The grain of rice that has just been harvested is called paddy rice, and it is coated with a multi-layer protective wrap, hulls or husk. Underneath the husk there is a grain covered with a layer of bran.The grain is made up of proteins, and in the innermost area, of sharp, compact and gathered in a bunch starch granules. Each grain contains an embryo: germ which is responsible for reproducing and is the source of nutrients.
Once collected and dried, paddy rice is ready to be processed in order to remove the outer layers and the germ with the minimum grain breakage. Rice processing requires a precise scheme:
1) CLEANING: elimination of any debris (sieves or blowers)
2) WINNOWING: husk removal (husker or sheller – RISO SEMIGREGGIO O INTEGRALE)
3) WHITENING: removal of the outermost layers and germ (whitening machines – RISO RAFFINATO). Depending on the steps, different degrees of refining can be obtained.
4) BRUSHING: removal of flours and residues that had been created during previous steps
Further steps to give rice a more attractive appearance, but with loss of nutritional principles.
5) POLISHING OR OILING: treatment with linseed oil or petroleum jelly (RICE CAMOLINO)
6) GLAZING: treatment with oil, talc, and glucose (RISO BRILLATO)
YESTERDAY: HUSKING MILLS
Yesterday, as today, the principle used for the processing of rice was the ” husking”. Raw rice was brought to the “track” – the mill used for processing the rice – where a wheel driven by the water operated an ingenious mechanism: numerous pounders of wood with the tip covered in iron “crushed” rice, collected in a series of tanks excavated in the stone or wood. This movement caused the detachment of the husk, and subsequently of the chaff. Oscillating sieves, hanging from the ceiling, helped to separate the broken grains and impurities.
Find out more about other stages of the Rice Road: