch, was introduced in America in the mid-fifties. The first experimental equipment was brought to Australia by Fielder's, but in 1959, Kimptons in Victoria installed the first commercial plant, on which a great deal of development work was carried out.[73] Victoria was the appropriate State for this. The local soft wheats gave a better release of protein and were thus ideal for the process. In addition, Victorian wheats were chronically low in protein and air classified flour commanded an excellent premium. In the 1950s the Kimpton mill at St. Arnaud in the Victorian Wimmera produced biscuit flours from local soft, i.e., low protein, wheats and supplied the major biscuit manufacturers throughout Australia. When higher yielding but higher protein wheats began to be grown locally, an air classification plant was installed. The move was only partially successful because some New South Wales wheat growers switched to low protein varieties and the market was eventually lost. The St. Arnaud mill was closed in 1979, but air classification continues in Melbourne.

This process requires close laboratory control. The major product is a higher protein (12-13 per cent) flour which is in demand for the baking of special breads. There is also, of course, a reduced protein (5-7 per cent) flour for which several industrial uses were found, the most promising being that chlorination of it yielded an excellent sponge and cake flour. Air classification has not been the great benefit which its inventors and developers hoped it would be. Selection of wheat varieties and careful blending will yield essentially the same results more cheaply but air classification remains a useful adjunct.

Flour for bread and other baked goods is the primary product of the milling industry, but bran and pollard, by-products of flour milling, have long been fed to animals. It is not surprising then that millers should use them as the basis for stock feeds formulated according to the principles of animal nutrition. An Australian example is Kimpton's 'Barastoc' range which began in 1938 with a production in the first week of 6 tons. In 1983, there were ten mills with a peak weekly production of 8,500 tons.

In intensive animal production units, such as broiler chicken farms and piggeries, there are examples of sophisticated day by day computer formulation of animal feeds by means of programmes which balance the lowest cost of stipulated raw materials against nutrient constants required in the feed streams; such are essential for efficient production of meat. The growth of the stockfeed industry, a science/technology based activity, was accelerated by the loss of flour exports and the resulting economic constraints which, as already noted, forced the whole vertically integrated milling/baking industry into the hands of a few large companies.


Bread-making is of great antiquity, but the procedures changed little up to the Second World War. Flour, yeast, salt, other possible ingredients, and water were mixed to yield a dough with characteristic physical properties. This dough was allowed to fermentunder given conditions, the carbon dioxide so produced giving a spongy texture. It was then cut to size, shaped and 'proofed', i.e., allowed to stand to permit a further fermentation; more gas production, and more expansion occurred during baking, until the heat set the structure by gelatinizing the starch and denaturing the gluten. Baking also induced chemical changes responsible for colour and flavour.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Fielder's; Kimpton's, Kensington, Vic.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 98, Online Edition 2000
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