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Subject: Paste cooker

Paste cooker

From: Bas van Velzen <eland>
Date: Wednesday, August 16, 1995
Wlodek Witek <wlodek.witek [at] ub__uio__no> writes

>I came across an adaptation of use of a cooking device for making
>sauce. It is a regular household equipment by Moulinex which stirs
>and heats a bowl under and around it.

The "Saucier" or saucemaker is a great device for making paste (try
my Hollandaise sauce too). I have used it for about three years now
and it has shown to be a very sturdy machine that can take a lot of
abuse. In France the saucier has been used much longer. They come in
two sizes under the brandname of either Moulinex, Tefal or SEB, all
French companies (actually is is the same make). There also exists a
model with a an alarm timer. The model offered in the University
Products catalogue is the smaller model which I have never seen for
sale in Europe. My recipe for making paste has developed over the
years to make paste that has very good properties: very strong, low
water content, easy to apply, easy to dilute to very thin dilutions
that still have good holding power.

1 part wheat starch to 4 parts of water (by volume). Most times I
add a little magnesium carbonate to be sure the pH is above 7 and as
a buffer. (starch sometimes can be slightly acidic). Let soak in the
saucier overnight. Living in my workshop, I switch it on to the 5
position (the maximum) just before I take my shower. I have found a
glass container that fits on top of the saucepan. In this way the
temperature will be higher which will make better paste and shorten
the time of cooking. Also the container doubles as paste storage and
this way is sterilised in the same operation. Let cook for about 25
minutes in the 5 position then simmer for another 25 minutes on the
3 position. You will notice that when the wheat starts to gel the
motor will have more trouble stirring the paste, after a while it
will turn more easy as the starch starts to dissolve more and more.

All this will produce a fantastic creamy--your words--paste. Poor in
the container and allow to cool down. This will hold before spoiling
for about 2-3 days. Never keep it in the refrigerator, this will
change the properties: makes it "brittle" and more crystalline. For
a full understanding of what happens you could look up: C.V. Horie
"Materials for Conservation" Butterworths 1987 ISNB 0-408-01531-4
pgs. 135-141 where the process is shown in pictures.

But in order to use the paste to its maximum quality it is in my
opinion necessary to put it through its paces. That is to strain it
through a sieve and than work it with a brush. This has nothing to
do with lumps in he paste because they will not be there, remember
you made it with the Saucier. You will notice several things happen
to the paste: after straining the volume will be less, the colour
has slightly changed, it is more shiny and less stiff. This is
because the straining and working with the brush causes the smaller
molecules (or better molecule conglomerates) to fill up the space
between the larger molecules so the volume will become smaller: more
paste in the same space = more gluing power. This also explains the
colour and shine change: the surface becomes smoother. Also the
stiff structure of the paste after cooling is broken, making more
flexible films (also prolonged cooking will do this). These films
are more adapted to the qualities of paper. A second advantage is
that after working your paste it is easier to dilute with water.
Hope this will convince you not to be lazy with the fantastic glue
paste is; work it!

yours,

Bas van Velzen
Jonge Eland papierestauratie
Oude Looiersstraat 65-67
1016 VH Amsterdam
+31 20 623 79 89
Fax: +31 20 627 32 23
VeRes (Dutch Association of Professional Restorers)
postbus 11503
1001 GM Amsterdam

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:17
                 Distributed: Thursday, August 17, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-17-007
                                  ***
Received on Wednesday, 16 August, 1995

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