History of Soy Flour, Grits, Flakes, and Cereal-Soy Blends - Part 1
by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi
A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and
Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s
©Copyright 2004 Soyfoods Center, Lafayette, Californi
For updated and greatly expanded free information on this subject,
WHAT ARE SOY FLOUR, GRITS, FLAKES, AND CEREAL-SOY BLENDS?
The soy protein products described in this chapter and the next were probably developed in the West before they were developed in East Asia. Although the Chinese have long used stone mills to grind wheat and corn into flour and meal, they probably preferred to grind their whole soybeans only after they had been dry roasted. The earliest soy flour was almost certainly roasted soy flour, as described in Chapter 26. We consider the products described in the present chapter to be basically different from roasted soy flour, since they are generally (but not always) defatted using complex and expensive technology, and since they probably originated in the Occident at a relatively late date.
Soy Flour . More a high-protein powder than a true flour (typically produced from carbohydrate-rich cereal grains), soy flour is generally made from dehulled, usually heat-processed whole soybeans or defatted soybean flakes, which are ground finely enough with a hammermill so that 97% will pass through a 100-mesh screen and 95% will pass through a 200-mesh screen. Flour passing through the highest rated (finest mesh) screen has the highest protein content. The various types of soy flour are subjected to various amounts of heat processing for different end uses. The more moist heat treatment (usually steaming, which may also be called toasting), the higher the protein quality and nutritional value, and the lower the protein solubility or dispersibility. Heating also greatly reduces the soybean's natural (beany) flavor and inactivates natural enzymes (lipases, oxidases, peroxidases), thus improving the flour's keeping quality. Some flour, however, called "enzyme active," is deliberately given little or no heat treatment; its active lipoxygenase enzymes are used as a natural bleach in bread doughs.
Other than whole soybeans, soy flour is generally the least expensive soyfood. If the price index of defatted soy flour and grits is 1, textured soy flour (TSP or TVP) will be about 1.8, soy protein concentrate about 2.3, and soy protein isolate about 5.1 (Langsdorf, in Baldwin 1981). Soy flour is also one of the easiest soyfoods to introduce into people's diets (as in breads, chapatis, tortillas, etc.) to greatly improve their nutritional value without significantly altering their cost or the people's eating habits. Good quality soy flour and grits are comparable in protein quality to milk and meat (especially when consumed, as they virtually always are, with cereal grains), yet they cost only about 15% as much per gram of protein. Lightweight, easy to transport, stable, and versatile, soy flour is used extensively worldwide. It also finds special uses in wartime provisions, foreign feeding programs, and relief or refugee foods.
Soy flour is most widely used in baked goods; 2-15% is added to breads, crackers, muffins, donuts, cakes, rolls, cookies, tortillas, or chapatis. It is also used in pasta products (spaghetti, noodles, macaroni), processed meats (sausages, bologna, frankfurters, meat loaves), gravies, sauces, soups, cereals, prepared mixes (pancake and waffle), dairy substitutes, candies (caramels and toffees), special diet foods (diabetic, allergenic, high protein), and spice bases. In baked goods, soy flour increases the storage life and nutritional value, while adding moisture as needed with little or no increase in cost. In other products, it generally lowers the cost and improves the functional properties by serving as a conditioner, emulsifier, moisture retainer, antioxidant, and/or extender (Wolf and Cowan 1975). In addition to these food uses, soy flour is also used industrially, as in various adhesives and as a nutrient for yeasts and antibiotic-producing microorganisms.
Soy flour can be divided into three types, according to the method of production.
