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[BKARTS] Flour Paste

This is a subject that everyone has a different opinion on and recipe for.
Jack Thompson has a lot to say about wheat starch paste and flour paste. If
you missed his message last Thursday, it's in the archive at

Jack has said a lot about paste over the years. I suggest you search the
archive and enter _Thompson paste_ as the search words. You can also try
other words as queries, like _starch paste_, _wheat paste_, etc.  If you've
never searched the archive, it's a great resource for everything from tech
details to philosophical mumbo-jumbo.
Here's the link:


In 1978 I was in the conservation lab at the British Library, and was shown
jars of paste that they were keeping in a cabinet, and planned to keep for
100 years as an experiment to replicate asian paste that was buried in pots
in the ground for many years before being used. It would be interesting to
know if that is still going on, and what it's like today.

A lot of research has been done about paste, to determine the best method
for making it, to optimize the adhesive qualities and minimize insect

Many people use the slow cook double boiler method. I prefer the direct
approach. It violates many of the precepts that research has shown to make
optimum paste, but I like the working qualities of it and books that I made
35 years ago look the same as the day I made them. Here's my flour paste

Put some cold water in a small pot, like a 3 qt saucepan. If you have water
with a lot of iron and other crap in it, filter it.
Add enough Hecker's unbleached flour to make it the consistency of half and
half-- thicker than milk, thinner than light cream. Mix it thoroughly with
a wire whisk until smooth. I've tried all kinds of flour and always come
back to Hecker's.
Cook it over a low to medium flame, stirring constantly with the whisk.
When it thickens and starts to get a glazed look on the surface it's done.
Pour it (or spoon it) into a container. I like the plastic deli containers,
but any bowl will do. Gently add cold water to the surface until it is
covered--do not mix the water into the paste. Leave it until it cools. The
water keeps the paste from skinning over.

I store it uncovered in the refrigerator in the summer, and leave it out on
the table in the winter. It will skin over. Peel off the skin and the paste
underneath is fine.


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