Start the day with a bite
For many people it is a morning ritual: a bowl of cornflakes. Every German eats about one kilo of the crunchy flakes a year. Some enjoy them with milk, some swear by yoghurt, some others soak them in juice and others bite into the undiluted flakes. But what are cornflakes actually made of? How are they made and what role does Kuhn Special Steel play in this? Continue reading
Cornflakes may only be called cornflakes if they are made from maize. They were invented in 1906 by the famous John Harvey Kellogg, under whose name they are still marketed today. He was looking for a food that was particularly good for the stomach and cooked corn grains, rolled them and then roasted them. The principle has not changed to this day – except that the corn grains are no longer sorted by hand and heated in small cooking pots, but sifted, extruded and cooked in huge industrial plants.
It’s all about the grain
A good corn grain for breakfast cereals must be large and yellow. The grains are therefore sifted according to size and sorted by colour. The sprouts are removed because they contain oils that can become rancid. Now we have so-called corn grits. After preconditioning, feed pipes guide the corn grits into the rotating screw shaft of a single-shaft extruder. The viscous maize mass is pressed through the extruder screw under high pressure and high temperature. When the material reaches the nozzle plate, the pressure increases and the grits are pushed through the nozzle plate. In this way the unwanted parts are sorted out. Both feed pipes and extruder screw pipes are made by Kuhn Special Steel, because the components must be extremely wear-resistant and meet the highest hygiene requirements: millions of corn grains shoot through an extruder like this every shift.
The mass is now cooked with water, malt extract, salt and sugar, dried and plated in flaking rollers. The bite is still missing, as the corn mash still has a moisture content of 30 %. Hot air ovens therefore roast the mass. This produces the typical air bubbles, the blisters. After roasting, the cornflakes have a moisture content of 2 to 4 %. They are nice and firm to the bite now.