Wheat grains grow at the top of the plant, in a tightly packed cluster called ‘ears’. Each ear of wheat is made up of 40 to 60 grains, and it’s these starchy grains that we eat.
Each grain of wheat has three distinct parts.
- First there is the coarse outer bran layer.
- Inside the bran layer there are two parts. The smaller part is called the wheat germ – a new plant would grow from this part. The larger part is called the endosperm. This is the starchy store of food which the germ feeds on while it grows.
The grain from the wheat plants is milled to make flour, which is used to make lots of different foods, like bread, pasta, biscuits and cakes.
So what is the Grain Chain?
- The farmer plants the wheat seeds, and makes sure they have enough water, warmth and light to grow well.
- When the wheat plants have grown and the grains are ready, the farmer uses a combine harvester to harvest them. The grains are separated from the ears and stalks of the wheat.
- The farmer sends the wheat grain to the mill so it can be made into flour.
- At the mill, the wheat grain is ground into flour using special machines. Different types of wheat are mixed to make different types of flour.
- The flour is sent to bakeries. Bakers use the flour to make bread. Machines mix the ingredients together, forming and shaping the dough. The dough is baked in large gas or oil-fired ovens.
- Bread is delivered to shops and supermarkets. Some shops have their own bakeries and bake their bread onsite.
- People like you and us buy the bread and take it home to enjoy!
Did you know that wheat is a type of cereal. A large proportion of the UK cereal crop is used to feed animals – including pigs, chickens and cows – which provide us with meat, eggs and milk.