How much water needed to wash?
Here’s another one that comes up a lot. Some people don’t like to wash flour because they find it’s a waste of water. I use the thickest of the leftover starch water in recipes like these, and typically use the water on top for my house plants. However, I understand those options don’t work well for everyone.
So again I’m starting with two dough balls made from 450g of 12.7% bread flour, and 236mL water. I added a few drops of vegan red food coloring to each, partly because I wanted a red dough for my next meal, but also because it helps you see the starch that’s leftover. (The color doesn’t adhere to the starch as well as it does the gluten.)
I formed my dough balls, kneading just until uniform, about 3-4 minutes each. The dough balls were slightly off weight from each other, so I evened them out to 672g each. For the sake of water conservation, I covered them with only a damp cloth. I let them rest this way for about 2 hours.
I washed them both as I usually do, with 9 minutes on the clock. There were 3 total washes for the first, and only 1 for the second, both using lukewarm water. As it turns out, I use about 3 gallons of water for my standard wash of a dough ball this size, because one gallon is what fits in my bowl. For the second I measured out exactly 1 gallon for the single wash.
After washing, visually they didn’t look very different from each other. They had a similar-looking amount of white, starchy streaks, however, they felt very different. The dough washed only once felt softer and more slimy than the first, which felt more squeaky. I let them both drain on a cutting board for 20 minutes. The puddle from the first was mostly clear, while the puddle from the second was much more opaque.