1. Whole Soy Flour. Officially known as "full-fat soy flour," this is the most natural and lightly-processed product, containing all of the oil naturally present in the soybean; it typically contains 18-20% fat and 39-41% protein. To make whole soy flour, whole soybeans are steamed, dried to less that 5% moisture, cracked, dehulled, and ground, or extrusion cooked and ground. Except in Europe and some Third World countries, this product is now produced on a relatively limited scale. Advantages: the most whole and natural type of soy flour; can be made by relatively simple and inexpensive technology; a concentrated source of both energy and protein; long storage life due to natural antioxidants in the oil; compared with defatted soy flour, whole soy flour is generally considered to have a better flavor (like whole milk compared with nonfat milk), which is also less strong and bitter. Thus 25-35% more whole soy flour can be added to breads and other baked goods before it starts to impair their overall acceptability; rich in natural lecithin, a good emulsifier and probably a promoter of good health; contains most of the vitamin A found in whole soybeans but lost during solvent extraction. Disadvantages: In industrialized nations it sells for about 20% more than defatted soy flour; for weight-watchers and those on low-fat diets, it contains more calories and fat per unit weight; it is more difficult to grind and to package, since the mill is expensive and the oil permeates even polyethylene bags.
2. Mechanically Extracted Soy Flour. This is made by grinding the low-fat presscake from soybeans that have been crushed, steamed, and hydraulic- or expeller pressed to extract their oil. Containing typically 5-8%?? fat, it is no longer widely produced in most industrialized countries. Advantages: Lower in fat than whole soy flour; can be produced using middle level technology; made without chemical solvents. Disadvantages: Relatively expensive to produce in industrialized countries.
3. Solvent Extracted Soy Flour. By far the most widely used soy flour worldwide since the mid-1930s, this is made by grinding the defatted flakes or meal remaining after removing the oil from crushed soybeans using hexane or other chemical solvents. Five of the more widely used types include:
A. Defatted Soy Flour. By far the most widely used type, it contains about 1% fat and 53-55% protein. Advantages: the least expensive and most widely available soy flour in most industrialized countries; highest in protein and lowest in fat; good digestibility (89% vs. 80% for textured soy flour or TSP/TVP; Proceedings 1979, p. 332). Disadvantages: Some people object to the use of toxic chemical solvents for processing their foods; although hexane, the typical petroleum-based solvent, is very volatile, small residues (which are probably not significant from a health viewpoint) may remain in the flour (a detailed discussion of residue levels is given in Chapter 40); its production requires very sophisticated and expensive technology for crushing and oil extraction; the flour is deprived of its lecithin and vitamins A and D (Horvath 1931b). For processing details, see Milligan 1981).
B. Low-Fat Soy Flour. Produced by partial removal of the oil from crushed soybeans or, more commonly, by adding back soy oil and/or lecithin to defatted soy flour, usually at a level of 5-6%. Contains about 46% protein. A broader term for defatted flours to which oil and/or lecithin have been added back in smaller amounts than in the original soybeans is "refatted soy flours."
C. High-Fat Soy Flour. Produced by refatting like low fat soy flour except that more oil is added back, usually about 15%. Contains about 41% protein.
D. Lecithinated Soy Flour. A type of low-fat or high-fat soy flour in which lecithin is added to defatted soy flour to a level of about 15%, to enhance its emulsification properties.
E. Enzyme Active Soy Flour. Defatted soy flour processed with minimum heat treatment so that it retains its lipoxygenase activity. This active enzyme, the only soybean enzyme given commercial application, forms hydroperoxides, which bleach carotenoid pigments in the production of white bread. Up to 0.5% enzyme active soy flour, based on the weight of the bread flour, is used in white breads. (The near-raw flour has a prominent beany-grassy flavor and odor before baking.) Bread standards also permit the addition of another 3% regular (heat-processed) soy flour.
Soy Grits and Flakes. Soy grits are coarsely ground soy flour. They usually come in the defatted form (but may also be natural/full-fat) and are classified into three particle sizes: coarse, medium, and fine. The fine will pass through an 80-mesh screen. The grits range in size from that resembling corn meal up to tiny chunks the size of Grape Nuts. The flakes resemble rolled oats or wheat flakes. These products are most widely used in processed meats (patties, sausages, chili, loaves), as well as specialty bakery items, beers (as a clarifier), and candies. Grits are more widely used than flakes. Nutritional composition is the same as defatted soy flour.
