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Can Water Roux be Refrigerated?

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Kbone's picture
Kbone

Can Water Roux be Refrigerated?

  I'm curious if anyone has tried making roux ahead of time, refrigerating it and using it in a dough recipe the next day. I like to make bread on weeknights from time to time and I can really only pull it off if I start as soon as I get home and make bread that requires no more than three hours total rising time between bulk rise and loaf proofing if I want to get it baked and reasonably cooled before bedtime. Every minute counts, making a roux fresh and allowing it to cool enough to use in a dough adds a bit of time to the process.

  I'm wondering if the refrigerated roux would be as effective as one made fresh because I read the following in Wikipedia's entry on Starch Gelatization:

"Cooked, unmodified starch, when cooled for a long enough period, will thicken (or gel) and rearrange itself again to a more crystalline structure; this process is called retrogradation. During cooling, starch molecules gradually aggregate to form a gel. Molecular associations occur: Amylose-Amylose ; Amylose-Amylopectin; Amylopectin-Amylopectin. A mild association amongst chains come together with water still embedded in the molecule. Due to the tightly packed organization of small granule starches, retrogradation occurs much more slowly compared to larger starch granules. High amylose starches require more energy to break up bonds to gelatinize into starch molecules, leading to a rigid and stiff gel. A mild association amongst chains come together with water still embedded in the molecule.

"Due to strong associations of hydrogen bonding, longer amylose molecules will form a stiff gel.Amylopectin molecules with longer branched structure, increases the tendency to form strong gels. Granule size do not directly impact starch performance, but it is one of the main factors affecting starch gelatinzation and retrogradation. High amylopectin starches will have a stable gel, but will be softer than high amylose gels.

Retrogradation restricts the availability for amylase hydrolysis to occur."

  Can anyone translate that for me in a way that will indicate what if any difference this might make when adding the refrigerated roux to a whole wheat bread dough?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I have always made my water roux(s) ahead of time and either kept refrigerated or stored in a very cool room. Only for a few hours though. Never waited until the next day to use it, but I think it is ok to store for up to about a day at least.

If it has been refrigerated, I always let it come up to room temperature before adding to the dough.

No comment on the scientific "gobbledegook"(that's what it is to me).

I'm just pretty sure I've read that it is ok to store the roux for a short period and maybe even for the better for doing so.

Quoted from a blogger who was apparently baking from the book that was (supposedly)at least partially influential in "re-popularizing" the old technique:

"...Leave it to cool completely aside before use; otherwise, it can always be refrigerated for up to two days--discard after that or even once it's turned gray (i.e. it's bad now.)

4.Just bring it to room temperature right before using it. (I'm not too sure about this, but I've heard that tangzhong that's been left to age in the fridge for up to 12 hours is better. Hope I've got time to try this out.)..."

http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/2009/10/tangzhong-or-water-roux-method.html

Good luck! ps: My water roux breads have all turned out great.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the dough and slowly release it during the bake so one gets the affects of high hydration without a soupy dough to handle.

This can be seen with hash brown potatoes.  If a freshly cooked hot potato is grated, it is rather difficult and crumbles, the resulting fried potato mass takes long to dry out and messy.   If cooked potatoes are allowed to cool overnight, the grating is easier as the potato has become a gelled mass.  The resulting fry process browns faster with more definition encapsulating moist potato inside.   

Antilope's picture
Antilope

I make the tangzhong water roux in the microwave in 40 seconds and use it without cooling.

Example 125 gm water, 25 gm flour (enough for 500 gm flour). Mix in a Pxrex or plastic measuring cup.

Microwave (in 1100 watt microwave) for 25 seconds, stir, microwave 15 seconds. Stir. Roux is 150-F and done.

I don't wait for the water roux to cool, just mix with remaining cooler liquids in recipe. The liquids then end up lukewarm.

Kbone's picture
Kbone

  Thank you all for your responses. The only other thing I would ask is do you find that your roux tends to more or less solidify after refrigeration as mine has done or does it remain more like a viscuous liquid? I'm concerned that my rather solid roux might remain in the dough as little chunks but I'm probably worrying without reason, I expect the mixing and kneading processes will probably incorporate it pretty uniformly.

  Antilope, it had crossed my mind that a warm roux would quickly average out in temperature when mixed with room temperature ingredients. I would expect that as long as it didn't come in direct contact with too much live yeast there would be little or no harm in using it that way. I'll try your method in the future.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

until the liquid ingredients are at a safe temperature. The roux and liquid ingredients are mixed first. Then the dry yeast is added after I make sure the temperature is safe.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Yes, it "congeals" when refrigerated, but easily re-softens when it is brought back to room temp, and is then easily and thoroughly mixed with the other dough ingredients.

Nothing to worry over at all(if the directions for preparations were followed). I had a similar concern just a couple of weeks ago. After refrigerating it seemed so firm, I thought I might have overcooked it. But it "melted" right in upon warming up and mixing.

Again, some seem to think refrigerating does something for the better. But like you, I usually just prepare ahead of time for convenience.

AidaPT's picture
AidaPT

above comments noted. I usually make the water roux that would yield 2 loaves of bread, usually 100g flour to 500ml of water.  Because my oven is small, i can only bake 1 loaf that will last us for 3 days. There is two of us at home. Any extra water roux goes to the fridge and gets reheated before use by adding a little water just enough to hydrate it. It works just as good.

