Quality Control, Quality Assurance Practices in Flour Milling

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: This course focuses on the quality control and quality assurance principles of milling, including milling process quality, flour analysis, sampling and additives. Students will learn methods to quantitatively analyze both flour quality and mill performance.  The tools and techniques introduced in this course will enable better more efficient communication between the milling operative and the quality control/quality assurance department.

Course Goals: This class will enhance the knowledge and skills of all those involved in the milling process to quantitatively analyze mass balance of material flowing through the mill and understand how to apply statistical process control techniques to monitor mill performance.  Students will also gain an understanding of proper sampling techniques and tools to accomplish proper sampling, the impact of milling practices on flour quality and blending practices to meet customer specifications.

Target Audience: This course is designed for milling engineers, operation managers, production managers head millers and shift managers.


Mark Fowler  Farmer Direct FoodsSee Bio

Mark Fowler is the Associate Director of the IGP Institute as well as the Flour Milling and Grain Processing Curriculum Manager. Mark’s expertise include technical flour milling, plant operations management and food and employee safety program development. Mark received both his B.S. in Milling Science and Management and his M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University. Prior to joining the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University, Mark developed an interest in the international milling business working for Seaboard Corporation as the Overseas Milling Technologist. He worked on projects in several developing countries including Ecuador, Guyana and Haiti. Mark also served as the Technical Director of the Africa Division within Seaboard’s Overseas Group in Durban, South Africa. His work in Africa extended from Angola, Nigeria, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zambia to the Congo. Before his employment at Seaboard, Mark gained extensive milling experience working for Cargill in both Los Angeles and Wichita, KS.

Rebecca Miller, PhD  Kansas State UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Rebecca Miller earned her BS in bakery science and MS and PhD degrees in grain science from Kansas State University. She is currently a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Grain Science at KSU and also serves as Director of the KSU Wheat Quality Lab. Prior to joining KSU, she was the Principle Research Scientist at R&R Research Services, Inc. where she conducted contract research in the field of cereal chemistry. She has lectured in numerous short courses in the US and abroad for the American Association of Cereal Chemists International (AACCI), American Institute of Baking (AIB) and various food companies. Dr. Rebecca Miller is an active member of AACCI, serving on the Book Committee, Edith A. Christensen Award Jury, Bread Baking Methods Technical Committee co-chair and three terms as a Cereal Chemistry associate editor. Rebecca’s research interests include understanding and improving the quality of wheat, flour and baked products and the development of testing methods to measure wheat and flour quality. She has published 26 scientific papers, 11 articles, co-authored one book chapter and holds two US patents.

Heather Cook  Kansas State UniversitySee Bio

Teaching Assistant

The Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Review of Wheat Classes and Uses
This lecture will provide an in-depth description of the eight classes of wheat and their use in the cereal food industry. Students will discover how wheat is classified by studying the factors that determine the US Wheat Standards. Students will also review the growing regions and characteristics of wheat, including how each class is used in cereal products. Additionally, the specifications of generic flours used in a variety of commercial bakery products will be covered.
Lecturer: Dr. Rebecca Miller

Lecture 2 – Overview of Milling Process and Impact on Quality Part I & II
Lecture 2 Parts I and II will explain each component of the milling process: receiving, blending, storage, cleaning, and conditioning. It will also breakdown milling systems into manageable departments so that each departments’ impact on flour quality can be better understood.  How can mills increase their quantity of high-quality flour? Students will learn to make adjustments that minimize negative impacts on flour quality and optimize positive impacts on flour quality.
Lecturer: Mark Fowler

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – Overview of Milling Process and Impact on Quality Part III & IV
Lecture 3 Parts III and IV will build on the information shared in lecture 2 by defining the six systems in the milling process and investigating the impact of each system on flour quality.  Students will continue their analysis of flour quality by studying the functions of the principal equipment in a mill flow diagram and how they can affect flour. Students will also gain an understanding of the purpose and benefits of flour blending.
Lecturer: Mark Fowler

Lecture 4 – Flour Quality Analysis
This lecture covers milling laboratory flour evaluation methods, including moisture content, ash content, protein content, falling number, flour color, pH, damaged starch and Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC). Students will learn the importance and application of these tests to the milling process as well as how to interpret the results.
Lecturer: Dr. Rebecca Miller

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Mixing Property Analysis
In lecture 5 students will learn laboratory dough mixing test methods, including how to interpret curves and evaluate protein quantity vs. quality. Students will also study and compare the absorption determination, data measurement and dough properties of the Farinograph and the Mixograph.
Lecturer: Dr. Rebecca Miller

Lecture 6 – Dough Analysis
Lecture 6 will introduce students to laboratory dough analysis test method and the interpretation of curves. Tests including the farinograph, alveograph, extensograph, mixograph and others will be explained with the results interpreted and applied to mill operations management.
Lecturer: Dr. Rebecca Miller

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Sampling and Online Analysis
This lecture describes the importance and purpose of proper sampling. Students will gain a better understanding of sampling techniques and the tools available for representative sampling. They will also learn how to apply the new technology for online and inline process analysis.
Lecturer: Mark Fowler

Lecture 8 – SPC, Mill Control Making Adjustments Part I
Lecture 8 is the first lecture in a two-part series that covers Statistical Process Control (SPC) in depth. Students will discover how SPC is applied in milling and explore SPC tools used in the flour mill. They will also learn the importance of scale trending, break release testing, granulation curves and step charts.
 Lecturer: Mark Fowler

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – SPC, Mill Control Making Adjustments Part II
In the second lecture covering Statistical Process Control, students will study the importance and application of the cumulative attribute curve, how to create one and apply the results to making management decisions.
Lecturer: Mark Fowler

Lecture 10 – Flour Additives
Lecture 10 will focus on the flour additives that are commonly used at mills. Students will study the effects, including the advantages and disadvantages that the following additives have on flour:  enrichment, bleaching agents, oxidants and enzymes.
Lecturer: Dr. Rebecca Miller