products of dried wheat dough mixed with water.
Depending on their shape and size, macaroni products are classified as elbows, vermicelli, noodles, and shapes (bowties, scallops, stars, rings, and shells). Macaroni proper, tubes at least 15 cm long with walls no thicker than 1.5 mm, comprise an extensive group of products. Elbow macaroni are 1.5 cm long.
Protein-rich flours of the highest quality are used in the preparation of macaroni products. The best starting material is a granular flour of one of the hard varieties of wheat. The principal advantages of macaroni products are their high nutritive value and flavor, the possibility of prolonged storage without losing these properties, and ease of preparation.
Macaroni products are subdivided according to flour quality and supplementary ingredients (for example, eggs or egg powder). The preparation of the starting material for the manufacture of the products includes making up the feed composition of the flour (sorting the ingredients, mixing the flour in various proportions according to the recipe, and sifting and processing the flour in a magnetic field to rid it of impurities and metallic particles) and heating the water to 45°-85°C, depending on the starting material and recipe.
Preparation of the dough involves mixing and kneading. The dough is mixed until it is stiff and has a 28-31 percent moisture content. Kneading on rolling machines yields a compact, uniform dough suitable for further processing. The products are shaped by pressing the dough through figured openings, by cutting (for noodles), or by stamping (for special shapes). Pressing is the most common process. The starting products are portioned out by the appropriate cutting mechanism.
Once cut, the macaroni are stacked in cassettes on drying frames, hung on rods, or scattered on the drying surfaces of continuous belt-type dryers, depending on the product. Drying, which decreases the products’ moisture content to 12.5-13 percent, is accomplished by repeatedly blowing air of a certain temperature and moisture content through the macaroni. Most macaroni products are dried at an air temperature of 35°-39°C and a relative humidity of 65-75 percent for 14-18 hours. Short macaroni products are dried for one to two hours at a maximum temperature of 90°C.