Scalded flour baking method involves pouring boiling water over the bread flour and letting the flour soak and gluten develop. This flour and water mix is then added back to the recipe ingredients and carry on preparing the bread in normal way.
The purpose of scalded flour is to enhance the flour gluten, which results in soft and light bread and higher bread rise. This method can be used with any type of bread, rolls or sweet bread recipe.
I’ve discovered the scalded flour baking method a few years back and it’s been a total gamechanger in the way I now bake my bread.
Scalded flour produces beautifully soft bread which is particularly great when you are baking white sandwich loaves, bread rolls or enriched dough, like brioche or panettone.
This scalded flour method is easy enough to make, although you need to plan your bread baking a little. If you can remember to make the scalded flour about 12- 24 hrs before you want to make your bread, you’ll get the best results.
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What is scalded flour dough enhancer
It sounds quite scary as a name, but as you’ll discover, it’s basically flour that’s been scalded with boiling water. What this does is that it speeds up the waking up process (and the formation) of the flour gluten.
This process usually happens at the end of your bread baking, when you put your bread in the hot oven to bake. The higher oven temperature, which is used for bread baking wakes up the gluten even more than when you knead it and work with the yeast to rise the bread. That is why you see your brioche or bread rise a bit in the first 5-10 minutes of baking.
By scalding the flour with boiling water at the beginning of the process, you are sort of supercharging the flour and that’s what makes for a super soft texture even without butter, eggs or milk.
It’s quite magical!
The scalded flour method was developed in Scandinavian countries for bread with rye flours. Rye flour have a naturally low gluten content and the scalding helps to maximise the little gluten that’s inside the grain.
A similar process of heating up flour before you knead it is also used in far-eastern countries like Japan or China, where the flour is boiled with the water on a frying pan.
What is the purpose of making scalded flour?
The purpose of scalded flour is to wake up (and supercharge) the gluten in the small amount of bread flour before we add the rest of the ingredients and the remaining flour.
This results in soft and light bread and much higher bread rise, than if you follow the traditional bread baking method of mixing all the ingredients together at the beginning.
Does scalded flour method save time?
The best thing about the scalded flour method is that you can leave your bread to rise just once and go straight to baking.
Because the flour gluten is supercharged by the scalded flour process, we only need to prove the bread recipe once!
You could leave the bread to rise twice, but it’s not necessary. Any bread recipe will work with just one rise (e.g. knead your bread, shape it and leave it to rise just once and then bake it).
What recipes I can use scalded flour with?
This method can be used with any type of bread, rolls or sweet bread recipe. It’s particularly good when baking white sandwich loaves, bread rolls or enriched dough, like brioche or panettone.
Bread recipes with rye, spelt, wholemeal or heritage flours can be sometimes heavy (and have enclosed thick texture), but when using the scalded flour the bread is much softer and the texture is open and light.
Bread recipes that work well with scalded flour
Here are my own tried and tested bread recipes that work well with scalded flour method.
- Sourdough Style Bread without Starter >>
- Black Russian Rye Bread >>
- Beer Bread >>
- Kentish Huffkings >>
- No-Knead Bread >>
- Potato Bread with Cheese >>
Scalded flour method also works with sweet bread recipes and these are my favourite:
- Soft Cinnamon Pretzels >>
- Cinnamon Star Bread >>
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting >>
How to prepare scalded flour dough enhancer
- 100g bread flour
- 100ml boiling water
Measure out 100 grams of white bread flour and pour 100 ml of boiling water on the top. I find that it’s easiest to put the bowl directly on the scales and then pour the water on the top.
Mix together, cover with cling film and leave to cool down at room temperature. Leave for at least 1 hr, but up to 12 – 24 hrs for a better flavour.
How to use scalded flour
Once you’ve made your scalded flour and let it rest for a minimum of 1 hr, you can add it to any white or wholemeal bread recipe, yeasted bread rolls, enriched dough etc.
You need to make sure that you deduct the 100 grams of flour and 100 ml water (or liquid) from your recipe (since that’s what you’ve made your scalded flour enhancer with). Afterward add the rest of the ingredients, knead, leave to prove once and then bake.
I also find that using the scalded flour helps to firm up the dough, which makes it easier to knead and my hands don’t stick to the dough when I’m kneading.
You can use this method with any type of gluten or low gluten flour, but I’ve not used it on gluten-free flour, since I don’t think there is a need for it (no gluten!).
You can also use scalded flour enhancer if you have problems with your bread rising. Just mix dried yeast (about 1/2-1 teaspoon) into the scalded flour and then knead into the bread dough that’s not rising well. Shape again and leave to prove once, then bake.
How to adapt any bread recipe to be used with scalded flour
I normally take away 100 ml of water and 100 grams of the flour listed in my recipe, make the scalded flour and then continue with the recipe as normal.
How to adjust the liquid/water ratio in your existing recipe
While I followed the bread recipe measurements initially, I found that I nearly always add more water to the bread that’s made with scalded flour. I think that the supercharged gluten soaks up more water, which means that it needs even more for the rest of the recipe to work.
To make sure you get your bread recipe right, I’d recommend following the bread recipe as it is, but be prepared to add more water if you find that the bread dough is not as soft and elastic as you normally find it.
Best way to prove your bread dough with scalded flour
As I mentioned above, the scalded flour method speeds up the proving time. This means that you only need to prove your bread once (although you can leave to prove the bread twice if you like).
I prefer to leave my bread to rise in a room temperature, because the scalded flour supercharges the rest of the flour and makes the rising quicker (and you don’t really want to overproof your bread).
Saying that, if you want to slow down the process a little bit (say you are going out or run out of time to finish baking your bread in the evening) by proving your bread in the fridge (this will take approximately 8 hrs).
If you want to speed up your bread rising or if your kitchen is very cold in the winter, you can proof your bread in the oven by switching the oven on very low temperature for 5 minutes and switching it off again.
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Scalded flour dough enhancer
- 100 grams bread flour
- 100 ml boiling water
- Measure out 100 grams of white bread flour and pour 100 ml of boiling water on the top.
- Mix together, cover with cling film and leave to cool down at room temperature.
- Leave for at least 1 hr, but up to 12 – 24 hrs for a better flavour.
- Add back to your bread recipe (making sure that you measure out your bread recipe ingredients without the initial 100 grams (or 3/4 cup) of flour and 100 ml (or 1/2 cup) of water.
- Depending on the type of your flour, you might need to adjust the water (or liquid) in your recipe. I usually add more water to make light and soft bread dough. The amount depends on your recipe and flour type (wholemeal flours need more water than white bread flours). Add as much water as you need to make soft plyable dough that's easy to knead by hand (it shouldn't feel hard).
- Measure all your other bread ingredients as per your recipe. Knead and leave to prove as usual (the rise might be a lot quicker than usual).
- You can leave your bread to rise twice, but with scalded flour it's not necessary. Any bread recipe will work with just one rise (e.g. knead your bread, shape it and leave to rise just once and then bake it).