Over the past 30 years, masa has taken center stage on grocery store shelves and in the American diet. As Mexican-style food and corn snack products have grown in popularity, particular demand and processing focus is given to products that utilize masa corn (specifically tortillas, gorditas, tamales, and pupusas).
What is Masa Harina?
Masa is a dough made from processed corn products used to make many types of foods such as tortillas, tamales, empanadas, and other foods. Special processing of corn grain produces a dried and powdered corn flour called “masa harina.” Masa flour is reconstituted with water and sometimes spices to make tortillas and other corn-based dishes.
How is Masa Processed?
Cooking, Milling, Washing, and Drying Masa
The preparation of masa flour is a multi-step process. Masa production begins with the harvesting of corn. Field corn is dried and cleaned, then cooked in a solution of lime and water termed “slaked lime,” which softens the corn kernels, helps remove them for the cobs, removes the kernel skin, and makes the corn more digestible. The optimal cooking temperature for masa preparation is between 175 and 212 degrees F.
The resulting intermediate product needs to be dried. Optimum drying temperatures are in the 550 to 600 degree F range. Quick even drying is best. The amount of residual moisture varies depending upon the ultimate food product desired: masa for tortillas will still contain up to about 50% water; corn chip dough is different, containing 2 to 3 percent moisture with additional oil added.
Finally, the partially processed corn is milled into masa flour. The grinding needs to be consistent so that a tight range of flour-particle sizes result.
Rotormills for Industrial Masa Processing
The various processing steps in the preparation of masa require the right tools for quality assurance and efficiency. Prater Rotor Mills are the perfect tool for the expedited processing of masa. Prater Rotor Mills are not only ideal for the milling of corn, but they also excel at the flash drying of the wet corn mixture, rendering it into an even-grained, smooth-flowing fine- to medium-grained flour.
IPEC (International Process Equipment Company) began manufacturing rotormills in 1984. Prater Industries recently acquired IPEC and its outstanding product line of rotormills and flash-drying equipment.
Prater Rotor Mills come in eight standard sizes, ranging from 30 to 750 horsepower units. They are manufactured with the following optimal features:
- Heavy-duty construction
- Dynamically balanced rotor
- Easy access to the mill interior for cleaning or replacement of internal components
Connect With Prater
If you are a masa producer or in any type of food processing, Prater Industries can provide the machines, tools, and expertise you need. We carry a complete line of rotormill models and can custom-build to your requirements.