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paste without stirring

    I make starch paste in the microwave, which pretty well eliminates the need
for stirring. For general use, I make the paste up at 6% weight/volume (6 grams
per 100ml water, or about 1tbsp in 1 cup of water).
    Add the starch to cold water using a microwaveable glass container that will
hold at least 3 times the volume of liquid that you are making, and mix until
suspended. A large container is needed because the paste will bubble up and
expand while it cooks.
    Cook on high power until it starts to come up to a boil (the time varies
with the quantity of paste), take it out and give it a stir with a wood or
plastic utensil (metal will cause a severe boiling up).
    Cook the paste for another 10-12 minutes on low power (level 3 or 4 on the
microwave). This step is necessary because the gluten in the paste needs to be
cooked at least 10 minutes at 96CEbefore it  bursts and gives the paste real
sticking power (this according to the late Helen Burgess, formerly Senior
Conservation Scientist at the Canadian Conservation Institute).
    Let the paste cool before use and lift off the skin that forms on the top of
the paste as it cools and discard it.


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