This really is a very easy process.
Besides, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to video and a bit camera shy so lets dive into text!
Perhaps it’s a bit silly to call the result of this “wallpaper paste” but it’s the result of an Asian technique for pre-baking some of your flour to get it to retain water.
Flour and Water in the right proportion can stick paper to the wall, make papier mache, and will make your breads and pastries wonderful!
There are various names for the process: Water Roux, Tangzhong, and others. The process locks up extra water in the dough, gelatinizes it, and gives extra lift to the breads.
When that is used in baking, it allows your breads to rise taller, last longer, and the resulting loaves are softer and more tender. I did not notice a difference in the taste however the texture was definitely changed. Until you get the hang of this, you are going to be more hands on and manual than usual.
Intrigued? I was, and I tried it. The best hint I can give you about this is to take your time while mixing.
I can’t say about the longer life because the rolls I made today were the first using this process. Allow things to “come together” on their own until you get used to the new proportions.
I can say that they were interesting and I certainly will do this again. Obviously there are times where this process is inappropriate. For Bagels this would be wrong because you want them to be chewy. The resulting dough from this process is soft and pliable so it’s best for sandwich rolls and I can see it in pastries as well. Burger Rolls definitely will be improved by this.
I am using this recipe for the bread dough, Pat’s Pizza Dough. I have been using it for years, decades really. I know what the rolls and dough should be like so I was able to tell right off that this technique has its place.
First, that specific recipe uses 10 ounces water, 3 cups of flour. Since you are going to pre-cook part of that, keep those numbers in mind as you will adjust your normal recipe downward for this process.
Second, of those three cups of flour, you will want to reserve a quarter cup of it. The Water Roux process absolutely changes the texture of your dough. Since the dough is changing, you will have to add in either more water at the end.
If you overshoot and end up with a dough that isn’t smooth and silky, adjust as needed.
Third, to make the paste:
- In a small mixing bowl, I took all 10 ounces of the water from the recipe and added in 2 ounces of flour.
- I then whisked the flour into the water for 5 minutes by hand.
- Then warm the flour to 140F/60C (in the microwave) in bursts.
- Whisk that mixture again until smooth. You will notice a thicker “gel” forming in the bottom of your mixing bowl.
- Allow the mixture to cool to 105F/40C or cooler before making your dough. After all, you want to give your Yeast a chance to thrive!
Fourth, Make your dough. Add your salt, sugar, yeast, oil. Mix the roux into the flour slowly, watching how the dough comes together.
Overview: What you just did was to release the proteins in the two ounces of flour. Those proteins bound to the water in the mix. Now you really don’t have 10 ounces of water any longer since some of it is bound up, you now have to add back an appropriate amount.
What is appropriate?
For the Pat’s Pizza Dough Recipe, I added in an extra ounce of water to a total of 11 ounces. For our Metric Audience, each ounce is two tablespoons or 28.3 mL. 283 mL originally plus another 28 mL or so.
Its an adjustment not a whole re-do of things.
The dough is in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, and it was now too “wet”. Adding in one tablespoon of the reserved flour “tightened” the mix back up to where I could make rolls and allow it to rise and bake.
The dough was silky smooth and very easy to work with. The usual recipe tends to be on the sticky side and a bit rubbery due to my all purpose flour.
You will want to take your time with this process.
What happens is that while baking some of that “extra” water gets released in the form of steam and your dough gets taller. It acts as Leavening to make for a lighter and more fluffy roll.
At least that was what I found. Those rolls were sliced open, and had with some tuna salad. Quite good!