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  • A processing method for Maize which makes it more digestable / useful as food for humans
  • The maize is washed, soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, washed, and then hulled
  • Also refered to as Hominy if served "as is"
  • Nixtamalized maize has several benefits over unprocessed grain, mainly:
    • It is more easily ground
    • It's nutritional value is increased
    • Taste is modified
    • Mycotoxins (if present) are reduced
    • Lime and ash are highly alkaline: the alkalinity helps the dissolution of Hemicellulose, the major glue-like component of the maize cell walls, and loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the maize
    • Hemicellulose-bound niacin is converted to free niacin (a form of vitamin B3), making it available for absorption into the body, thus helping to prevent pellagra
    • Some of the Corn Oil is broken down into emulsifying agents (monoglycerides and diglycerides), while bonding of the maize proteins to each other is also facilitated
  • The calcium in lime acts as a cross-linking agent for protein and polysaccharide acidic side chains, thus while Cornmeal made from untreated ground maize is unable by itself to form a dough on addition of water, the chemical changes in Masa Flour allow dough formation

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