The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pasta water in breadmaking

Edthebread's picture

Pasta water in breadmaking

HI everyone

I've had nice results making bread with water from cooked potatoes, but we don't cook potatoes too often.  I was wondering if water from cooking pasta would achieve the same effect.  Both seem to be a similar 'carbo soup' kind of concoction, and there is always a lot of pasta water left.  Anybody have experience with this?



xaipete's picture

I never thought about that, but why not give it a try. On second thought, pasta water is pretty salty--Lydia B. on PBS says it should taste like the sea, so maybe that is not such a hot idea. Also, there is probably a big difference between potato water which probably has good stuff in other than just starch that comes from the potatoes. Pasta water probably just has salt and a little starch from the dried durum wheat.


BellesAZ's picture

However, if you're not fussy about salty pasta water, why not?  They use pasta water in some sauces just before adding the pasta to the sauce, so it can't be too much of a concern.  I would guess you'd need to adjust your salt add to your dough.

At the end of the day, however - I have to question whether it would make that much of a difference.  Potato water is very concentrated.

Edthebread's picture

I take you point about the salt, although we do not add any salt to the pasta water when we cook it.  Although I'm sure the pasta water contains less starch than potato water, I figured it would have lots more than plain water, so may contribute to the loaf.  I guess the converse of this is that the dough has plenty of wheat starch from the flour, so why would it need more.....

foolishpoolish's picture

This is something I've been meaning to try myself. In fact the last few times I made pasta I reserved the cooking 'liquor' for precisely that purpose but just never got round to it. 

More than just an additional source of starch, the pasta water should contain gelatinized starch (from being boiled).

(Pre)gelatinized starch or scalded flour is sometimes used when making rye breads and also sometimes in beer mashes. I believe the theory is that it aids starch saccharification since the gelatinized starch is more easily broken down. In the case of bread, I guess there should be a sweeter end product (or perhaps faster fermentation time??). Some asian breads use a 'glue' made from flour and water heated to the point when starches start to gel. Adding this to the final dough is supposed to improve the keeping properties and texture of the bread.

If you decide to use pasta water in your bread, please let us know how it went. I'm curious to know the results!


Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

I would break the salted pasta water down with fresh water to your taste or find a good maths person on this site to figure a maths formula re volume of water to salt used and needed for bread use.

As for rice that article is correct in its advice to place any unused cooked rice in the fridge ASAP. Cooked Rice is one of the worst foods for bacteria infections when it is left too long without being cooled to fridge temperature. As long as you cool it down quickly(ASAP) in the fridge you wont have troubles. We had Fried Rice the other night from the local Chinise take away. The unused portion was refridgerated straight away and was used again 2 nights later. Both my wife and I are still healthy with no side affects. Just cool it as soon as possible. Don't reheat it a 3rd time. Dispose of any left over again after the first reheat.

We boil rice then wash it in a colander to cool. It is then then refridgerated immediatily in the colander overnight to dry for a home cooked fried rice the next day. We don't leave it out at room temperature. Thats a big NO NO

 I'm sure the same could apply to the rice water. But please research it more for your own benefit. I  am going on a food handlers course I did a few years back. It was a very basic course for volunteer people but the point on rice was stressed. COOL IT VERY QUICKLY.


prairiepatch's picture

You mentioned that you wanted to try pasta water because you don't cook potatoes very often so you wouldn't have the water to use.  What I have done before is boil a small potato or even just a piece of a potato in the amount of water I want.  Then I mash the potato in the water and use this whole mix in my bread.

When I bake bread I usually bake a larger batch (5 loaves) so I often split the liquid needed.  For example today half the liquid was potato water and the other half was a can of beer.  Wow did that turn out good.

BellesAZ's picture

Beer and taters.

Did you save us a slice?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

About time I cook 100g dry egg noodles in 1000g water (5g salt, no oil) and make a familiar dough from it.  Anyone else?  salt can be adjusted later by tasting the dough.  (ended up with about 650g n-water after removing noodles)

Tried it  

  • 500g  bread flour,  W700         100%
  • 436g warm noodle water,  38°C        87%
  • 7.5g  salt                                  1.5%   
  • 5g  instant yeast                         1%

Used only noodle water added to dry ingredients until I liked the feel of the dough and all flour was moist.  Felt like a 70% hydration dough when hand mixed.  Gave it an hour to rest and hydrate. The dough kneaded sticky, like I had just mixed it up.  Not what I was expecting.  Hard to work with.  Used too much bench flour and stuck to my oiled hands. Gave up when it didn't get better, afraid of adding too much flour.   Let it bulk rise.   

It finally behaved like dough getting smooth and elastic after about 3.5 hrs  (23°C) without any problem.  Now the dough felt fully hydrated.  After deflating completely and a few turns on the bench, the dough stopped being sticky and I could pat it out and roll it up without any problems.  A final rise in the tin and into the hot steamy oven 220°C.

The dough sticking bothered me, unlike 5% tangzhong, something interferes with gluten formation or hinders water absorption into the flour.  Not happy with the heavy crumb.  Perhaps the noodle water hydrates the flour slower so that raising the hydration of the dough is easy,  strange enough, the dough feels like a lower hydration.  I was quite surprised that the math showed a hydration of 87%  but because of sticking, I used a lot of bench flour whenever I tried to knead or fold the dough.  Dough seemed too wet to use wet hands to knead so I didn't even try.  A strange experience.  

If I did it again, I wouldn't even bother kneading the first 4 hours while sticky.  Retard it during this time or give it a retarded final rise.


Deathworm's picture

You never said how it turned out, or did you not bake it?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

had a heavy crumb, most likely too much water....   Went looking for photos but didn't make any.  

Or do you mean the lemon grass loaf?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

This time I cut up 4 stalks lemon grass and tossed into the noodle water and let it simmer (after removing the noodles.) The noodles tasted so good it'd be a shame not to use the water. Tasting the water, it reminds me of Lemon curd without the sweet. Lovely!

Plan to make a half recipe of JOC1954 Cranberry Tarragon Bread using this infused noodle water.