Breakfast cereals are the part of morning routine for many people around the world and it's been like that for hundreds of years. But cereals arrive at our tables? We are here to answer that question.
Gruels and porridges, predecessors of today's cereals, are known since the prehistory. They were made from different ground whole grains and cooked with water. Some ground grains had to be left in water to soak for a whole night before they were usable for human consumption. Today, cereals are made differently.
There are many different variants of breakfast cereals but the all start in the field as grains (barley, wheat, oats, rye, rice maize and other). They are collected from the fields and transported to storage silos. When cereal factory orders them they are transported from silos to the factory where they are inspected and cleaned. To be made in cereals, grains can be used as whole or they can be processed further. Whole grains or partial grains are place in large rotating pressure cookers and there mixed with flavoring agents, vitamins, minerals, sweeteners, salt, and water for a period of time (depending on the type of grain). From there they go through a drying oven on a conveyer belt. This oven doesn't remove all the moist but leaves enough so the grain can be processed further and shaped according the ideas of the manufacturer.
For making breakfast cereals flour can be used and it is then cooked in a cooking extruder which is a long screw placed inside a housing that is heated. Cooking extruder is used to mix flour with water, flavorings, salt, sweeteners, vitamins, minerals, and in some cases with food coloring while cooking the mixture. Result is a ribbon made of mixture that is later cut into pellets and treated in the same way the whole grain is treated. To make flaked cereals, manufacturers leave cooked grains or extruded pellets too cool (which is called tempering) and then pass them through large metal rollers. This results in flakes which still carry water. Because of that they are placed in ovens with very hot air which remove the remaining water and toast the grains until they reach color and flavor that is desired. Puffed rice are usually made of rice but they can be also made from other types of grain. If the wheat s used it is firstly treated to partially remove the outer layer of bran. Puffed cereals are made in ovens called “guns”. They are prepared like flaked cereals, namely cooked, cooled, dried and passed through rollers but flattened much less. This is called bumping after which rice is rice is dried again and placed in a very hot oven which causes it to swell.
Wheat is also used for shredded cereals. It is cooked in boiling water which completely moisturizes the wheat. As the other types of wheat it is left to temper and are passed through rollers but for this variant one roller is smooth while the other has grooves. Mechanism also has a comb that has teeth positioned as groves on the second roller. This comb shreds the grain which falls in layers and is later cut in shapes. Shaped cereals are made with a cooking extruder. It forms a ribbon of cooked dough which is passed through a hole that makes desired shape. Ribbon is then cut into desired sizes. Finished cereals can be coated with vitamins, minerals, sweeteners, and flavors. Some more resistant cereals can be packaged in cardboard boxes or in cardboard boxes lined with plastic. Others are packaged in airtight and waterproof plastic bags where they can last longer.