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Making starch

The primary constituents of flour are starch and gluten (there is a lot of
other stuff, but these two are what we are interested in separating).

Soak flour in an excess of water (say, 5-6 times the volume of the flour)
and stir it up throughly.  Leave the stuff alone for a day or so and then
stir it up again and after the flour has settled, pour off the water and
pour in fresh water.  Do this until you can pick up a handful of the flour
and squeeze out a thick milky fluid.  That is starch.  Put it into an old
(clean) pillow case, or a piece of fine linen or cotton fabric and slowly
squeeze. The thinner starch will slowly flow through the cloth, leaving the
relatively larger/stickier gluten behind.

You can make gluten bread from the gluten, or dumplings to fire out of a

That's the quick way.  A better precipitated starch starts out the same
way, but instead of changing the water every day or so, stir the flour up
every day in the same water until it begins to ferment.  When the water
turns sour smelling and turbid, pour it off, pour in fresh water and
continue as before, until the water stays clear for a few days without
fermenting.  What is left in the bottom of the container is substantially
pure precipitated starch.

Do this a time or two to get a feel for it and then go out and buy another
pound for a dollar at the local grocery store.

Make up a batch of store-bought starch and leave it set until the water
starts to go sour (and you thought store-bought starch was pure), then
carefully pour off the water and add fresh distilled water (we're all using
distilled water to make paste, right...?) and then cook the paste up as
usual.  I think you'll notice a difference.


>Jack--Could you give us a little more detail on the precipitation
>process---what you save, what you toss, etc.?
>Sam Lanham (slanham@xxxxxxxx)

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


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