Making Pasta with the Bogasari Technical Exchange

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Eight participants from Bogasari, an Indonesian wheat flour milling subsidiary of Indonesia’s largest food company, Indofood, visited Cigi last week and partook in discussions and demonstrations. Bogasari has two flour mills located in Jakarta and Surabaya.

While most of Indonesia’s wheat imports (53%) come from its southern neighbour Australia, 19% of their wheat imports are Canadian. In 2013-14, Canada exported more than 1.3 million tonnes of Canadian wheat to Indonesia. Behind the U.S. and Japan, Indonesia is the third largest importer of Canadian wheat.

“We use CWRS for some of our premium products, especially for bread and noodles,” says Sylvia Wong, the Quality Assurance and Managing Representative from Jakarta. “But we mix a lot of our Canadian wheat with others.”

Canadian durum is of particular interest to Bogasari because it is one of the exclusive ingredients for their pasta. Pasta innovation is a priority for them, and why not? It’s a big international business. 60% of their pasta end-products are exported to countries such as the Philippines, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, and Malaysia. So, the Cigi pasta seminar was a great learning opportunity for our Indonesian guests.

“For pasta production we use durum. For some products we use 100% durum, and for other pasta products we use a mix of durum and [common] wheat,” says Suryanto, the Quality Assurance Pasta Section Head of Bogasari. “It depends on the customer requirement. For exports, we use 100% durum, but for local we mix with [common] wheat.”

For the most part, Bogasari uses Canadian durum to make their pasta, but some of their wheat comes from Australia as well.

“We prefer pasta with higher resistance to cooking,” says Suryanto.

Their research shows that the pasta with the highest resistance to cooking yields a better end-product—firm and chewy with a nice yellow colouring, all indicative of a high protein level. The durum they use now has an acceptable cooking resistance, but Suryanto says he would prefer it to be even higher.

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Paul Ebbinghaus, Cigi’s technical specialist in pasta technology, shows the group how he’s been experimenting with different flours. Suryanto holds pasta made of 30% red lentil flour (giving it that orange-red hue). Suryanto, who’s always interested in pasta innovation, said he learned a lot during his time at Cigi, as did all the participants from Bogasari.

Take for example—couscous!

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For many of the participants, this was the first time they have ever heard of couscous, let alone actually eating it. It’s not something they normally have a chance to experience in Indonesia. Regardless, they were very interested to discover that it was just durum semolina moulded with a one-millimetre die.

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Despite gluten intolerance being a bigger—trendier—concern in North America, the group passes around a gluten-free pasta, avidly discussing its merit. Pasta isn’t a big part of the Indonesian diet. The participants said they only eat it anywhere between once a week to once a month. However, being that it is a reliable export, new product developments in pasta are of interest to Bogasari.

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The group really gets hands-on, feeling the difference between grades one and four Canada Western Amber Durum wheat.

“It is very useful for me especially, learning many things from Cigi,” says Suryanto. “It’s beneficial so we can tell our friends in Indonesia.” Knowledge is important to the Bogasari representatives, but so is the transfer of knowledge, going back home and applying what they’ve learned here at Cigi.

This is what they really came to see…

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Cigi’s own pilot pasta processor. This machine is pumped full of durum semolina (or any other flour), mixes it with water, and pushes the dough through the press, moulding pasta into whatever shape you choose.

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Paul pushes the magic button and …

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 Presto! We have spaghetti!

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… a lot of spaghetti.

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There’s no such thing as too much spaghetti, right? The group works together to cut the strands and hang them.

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And, of course, part of the pasta-making process is …

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Actually eating it! Dwinanto Prastowo (left) and Muhandes Mikmari Alqusdi (right), Quality Control Section Heads of their respective Jarkarta and Surabaya plants, enjoy a plate of spaghetti. One of the advantages that the groups who come through Cigi’s doors have is that they get to see these kinds of processes from beginning to end.

Throughout the week, our Indonesian participants partook in other demonstrations and discussions as well:

  • Learned wheat and flour quality testing methods with Analytical Services
  • Spent a day in the bakery, baking both pan and flat breads
  • Saw how refined flours are produced in Cigi’s mill
  • Visited the Scheurer farm in Oakbank, Manitoba
  • Learned about storage at the University of Manitoba’s grain storage facility
  • Worked the noodle line in Cigi’s noodle plant

On Thursday evening, the group left for Vancouver to tour a terminal elevator and visit the Vancouver offices of the Canadian Grain Commission.

The Bogasari group was fun. They were passionate yet humble about their craft, looking for anyway to improve themselves and their company. They came to Cigi for knowledge, and they sure got it.

Mike Kontzamanis is a Creative Communications student at Red River College in Winnipeg, working at Cigi for the summer.  Watch for more articles from Mike about Cigi’s programs over the next several weeks.