Cereal-Soy Blends. Also called "soy-fortified blended foods," these foods consist of a cereal grain (such as corn, wheat, sorghum, etc.) fortified with 10-30% soy flour or grits. The USAID PL 480 Food for Peace program distinguishes between Blended Food Supplements (typically 15% defatted soy flour mixed with a cereal flour, then fortified with vitamins and minerals to be used in infant and child feeding) and Fortified Processed Foods (typically 15% defatted soy grits or flour mixed with a cereal grit or flour) (Bookwalter 1983). In Third World countries the blend is typically made by extruding (extrusion cooking) a blend of 70% dehulled corn and 30% dehulled whole (full-fat) soybeans. These low cost, nutritious foods have come to be widely used in Third World countries since the mid-1960s.
Etymology and Nomenclature. The earliest known terms for soy flour in any Western language appeared in German. In 1878 Haberlandt, in his classic The Soybean , introduced the terms "Sojamehl" (soy meal or flour) and "Sojaschrot" or "Sojabohnenschrot" (soy grits). Those terms continue to be the standard. By 1938 whole soy flour was being called "Vollsojamehl" ("full soy meal") or "Edelsoja" ("noble soy").
In French, Paillieux (1880) noted that soybean cake might be ground to a flour ( en farine ). Egasse (1888) made the earliest known reference to soy flour, "la farine de soja," a term which was quickly adopted by all subsequent French writers, and remains the standard today. The term was used for both whole and defatted flours. In 1939 Matagrin referred to whole soy flour as "la farine entiere du soja."
In the mid-1890s researchers at US agricultural experiment stations began to grind uncooked (raw) whole soybeans for use in livestock feeding tests. In 1895 Woods first referred to this product as "soy bean meal"; after 1933 it came to be known as "ground soybeans." Since these ground raw soybeans were used for fodder, they do not fall within our definition of soy flour. Yet their name rubbed off onto the earliest genuine soy flours. The earliest known English-language reference to a soy flour for food use was by Trimble in 1896; he called it "soja meal," which was probably his translation of the French term "farine de soja." Prior to 1906 the Theo Metcalf Co. in Boston had started to market a product that they labeled "Soja Bean Meal," a term subsequently used by others such as Winton (1906), who also called it "soy bean meal." The term "flour" was first used in 1909 by Ruhrah^, an American pediatrician, who called it "soy bean flour"; in 19?? he called it "soy-bean flour." Other early terms included "soya bean flour" (Carson 1909) and "soy cake meal" (Bowers 1919). Piper and Morse were the first to use the product's two modern names. In 1916 they referred to "soy flour" and in 1923 to "soybean flour." The second of these two terms was the most popular name until the mid-1940s, and is still widely used. The term "soya flour" was introduced by Horvath and widely used thereafter until the late 1940s. In 1938 Ferri first used the term "soyflour," which has been used occasionally to the present. In 1930 (and perhaps as early as 1923) Dr. Charles Fearn manufactured a whole soy flour in the US which he called Pure Soya Powder. Thereafter several others (such as A.K. Smith 1958) have noted that soy flour is not a real flour, and perhaps should be called "soy powder."
Starting in the mid-1930s, as defatted soy flour came to be more widely made and sold, it became necessary to choose a special name for the traditional, natural soy flour. In 1935 Horvath first called it "whole soya flour." Weiss (1940) translated it from German as "full soya." Butler Food Products (1942) marketed it commercially as "Entire Soy Bean Flour." And Ciancio (1951) first called it "whole soy flour." Meanwhile the burgeoning soybean crushing industry began (when first??) to refer to it as "full-fat soybean flour," to contrast it (slightly) with their standard product, "defatted soy flour." (when first??). The term "whole soy flour" is clearly more appealing and more closely parallel to such standard food terms as "whole wheat flour" and "whole milk"; no one says "full-fat milk." In 1982 the Soyfoods Association of North America selected the terms "soy flour," "whole soy flour," and "defatted soy flour" as the standards for their industry ( Soyfoods Industry and Market 1982). However the National Soybean Processors Association and the soybean crushing industry preferred the term "full-fat soy flour. They also used the terms "high-fat soy flour" and "low-fat soy flour" which will be defined shortly. In British English, this product was called "soya flour" from at least 1916, and that term soon became the standard.
