Today, I tried 3 different ways to make boba/tapioca pearls from scratch, and while the third time sort of worked I never got a "dough" that was of a playdoh consistency.
In reading several articles/recipes on the internet:
All use moderately different techniques, the essential technique appears to be:
- Mix hot water and tapioca starch together, in approximately correct proportions, and you will get a playdoh-like doh.
All three of our attempts were with boiling water with brown sugar, and varying degrees of tapioca.
The first two were horrible non-newtonian liquid pieces, that were impossible to form. i.e. once we stopped applying pressure they oozed everywhere but had zero pliability.
Our third attempt, we let the brown sugar and water boil for a while (but not to a syrupy consistency) and that seemed to do better. It was manipulatable, but definitely NOT "playdoh" like consistency. Additionally, after about 10 minutes it was hard as a rock. We found 10 seconds in the microwave helped make it moderately pliable again, but again, nothing close to the consistencies we were seeing described or observed in the videos.
I'd like suggestions on how to improve. Various thoughts that have come to mind include:
- Is there something wrong with our general approach here?
- Are there "known" techniques for getting the right consistency?
- Heat is pretty clearly important, is it just heat, or do proportions matter? Are there "sweet spots" in ratios of ingredients?
- Does heating a partially dissolved starch help? Some recipes do that, some don't. I haven't found a clear discussion of how different techniques help/hinder the process.