Making Wheat Starch Paste

This is a post I have been meaning to do for a while, both for me to refer to in the future and for anyone interested, and have finally got my act together after a nudge from Sago On Tuesdays! I hope that I may be able to add to it in the future as I learn new techniques. At the moment I only have three or four to list, but they are good ones that I like.

Paste at the V&A

The V&A use shofu paste powder for their paste, it is one of the most refined pastes and is a good tackiness and consistency. It is also not necessary to let it stand like with common paste, it can be cooked immediately.

– Mix 27g shofu powder to 200ml water in a beaker and stir together
– Place the beaker on a hot plate on a medium heat
– Stir for about 15 mins or until the liquid starts to go clear and thicker
– Turn up the heat and continue to stir until the paste is thick enough and stays on the stirrer.
– Cover the beaker with a damp cloth and place in a sink of cold water to cool
(have a cup of tea)
– Once cool transfer the now jelly like paste to a clean beaker
– Fill with water until the paste is all cover and recover with a damp cloth
– This can now be left for a few days on the side (not fridge)
– When using it, take how much you need and sieve it three times
– Do not return served past to the beaker

In this case and all cases where paste is cooked on a hot plate, the paste must be on the heat for at least 35 mins and constantly stirred. This is so that the enzymes can open up and create the tackiness.

Paste at Camberwell College of Arts

Paste at Camberwell is unfortunately the slowest process, but very authentic in terms of how it was made once upon a time. It makes quite a sticky dense paste, with little liquid, which is good for many purposes.

– Mix 1 part paste to 4 parts water and leave to stand for 20minutes
– Poor the mix into the top part of a double boiler (above), and fill the lower part with water
– Set to a high heat and constantly stir until mixture becomes like custard
– Lower the heat and continue to stir until it has been cooked for about 35 mins, it should be clear like silicone
– Leave to cool and then sieve 2/3 times

Paste at the The National Arhives

The National Archives also use shofu paste because of its good qualities, and unlike anywhere else I have been, they also use a saucier, which removes the need of a stirrer! Their paste is also at 20% concentration, which I find a little too liquid, but it is made for everyone, so is what most people there require.

Using a saucier
– Mix 20g of shofu powder with 100/150ml distiller water (dry/wet)
– Put the mixture in the saucier and set to level 4 (out of 5)
– Allow to cook for 30 mins
– Sieve 2/3 times
– Keep in the fridge when not in use

Using a microwave
– Mix 20g of shofu powder with 150ml of water in a beaker
– Microwave at short intervals as below, stirring in the middle
– Sieve 2/3 times

7 Replies to “Making Wheat Starch Paste”

  1. I buy Wheat Starch from a Chinese food shop in packs, it is cooked as per your instructions and makes great paste.
    I use larger quantities as I need more for linen backing old
    Posters (Movie and Travel and Maps) it has high tack if made a little thicker as first a lining paper is laid on to linen stapled to a frame and wetted to allow linen to shrink for 10 minutes
    Then paste linen and roll out backing paper on to linen lift off and re-lay to eliminate cockles, then roll firmly on to linen.
    Then paste back of dampened poster and lay on the paper use a Clear plastic Sheet to lay on poster and roll out flat removing bubbles and creases. Then when satisfied with final result leave somewhere flat and allow to dry completely at room temperature about two to three days. When completely dry cut out of temporary frame and trim edges, poster is ready for framing.

    1. Wow – Thanks Robert, this is fantastic! I had no idea you could get it from Chinese Food Shops – how about longevity? Being a food grade option, I would be suspicious that it might be a bit more attractive to bugs, have you ever found this? We tend to line onto Japanese tissue rather than linen, as the linen can sometimes be a bit strong in comparison to the paper object, but it certainly lasts a long time. Thank you 🙂

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