I diversi tipi di farina, l’origine e la lavorazione

Non esiste solo la farina di grano duro. Sono tanti i prodotti da cui si ricava la farina, elemento base della cucina, non solo mediterranea, ma anche orientale, sudamericana e africana. Come abbiamo già raccontato in precedenza, con il grano duro si produce l’ingrediente principale per la preparazione del pane, della pasta e dei prodotti da forno. Qual è la differenza tra semola, mais, kamut, manitoba e fecola?

Prima di distinguere i tipi di farina, è bene sapere che questo prodotto ha una qualità differente in base al tipo di lavorazione. L’abburattamento, per esempio, è un processo di setacciamento. Le farine derivata da basse estrazioni (ovvero abburattamento del 70%) sono molto pure e bianche, proprio come la farina 00, mentre le farine ad alto tasso di estrazione (circa 80%) sono più scure, perché non contengono solo la parte interna del chicco.

La semola, caratterizzata da un colore ambrato, è un tipo di sfarinato. Questa farina si utilizza soprattutto per la produzione di pane e pasta (sia casereccio sia industriale) ma anche per dolci tipici. Può anche essere semola rimacinata ed è meno granulosa.  Esiste poi la farina di mais, ottenuta dal granoturco, da cui si ricava anche l’amido di mais chiamato maizena. Questa farina è adatta anche a chi è intollerante al glutine.

La maizena è una farina bianca con una capacità addensante molto forte, infatti, si usa per creare soprattutto salse e creme, proprio come la fecola di patata. In questo caso, il prodotto si ricava dall’essicamento e della macinazione della patata. È composta da amido e si presenta come una polvere morbidissima, estremamente sottile e bianca.  In entrambi i casi, queste farine si prestano – oltre a fare da addensante naturale – anche alla preparazione di dolci molto soffici. Molto simili sono le farine di castagne (che si usa per cucinare il tipico castagnaccio) e la farina di manioca o tapioca, pianta tipica della America centrale.  Questa sostanza si usa per realizzare un dolce simile al budino di riso o a prodotti simili al pane. È ideale per le persone intolleranti al glutine.

La farina di Kamut si ottiene dalla lavorazione del grano rosso, un frumento orientale. È molto saporito e ha qualità nutrizionali superiore al comune frumento.  Il kamut è altamente digeribile, energetico, ricco di minerali (quali magnesio e zinco), ma non adatto ai celiaci perché contiene glutine. Esiste poi la farina Manitoba, che va molto di moda nella cucina contemporanea.  Si ricava dal grano tenero del Nord America di ottima qualità. Si utilizza per la preparazione di prodotti a lunga lievitazione e per i dolci.

Abbiamo, inoltre, la farina di grano saraceno, caratterizzata da un tipico colore scuro. La pianta del grano saraceno viene coltivata essenzialmente per ricavarne farina a uso alimentare (polenta e pane) ed è ricca di vitamine del gruppo B (B1, B2, B3, B5 e B6) e vitamina E, calcio, fosforo, potassio, magnesio, zinco, manganese e ferro. Questa farina è adatta agli intolleranti al glutine, perché non contiene questa sostanza. C’è di più. Grazie al suo alto valore proteico (simile sia alla carne sia alla soia), si consiglia il consumo di grano saraceno nei periodi di deperimento fisico.

È un ingrediente molto importante, soprattutto della cucina orientale, la farina di riso, che contiene soprattutto amido puro se estratta da riso bianco. Si utilizza in purezza o mischiata a quella di grano, di miglio o di altri cereali. Con questo prodotto, in Giappone producono i famosi spaghetti.  Oltre i cereali, anche i legumi, sono una materia prima idonea all’estrazione della farina. Nello specifico, si prestano alla lavorazione i ceci (materia prima per hummus, felafel e panelle), i piselli, fagioli, soia e fave.

 

Photo Credit| ThinkStock

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