Where did the flour come from, and how was it made?
There are several kinds of flour—such as oat-flour, barley-flour, rice-flour, and maize-flour or corn-flour.
But most of the flour used in Great Britain is wheat-flour.
Wheat-flour, of course, comes from the plant called "wheat. "
The farmer sows the wheat in his ploughed fields in the late autumn or in the early spring.
When the wheat plant comes up, it looks like a little blade of grass.
During the summer the plant grows tall, with a long, hollow stem, and a head or ear of little green scaly1 flowers.
到了夏天, 小麥就已經長得很高了, 帶著一個長長的中空莖干以及一簇或一穗綠色的鱗狀小花。
They do not look much like flowers, as they have no brightly-coloured leaves.
Each flower turns into a seed or grain, which becomes hard and round as it ripens2. When it is ripe, it turns yellow.
每一個花朵都會長成種子或谷粒, 一旦成熟, 就會變得又硬又圓, 而顏色則會泛黃。
Then the farmer cuts it down, or "reaps" it.
隨后, 農民們就會將其割下, 或者說是“收”麥子。
He carries the wheat to his barn, and there he thrashes it, or beats all the grains of corn out of the ears.
The miller grinds the corn between two large fiat4 stones which are called mill-stones, or between steel rollers.
The husks or skins of the grains of corn are first rubbed off, and then the white inside or kernel5 of each grain is ground down to a fine powder.
谷物的外皮首先掉落下來, 然后, 里面的白色谷粒就被碾磨成了精細的粉末。
The husks are hard and coarse, and they would not be good food for us, for we could not digest them.
外皮堅硬且粗糙, 我們消化不了, 因此不適合用作食物。
Shall we try to find out what wheat-flour is made of?
Put a handful of the flour into a small bag made of fine muslin:
tie up the mouth of this bag tightly, and then squeeze it for about five minutes in a basin of water.
You will see that the water becomes quite white.
Something must be coming out of the flour and passing through the muslin into the water. What can it be?
Let the water in the basin stand for an hour, and you will then find a white powder at the bottom.
Pour off the water, and put the white stuff into a saucer to dry on the hob or in the oven.
將水倒掉, 把白色物質放入淺碟之中, 利用鐵架或火爐進行烘干。
If you mix a little of this dry white powder with a spoonful of boiling water, it swells8 up into a jelly just like starch9;
indeed, the white powder is starch and nothing else.
So we see that flour contains a great deal of starch.
Now open the muslin bag in which you washed the flour.
Is there anything left inside it ?
Yes; there is a small quantity of a yellowish-white and very sticky substance.
The proper name for this sticky stuff is gluten.
We may say, then, that flour consists of starch and gluten.
But it also contains some water, and a very little lime which the roots of the wheat plant sucked in from the soil.
面粉有什么用處呢? 孩子們都知道, 面粉可以用來制作面包、布丁與糕點。
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