Overview of Soy Flour History Worldwide . As noted above, we divide all soy flours into two basic types; those made in the traditional East Asian way by dry-roasting soybeans then grinding them in a mill (traditionally a hand-turned stone mill), and those made in the modern Western way involving moist heating. The Asian way was probably developed because it gave a product with a prized nutty flavor and because the dry roasting was quicker, simpler, and more energy efficient than steaming or boiling then drying the soybeans before grinding, as was done in the West. By the late 1870s the methods for making dry roasted soy flours had been introduced to Europe. Yet, interestingly, the Western style methods seem to have remained largely unnoticed throughout East Asia since their development, and are still not widely used, even in industrialized countries like Japan. The main reason for this neglect is that roasted soy flours are considered to have a better flavor, especially in the foods (primarily confections) in which they are most widely used.
It is not clear whether nonroasted soy flour and grits originated in China or Europe. Between 90 A.D. and 1578 at least six Chinese documents referred to products that were probably types of soy flour, but it is not clear exactly how they were made and whether they were heated by dry roasting, steaming, or boiling. In 1767 the Englishman Samuel Bowen reported that the Chinese used soybeans to make a type of vermicelli, but it was not clear whether it was made from soy flour or wet-ground soybeans. In the mid-1760s Bowen manufactured this vermicelli in Georgia (later part of the United States) and exported it to England.
Nonroasted soy flour or grits were first clearly described in Europe (Austria), by Haberlandt in 1877 and in the USA by Trimble in 1896. Soy flour first came to be widely used in diabetic diets, starting in the 1880s in France, and by 1891 commercial production had begun in Amsterdam; in the US it began in 1906. In Europe a major impetus to its expanded production began in 1908, as England (soon followed by other countries) began to import large quantities of soybeans and crush them for oil. Some of the meal was made into flour. Widespread interest in soy flour and grits arose in both Europe (especially in Germany) and the USA during World War I. The USDA did considerable research on these products as alternative protein sources. In 1924 Berczeller in Austria was granted his landmark patent on a process for making a good-tasting soy flour with a long storage life.
The Great Depression of the 1930s further stimulated production of this low-cost protein source, as did the founding of the commercial soybean crushing industry in the United States at that time. World War II repeated the scenario of World War I, but on a vastly larger scale. By 1943 more than 115,000 tonnes (metric tons) of soy flour and grits were being made in America, and many brands were retailed in food stores nationwide. During and after the war, large shipments were made to the United Kingdom and the USSR under the Lend-Lease Program, both in the form of plain defatted soy flour and grits, and in soy-fortified foods such as cereals (oat soya cereal, whole wheat soya cereal), soups, macaroni, and sausages. Production of soy flour and grits in the US reached a peak of over 300,000 tonnes in 1948; most was used for relief feeding programs in Europe. In 1946 the Meals for Millions Foundation in California began to make and ship Multi-Purpose Food, based on defatted soy grits; it became the forerunner of a new concept of soy-fortified foods (see Chapter 66).
In 1961 and 1962 a new concept in low-cost high protein foods, cereal-legume blends, was pioneered in the form of Incaparina in Guatemala and Pro-Nutro in India. In 1966 the US Agency for International Development (USAID), as part of the PL 480 Food for Peace program, introduced CSM (corn-soy-milk), which was used largely as a weaning food in Third World countries. By 1974 eight more fortified cereal-soy blends had been added to the Food for Peace Program, and soy flour and grits had become the undisputed first choice worldwide as the lowest cost, highest quality protein source for use in these nutritious foods. Between 1976 and 1980 some 4.67 million tonnes of PL 480 cereal-soy blends and soy flour were shipped to needy countries. It was through these cereal-soy blends that many millions of people in Third World countries were introduced to soyfoods and to soy flour. Starting in the mid-1970s this same type of food, primarily corn-soy blend, came to be produced in Third World countries using low-cost extrusion cookers (LEC's), a new type of appropriate technology. By the early 1980s LEC's were making some 15,000 tonnes a year (roughly 2% of PL 480 shipments) of soy-cereal blends and whole (full-fat) soy flour worldwide. The most successful programs were in Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Guyana. In industrialized countries soy flour was most widely used in baked goods.
