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Torrified wheat - Can it be done at home

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Diggles

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As the title states, can torrified wheat be done at home? Is there a substitute?

Diggles
 

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No i cant see it being done at home. Really its just wheat that has been puffed and gelatinised in the process.
Rolled wheat will do the same, I have both on my site.
Nev
 

alien13

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Do you have a basement? If so, get a mate to help you out, having him wait down there in the dark. Tell the wheat to go down and grab you some supplies for the next brew. When he goes down there, have your friend jump out.... Wait, that's terrified wheat.

Yeah, you are probably better off just buying some. Save time and money.
 

white.grant

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A quick web search suggest that you can by baking in an oven at a low to moderate heat for about 10 minutes until it pops. I might give it a whirl and see if it works.
 

Nick JD

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Put it in a popcorn maker.

I've never done this and have no idea if it works - but DO IT! Go on, you know you want to.
 

tricache

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Nick JD said:
Put it in a popcorn maker.

I've never done this and have no idea if it works - but DO IT! Go on, you know you want to.
Fear is for the weak....the "brave" try anything once!

alien13 said:
Do you have a basement? If so, get a mate to help you out, having him wait down there in the dark. Tell the wheat to go down and grab you some supplies for the next brew. When he goes down there, have your friend jump out.... Wait, that's terrified wheat. Yeah, you are probably better off just buying some. Save time and money.
Hahahahahaha
 

fletcher

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Nick JD said:
Put it in a popcorn maker.

I've never done this and have no idea if it works - but DO IT! Go on, you know you want to.
apparently it can


according to this guy anyway. people in the post talk about how it heats to 230C. no reason why you couldn't do it in the oven until it becomes a more golden colour. i've never done either though so not taking any responsibility for messy ovens! :)
 
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Kodos

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It sure can! At the beginning of last year I got a bucket each of wheat and barley straight out of a friend's silos near Rupanyup in Victoria, and found several ways to use it in various brews last year.

Torrifying it turned out to be quite easy after a bit of experimenting.

The first method was using a clean dry stainless fry pan with a lid and toasting it quickly until you hear it start to pop, just like popcorn. The key to this turned out to be fairly high heat, and small batches - you don't really want the grain to be more than 5mm deep.

After doing almost a kilo of the stuff, I found that it worked best if you could heat the grain up quickly the starch inside the kernel warms up and expands/cooks quickly, and puffs up. You want to do it quickly, and keep shaking the pan around so kernels don't sit on the bottom of the pan and scorch.

When I had the grain too deep in the pan, or if I tried a more low-and-steady temperature, it took too long to raise the temp of the kernal and it didn't pop as much - I figure the moisture in the kernel just escaped slowly and it dried out. Also the husks (in barley at least) tended to darken too much because they were cooking longer. It went against my first instincts, but higher heat meant less time cooking and lighter finished product, whereas lower heat meant more time cooking and darker grains. I think a slight darkening (see pictures) would start to bring in some nice toasted character, but I figure too much and you're heading into burnt/acrid flavours which is not what you're looking for in torrified wheat/barley.

The other viable, and turns out much faster, option is to microwave the stuff. Having done a heap of it (wheat in this case) in small batches on the frypan, I thought I'd try the microwave, and found that in under a minute (less than half the time with the frypan) I got it to pop without any darkening. Same rules apply though, not too much in the dish at a time, and I think you probably want to let it air out straight afterwards, because there seemed to be a little steam/moisture on the grain this way (this moisture probably evaporated quickly in the frypan.

I used about 500g of the home torrified barley + 300g of home roasted barley with ~ 3.5kg of marris otter to make quite a tasty dark ale. I also used ~ 300g of home torrified wheat in my ESB that came 5th at the nationals.(Just one measly point away from 3rd place!!! :D)

So here are some pictures of my torrified barley, the first one is after (left) and before, and the second one shows how the kernels have puffed out. I remember reading somewhere in t' interwebs that it's not supposed to puff out or pop as much as what you get in breakfast cereal, it just needs to plump out a bit - not sure if that's true, but it's fits in with my results.

You can tell something has worked by just tasting the grains - raw barley is rock hard and difficult to chew, once it's been torrified it's quite light and crunch - much like a breakfast cereal unsurprisingly! ;-)




 

Bribie G

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I reckon it could probably be done in a benchtop convection oven, which blows super hot air into the glass "fishbowl" cooking area. Gets to over 250. As mentioned, all farm produced grains have a moisture content which is accurately assessed when the wheat goes to market, so I'd guess it's a significant portion of each grain's total weight or they wouldn't bother - and that's what puffs the grains.
 