I am not sure if anyone has tried this technique in addition to water roux. I add a mixture of lemon juice and milk to add acidity to the dough. I add olives, onions, cheese, etc that might add flavour to it. The finished product always come out wonderful. Just a little secret for my loaves that the family kept for years. x

Kbone's picture
Kbone

Thanks everyone for your helpful answers and tips.

I threw together a quick batch of dough last night and got some pretty decent results. I didn't measure things too precisely (I know, bad habit, but I have long been a sight and feel cook/baker and most of the time that serves me pretty well). I wound up making two medium size loaves using KAF WWW flour (and some Prairie Gold when I ran short), some oil, a little sugar, commercial yeast, salt, water and about a cup and a half of my refrigerated roux (roux made from KAF WWW).

The one major difference I noted in the dough was that it was far gummier than usual. I think I used a bit more roux than would have been ideal. Near the end of kneading the dough was clinging vigorously to the bottom of the Ankarsrum's bowl. I scraped it out, gave it about 70 minutes bulk rise, split into loaves, proofed another 70 or so then baked 50 minutes at 350.

Bread has a somewhat moister crumb than usual, no gumminess to the baked product, at least near the end of the loaves. My next attempt will be over the weekend and I plan to use more precise measurements and less roux.

Does gummy dough just go with the territory or am I being reasonable in my guess that too much roux makes goo?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

too much will make gummy.  That is why up to  5% of the total flour in the water is the usual amount.  Above, closer to  10% and over gets into reversing any positive results.  I will have to go find the paper on it unless someone else finds it first.

Was reading an older thread, i've been looking for the paperwork for years now... Ha!   For searches use: 65°C 5% Tangzhong 

discussion starts about here:  (don't get too mixed up in the math)

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/comment/168592#comment-168592

Kbone's picture
Kbone

Thanks, Mini. I read through the thread you linked to and found it very interesting.

I'm always a little taken aback by how precise some folks seek to be with their measurements. Not being critical, mind you, but I've never made a bread dough where I felt that a tiny amount of water like 1/2 teaspoon or a pinch of flour would make much of a difference one way or another. Maybe it's because I almost exclusively make 100% whole grain breads two or three loaves at a time that those amounts seem trivial to me. Of course, that's probably why my dough came out kind of gummy with my first roux experiment too so I can see how that kind of attention to detail can pay off at times.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to post answers and advice on this thread. I appreciate your kindness in sharing your valuable expertise. I'm finding this to be a very good community and look forward to continued participation in the future.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

numbers to keep in my head are the simplest.  I work with metric weights so it is easy to figure that for every 100g of flour use 5g of flour into some water for a water roux.   It is easy to deal with multiples of 5 just looking straight at a recipe.  

500g flour would use 25g of flour into the roux.  

1kg (1000g)  would be 50g flour for the roux.  

Just weigh before nuking or heating to 65°C and after to replace any evaporated water.  In some, yes, maybe only a teaspoon, but it it cooked longer can easily be a tablespoon or 1% of the dough hydration.  No biggie if you eyeball everything anyway and use a fast rising recipe but the dough feel will be different and could throw off your perceptions. 

If you take identical recipes and change one to include a water roux, the dough with the roux will be firmer and not as sticky as the same dough without the roux.  Amazes me every time.  If you add more water so that they both "feel" the same  (that is, up the hydration of the dough with the roux) it will end up with more hydration.   Using a roux is one way to raise the hydration (and weight, and most likely the volume) of a dough without having the handling problems of a high hydration dough.  Try it and compare.  (Has it been used yet in the Tartine recipe?  I might have missed such a post.)

I spent a few hours searching in studies on gelled starches, additions to bread doughs and was all over the bread and cereal map much to my frustration.  I need the technical words for water roux.  Found some interesting articles on other topics and resistant starch replacements for wheat but couldn't find what I was looking for specifically.  That would be a comparative study using wheat starch, pre-gelled as a varying ingredient in wheat dough or as a "natural" dough enhancer.   

Did run into altus studies, which I find promising as not everyone thinks using altus (baked bread) serves any structural purpose, improving the texture of bread crumb.  A common misconception is that the baker is just cutting losses by recycling loaves.  Thinking in terms of pre gelled starch, it is easier to understand it's role.  

Antilope's picture
Antilope

But would a different flour type or flour characteristic create a better tangzhong roux? That 5% tangzhong roux flour doesn't necessarily need to be the same as the main recipe flour. Would an instant flour like Wondra make a better tanzhong roux? Does gluten matter in the roux flour? Would cake flour, soft southern flour, all purpose flour, bread flour or a whole grain flour make a better roux? Or is unbleached flour better than bleached flour in a tangzhong roux? Would adding some cornstarch or arrowroot to the tangzhong roux flour make it work better? Some things to think about and experiment with. 

Kbone's picture
Kbone

I was wondering that myself. I've tried Googling the question a couple of different ways but haven't found a satisfactory answer. Hopefully someone here can shed more light on the subject.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

(50% bread flour and 50% whole wheat flour) sandwich bread, a stronger tangzhong effect when the roux is made from the bread flour instead of from the whole wheat flour. So there is at least that difference.