The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What is the science behind the 'water roux' method?

Sable's picture

What is the science behind the 'water roux' method?

I'd love to know WHY the water roux method works. I get the impression that it's something to do with the heating temperature allowing the gluten particles to absorb more water... but I'm a little iffy on that. An explanation of the chemical process and its effects would be great, if anyone has one, or just any info or theories at all. 

mwilson's picture

Substitute gluten for starch and you have your answer

clazar123's picture

Water roux provides a good amount of fully hydrated starchy gel. This makes the dough easy to handle as the moisture is bound in the gel and not on the surface and your hands causing the dough to stick to everything. It also provides a softness to the crumb as it is goes into the oven well hydrated and doesn't rob the moisture from the rest of the dough.

Bread consists of different balances between a starchy gel, gluten fibers, and water to make differnt types of crumb and texture. The ratios, how they are hydrated,how they are mixed and how they are bound up makes all the variations of crumb and texture.

FlourChild's picture

A roux, or similarly using cooked potatoes, tips the balance of structural elements (starchy gel, gluten) so that there is more starchy gel and less gluten.  This results in a more tender and moist crumb.