HISTORY OF SOY FLOUR, GRITS, AND FLAKES IN EUROPE AND AUSTRALIA
The Early Years (1767 to 1899) . In 1767 Samuel Bowen, a British citizen?? living in Savannah, Georgia (one of Britain's 13 colonies?? in America) received a British patent, number 878, for his newly invented method for preparing vermicelli (made from soybeans, probably soy flour) and soy sauce, using soybeans grown in Georgia. In 1774-75 Bowen exported 200 pounds (91 kg) of this soy vermicelli from Georgia to England, and in 1776 he received for it a gold medal from the Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, plus a present of 200 guineas from King George III (Hymowitz and Harlan 1983; for details, see early history of soy flour in the USA, below).
The first European to specifically mention soy flour and grits, to study these products, and to make them in Europe was Friedrich Haberlandt of Vienna, Austria. In 1877 he wrote:
Because of the complete lack of starch in soybeans, they do not become very soft after cooking. Therefore it is necessary to crush or puree (through a sieve) the half-soft cooked soybeans before using them further in foods. Or the dried seeds can be coarsely ground before their transformation. I prepared mature soybeans in both ways and found the foods made from them to be mild in flavor . . . I also used soybeans in several preparations like one uses corn (maize), from whose meal people of the South (of Austria-Hungary) make their beloved Polenta.
Note that Haberlandt's soy flour was apparently made from raw dry soybeans. However he also mentioned that he had roasted soybeans and ground them to make an excellent coffee substitute. In 1878 in his classic The Soybean , Haberlandt continued to express his interest in soy grits:
So it would seem simples to use soybeans in the kitchen in a finely ground form. I had soy grits ( Sojaschrot ) added to various potato dishes, for example mashed potatoes and rice. I mixed soy grits with wheat grits (groats??) cooked with milk and water, and I had soy grits added to mashed potatoes to make a dish resembling Polenta. This might be called Sojenta. My family also experimented with adding soy grits to wheat flour to make bread, with and without the addition of milk, and in all cases we were highly pleased with the results.
Then, in a lengthy footnote, Haberlandt described the work of his colleague, Professor W. Hecke, who conducted taste tests with soy grits ( Sojabohnenschrot ). Hecke encouraged the use of soy with potatoes to make a nutritionally balanced, inexpensive, and tasty dish. One part soy flour/meal ( Sojamehl ) or grits ( Schrot ) and two parts fresh potatoes were cooked separately, then mixed and seasoned to form a stiff mush. Haberlandt predicted that in the form of grits or a fine meal (flour), the soybean would "enter the palaces of the rich," for "the flavor of half-cooked soy grits resembles that of poppy seeds or almonds, and should be suitable as an addition to the finest foods otherwise made from meals (flours)."
The earliest known reference to soy flour in France was by Paillieux in 1880. In his great work Le Soya (p. 575) he wrote: "We are inclined to believe that soybean cake, after extraction of the oil, could be ground to a flour for use in nourishing human beings. It would contain 40-45% protein and, during production, would not pick up any off flavors. It would serve to make soups very rich in nutrients and be easier to cook than whole soybeans."