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Nice post KODOS, taken a lot of time out of the process of trials. I would like to see what moisture content is required to get the best bang/puff.
Nev
 

Diggles

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Kodos said:
It sure can! At the beginning of last year I got a bucket each of wheat and barley straight out of a friend's silos near Rupanyup in Victoria, and found several ways to use it in various brews last year.

Torrifying it turned out to be quite easy after a bit of experimenting.

The first method was using a clean dry stainless fry pan with a lid and toasting it quickly until you hear it start to pop, just like popcorn. The key to this turned out to be fairly high heat, and small batches - you don't really want the grain to be more than 5mm deep.

After doing almost a kilo of the stuff, I found that it worked best if you could heat the grain up quickly the starch inside the kernel warms up and expands/cooks quickly, and puffs up. You want to do it quickly, and keep shaking the pan around so kernels don't sit on the bottom of the pan and scorch.

When I had the grain too deep in the pan, or if I tried a more low-and-steady temperature, it took too long to raise the temp of the kernal and it didn't pop as much - I figure the moisture in the kernel just escaped slowly and it dried out. Also the husks (in barley at least) tended to darken too much because they were cooking longer. It went against my first instincts, but higher heat meant less time cooking and lighter finished product, whereas lower heat meant more time cooking and darker grains. I think a slight darkening (see pictures) would start to bring in some nice toasted character, but I figure too much and you're heading into burnt/acrid flavours which is not what you're looking for in torrified wheat/barley.

The other viable, and turns out much faster, option is to microwave the stuff. Having done a heap of it (wheat in this case) in small batches on the frypan, I thought I'd try the microwave, and found that in under a minute (less than half the time with the frypan) I got it to pop without any darkening. Same rules apply though, not too much in the dish at a time, and I think you probably want to let it air out straight afterwards, because there seemed to be a little steam/moisture on the grain this way (this moisture probably evaporated quickly in the frypan.

I used about 500g of the home torrified barley + 300g of home roasted barley with ~ 3.5kg of marris otter to make quite a tasty dark ale. I also used ~ 300g of home torrified wheat in my ESB that came 5th at the nationals.(Just one measly point away from 3rd place!!! :D)

So here are some pictures of my torrified barley, the first one is after (left) and before, and the second one shows how the kernels have puffed out. I remember reading somewhere in t' interwebs that it's not supposed to puff out or pop as much as what you get in breakfast cereal, it just needs to plump out a bit - not sure if that's true, but it's fits in with my results.

You can tell something has worked by just tasting the grains - raw barley is rock hard and difficult to chew, once it's been torrified it's quite light and crunch - much like a breakfast cereal unsurprisingly! ;-)




Just the info I needed, you've just saved me heaps of time and effort, thanks heaps. No doubt I'll get quizzed by the Mrs once she hears the popping!!
 

Kodos

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The popping is actually quite subtle, think mini popcorn - sounds more like a crackle when a few of them are going at once.

Doesn't smell too bad either - the missus will probably think you are baking something... Then be disappointed that it's for brewing... :-/
 

chrisgg

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From experience in roasting my own peanuts in a microwave, I would be careful of doing the wheat that way. I found there was a very uneven roasting in my revolving microwave. Some ares of the peanuts would be nearly burnt and others lightly done. Not only that but the whole lot can catch fire if you leave it too long. Also only a small batch can be done at a time. I would definitely recommend doing it in a fan oven with circulating hot air, one grain deep, in a large flat pan....two or three pans at a time depending on the shelves in your oven. Once you have got the temperature and time right it should work every time and give an even result. The oven needs to be hot to torrefy properly...at least 200 degC.
 

Chridech

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Working up a recipe that calls for torrefied wheat. Could flaked wheat could be substituted without problem? If I did use torrefied wheat I presume it doesn't need to be milled? That way it can imitate rice gulls and I'd say the poor things have been terrorised enough already.
 

Bribie G

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Terrified gulls.
Stay away from the beach.
 

MHB

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Chridech said:
Working up a recipe that calls for torrified wheat. Could flaked wheat could be substituted without problem? If I did use torrified wheat I presume it doesn't need to be milled? That way it can imitate rice gulls and I'd say the poor things have been terrorised enough already.
At a pinch, yes I think flaked would be the best substitute. I would be very cautious "home torrifying" wheat, from the examples of barley the method they used will add quite a lot of colour to your recipe. Commercially made torrified wheat is very pale and has a very soft bready/doughy and a slight nutty flavour without any discernible toastyness , I find flake a lot blander and would choose the torrified if I were following a recipe where I was trying to get the same result the recipe designer was after.

Torrified Wheat must be milled, just mix it with the barley malt if you mill it alone it can turn to a mushy paste that will wind itself around the mill rollers and make a hell of a mess. Like all wheat there is no husk so nothing like rice hulls (or gulls) and it is relying on the filtration provided by the malt husks during lautering.

Mark
 

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