What is a wet mill?

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Wet mill is a cereal grain production process and the machinery used for wet milling. The wet milling process involves using water to break up the beans before milling. This allows the individual parts of the grain to separate from each other for easier harvesting. The wet milling process is a common method of harvesting grain for food components, but dry milling is more common for flour or ethanol production.

It is common to use a wet mill on a variety of different raw materials, commonly called cereal grains. The basic idea is that the material softens and breaks down in water. When the feed material is ground, it will take less energy to pulverize it as it is already soft, and it will break down into its constituent pieces more easily.

The first step in a wet milling procedure is to soak the material to turn it into slurry. The food is placed in a tank filled with warm water and left for one to two days. While in water, food softens as its internal protein bonds begin to break down. This water usually contains a small amount of sulfur dioxide. This prevents hot, doughy food from developing harmful bacteria. After the sludge leaves the tank, the starch-rich water is purified and condensed for use in animal feed or fermentation.

The mud is very coarsely ground to finish its basic dissolution. This results in a warm, moist mixture of almost uniform consistency. During this phase, any germs that are still attached to the food product are broken down. In a grain, the germ is the part of the seed that would actually grow into another plant. This part of the grain is used to create most vegetable oils.

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The next step in the wet milling process is to separate the germ from the rest of the paste. The sludge is placed in cyclone tanks and centrifuged. The lower density of the germ allows it to separate from the rest of the material so it can be pulled out of the mix.

The paste is now mostly made up of fiber, starch and gluten. The material is crushed again, this time very well. After grinding, the mixture passes through a series of sieves, separating the fiber from the rest. This fiber is sieved several times to ensure its relative purity, and then it is made into animal feed.

The gluten and starch enter a centrifuge, where the low-density gluten separates from the starch. Gluten is transformed into various products, both for humans and animals. Starch is converted into products such as cornstarch or processed into corn syrup and dextrose.

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