Soy flour first came to be widely used in the Western world in France, starting in the late 1880s, as a major starch-free ingredient in breads and biscuits used in diabetic diets. In 1880 Pellet in France had first shown that soybeans contain little or no starch and in 1886 Paillieux first suggested the use of soybeans (flour??) in diabetic diets. The earliest known reference to the use of soy flour in diabetic diets was by Egasse in 1888. He wrote: "Soy flour, prepared in various ways to mask the raw bean flavor (which does not please everyone), aids in varying the [diabetic] regime and in providing a concentrated source of protein." Egasse reported that an industrialist in Riems, Mr. Bourdin, was already making and marketing a gluten-and-soy bread [presumably made with soy flour]. He also noted that Dr. L. Petit (1888) had reported that the consumption of 20-30 gm (4-6 teaspoons) of soy oil produced a marked laxative effect; this was later disproved. Egasse therefore advised that soy flour not be consumed in large quantities. By 1890 the Bulletin de la Societe d'Acclimatation reported that Dr. Dujardin-Beaumetz had developed a "soy bread" made from low-fat (4.4%) soy flour, which was believed to have improved digestibility and taste. In 1894 Villon discussed the use of soy flour in "Asiatic Bread." A more detailed review of early uses of soy in diabetic diets is given in Chapter 21. The key point is that soy flour was the first European-made soyfood to become widely known and used. Only soy sauce, made in East Asia, was more popular at this time.
The earliest known soy flour produced commercially in Europe was that produced by Bourdin in Riems. Piper and Morse (1916) noted specifically that a mixture of soybean meal and wheat flour had been manufactured in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for 25 years . . . which would mean that it was being made there since 1891. Neumann (1928) reported that as early as 1896 Timpte in Magdeburg (now in East Germany) had introduced what was probably the world's first commercial defatted soy flour; it contained 51.6% protein and 0.51% fat. It must have been made by solvent extraction. In 1901 Nikitin in Russia reported that Padoba had made zwieback out of soybeans; they may well have been ground to a meal.
Unfortunately we know almost nothing about how these various foods and types of soy flour were made. The soybeans were probably imported in small quantities from East Asia, since they were not widely grown in Europe. They were probably ground whole (with hulls on) and raw to make the flour, although it is possible that they were precooked (steamed, boiled, or dry roasted). If treated with moist heat, how were they dried? Were they dehulled? How? Were they ground with a typical stone mill? What portion of the flour was at least partially defatted, and how was the oil removed?
Research on debittering soybeans and other legumes started in the 1880s. The earliest known patent was issued to Paul Saltsien in 1886 (German patent No. 31,391). Bitter materials were removed from the seeds by treatment with aqueous or alcoholic solutions containing 6-10% ammonia. The next debittering patent was not issued until 1919, to Yamamoto in the US and Japan. A host of debittering patents were issued from about 1924 on. A.K. Smith (1945) has reviewed them all, by country.
1900 to 1919 . During the early 1900s the use of soy flour in breads for diabetic diets became increasingly popular, especially in France. Yet price may have limited the product's appeal. In 1905 Bardet in France wrote: "At present, the soybean is actually a deluxe product; 100 kg of soy flour costs about 150 francs, which is an enormous amount." The flour was still made from soybeans imported in small lots from East Asia. Other early articles about soy flour in diabetic diets, attesting to the product's widespread use, were published by Bloch (1907), Chevalier (1909), Le Goff (1910-11), and Burtt-Davy (1910).
The major impetus to the expanded production and use of soy flour came in 1907-08, when England became the first European country to import large quantities of soybeans from East Asia. Other European countries quickly followed suit. By 1909 the Hull Oil Manufacturing Company, Ltd. was making soy flour in England ( London Times , April 1911). An edition of Milling magazine that year (August 28) reported that there was great interest in using the high-protein soybean to produce flour for breads and that the Hull firm recommended a mixture of 1 part soy flour to 4 or 5 parts wheat flour. It was found that by using about 15% soy flour in a bread mix, "The flavour of the loaf was superior to that of the average brown bread," and the nutritional value was markedly improved. But the crumb was somewhat heavy and the soy flour could not be bleached for use in white breads. By 1910 at least two large British biscuit manufacturers (Messrs. Carr and Co., Ltd. of Carlisle, and Messrs. Euing and Co. of Liverpool) were using soy flour, apparently mixed with some wheat flour, to produce biscuits (resembling the famous crisp Scotch cakes) for use in diabetic diets and for export (Burtt-Davy 1910; Choles 1910; Sawer 1911b). In 1913 the Hull Oil Engineering Company in Stoneferry, England, introduced a soy flour under the name Homco Soya Flour (Neumann 1928) and by 1916 a product labeled "Soya Flour," consisting of 25% soy flour and 75% wheat flour, was on the market (Piper and Morse 1916). According to Bowdidge (1935), just before World War I an English firm was making soya butter, biscuits, cocoa, milk chocolate and other confectionery, cream, cakes, and bread. They proved quite successful until a wartime embargo on soybean imports put a stop to the business; the organizers (whose names were not given) eventually went to America. The earliest British patent for soy flour and for a soybean debittering process was granted to Friedman in 1914.
All of the pioneering work with soy flour in France was done by Li Yu-ying, who also had an important effect on soy flour in Britain, since he applied for a number of his patents there as well as in France. A Chinese soyfoods' researcher and manufacturer, Li had a plant near Paris. In December 1910 he applied for the world's earliest know patents for soy flour in both Britain and France. Entitled "Soja Flour and its Derivatives," the patents (British Patent 30,350; French Patent 424,124) were granted in 1911 and 1912 respectively. By 1910 Li was already making this mechanically extracted low-fat soy flour plus a soy bread in France. He recommended it for use in pastas, soups, breads, and cakes. In his classic Le Soja (1911-12), Li presented the best history and review to date of soy flour, soy breads, and their use in diabetic diets. He reported that soy flour was made by "grinding dehulled soybeans. The hulls and germs are removed with one pass through the winnowing machine. The flour is then sifted." Apparently it was a raw flour. He also noted that soy breads had not become popular for nondiabetic Europeans because they were poorly made (too heavy and disagreeable) and because soy flour was too expensive. His leavened bread, resembling rye bread, was apparently of better quality and lower price, for it was widely accepted (Rouest 1921). Li urged the widespread production of whole-wheat and soy bread for all people interested in good health. It is interesting to note that Li may?? have been the first Chinese to produce nonroasted soy flour. Some of the bread used by the French during World War I was made largely from soy flour, and some of it may have been made at Li's plant (Adolph and Kiang 1919, 1922).
If the first two major forces stimulating the spread of soy flour in Europe were the recognition of its value in diabetic diets (1888 on) and the start of large scale soybean imports (1907-08), the next big impetus was the start of World War I. The war forced combatant nations to look at the soybean in new ways (in terms of nutritional value, cost, and land-use efficiency, rather than just in terms of flavor and therapeutic value) and to try to find which soyfoods were best suited to wartime needs. Soy flour in "War Bread" emerged as the most widely used soyfood throughout Europe, becoming doubly important during the great shortages of animal proteins and wheat during and after the war, until the early 1920s.
Not surprisingly, it was Germany that began to take the lead in soy flour research, production, and utilization. Already a leader in the fields of soybean crushing and oil extraction, Germany eventually did more for soy flour than any other nation in Europe. And this soy flour initially played a crucial role in feeding German soldiers and civilians during World War I. As early as 1911, German millers were using soy flour, mixed with rye flour, to make brown bread (Shaw 1911). During the following years, three large German oil milling firms (Thoerl and Hansa Muehle in Hamburg-Harburg, and Soyamawerke in Frankfurt), which were already crushing soybeans, began to make soy flour from their defatted meal. In 1913 Prof. Dr. R. Kafemann published a detailed study on Aguman, a new low-fat soy flour made by the Thoerl Oil Mills or "Agumawerke" in Harburg. Containing about 44% protein, 4.7% minerals (ash), and 1.64% lecithin (the total fat content was not given), this flour had been developed and patented by Ehrhorn; it was made from expeller-extracted, heat-processed soybean meal. Marketed as being nutritious, inexpensive, versatile, and "debittered," it was recommended for use in cocoa, milk, bread, cakes, and zwieback, as well as in diabetic diets. Mass production of this Aguman soy flour began in October 1914. During the war it served in many ways as an extender for rye and wheat, which were in short supply, and as the original Ersatz food. This, combined with its comparatively poor flavor, was said to have led to a loss of interest in soyfoods by the German people (Fuerstenberg 1917; Neumann 1928). Schwicker (1924) may have been referring to this product when he reported that during World War I an attempt was made in Hamburg to make soy bread containing 7% soy flour but the public was unwilling to accept it. Eventually Agumawerke developed three soy flours: Aguman was high in protein (55.9% and low in fat (2.3%); Aguma contained 49.0% protein and 8.6% fat; and Vaterland (Fatherland) contained 44.6% protein and 4.3% fat (Horvath 1927). During the war, as soybean supplies ran low (they eventually ran out), Aguma was increasingly sold as a mixture with rice flour. It was also hydrolyzed to prepare an extract called Suppenwurze, which resembled beef extract and was used as a soup base or seasoning. Shortly after the war, the Aguma factory was almost completely destroyed by an explosion. In 1925 Ehrhorn patented a new soy flour, containing 55-70% protein and made from solvent-extracted soybean meal. Said to have a very bland flavor, it was also used as the basis for a hydrolyzed soy protein extract called Sojawurze (Horvath 1927).
Germany's second producer of soy flour was the Soyamawerke in Frankfurt. Prior to World War I they began to manufacture Germany's first whole (full-fat) soy flour. Called Soyama and developed and patented by Dr. Goessel, it contained 42% protein and 18% fat. During the war a mixture of Soyama and kohlrabi flour was sold as Sojamasuppe, and used in making soups. By 1917 the company had patented Sojama Kraftmehl, a related product. Soyamawerke, which made only soyfoods, had huge sales during the war, equalto those of Agumawerke (Fuerstenberg 1917; Horvath 1927).
Hansa Muehle, a huge oil milling firm in Hamburg, was Germany's third early manufacturer of soy flour. Before World War I, they made roughly 2 tons (tonnes??, per what??) of solvent-extracted soy flour, which was used in local bakeries to make bread (Horvath 1931b). Apparently they did not produce much soy flour during the war, but they became active again in 1920. Hermann Bollmann, the company's director and major soy pioneer, developed a defatted soy flour containing 51.2% protein and only 0.1% fat. He then developed a bread containing 10% of this soy flour and promoted it aggressively, especially in the coal mining and industrial districts of the Ruhr, where its high protein, rich mineral content, and alkaline ash could increase the strength and endurance of the workers. In late 1920 the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture decreed that this bread be used in Hamburg's hospitals, asylums, and other institutions. The heads of these institutions praised the bread and its flavor, however in other commercial markets the bread did not do well, since the local people preferred their traditional breads (Neumann 1928; Horvath 1931b).
There were also other soy flours introduced during the war. For example Stange (1914-15) reported of a defatted German soy flour called Ehrenpreis, guaranteed to be free of any beany flavor, with 52.4% protein and 0.4% fat (Neumann 1928). Germany, England and, to a lesser extent, France, then, were the three major producers and users of soy flour during World War I. Because of this, soybeans and soyfoods became widely known. But since soy flour generally served as a substitute for traditional foodstuffs (wheat, meat, milk) and because the problems of removing its beany flavor and preventing its rancidification had not yet been solved, soy flour acquired a mixed reputation. Sure, it was inexpensive and nutritious, but it was also seen as a not-too-great-tasting Ersatz food that appeared in bad times.
Research on soy flour was also done in Italy during this period. As early as 1907, Ruata and Testoni, in an article and subsequent report to the Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce, pointed out that (based on the experience of Brugia??) the use of soy flour in bread could greatly enhance its nutritional value. In 1916-17, the Bonafous Institute in Turin got good results using a calf milk replacer, probably made from soy flour Ref??).