I know that flour can absorb about 60% of its weight in water.
Hence, the 5/3 flour to water ratio when making bread

How much oil can flour absorb?

1 Answer 1


You have misunderstood the article you linked. There is no such thing as "how much flour can absorb" in general, so your question is unanswerable. You can make a mixture of flour and water (or flour and oil) in any ratio you want, except for some very low ratios (one drop of water in a kilogram of flour won't give you a kilogram of dough).

What the article refers to is "farinograph water absorption", a rheological property of flour which can be used by bakers to adjust their recipes for a given batch of flour. It is defined by an ISO standard as the amount of water which is needed to get 100 g of flour to the consistency of 500 farinograph units.

This makes the FWA simply a technical unit. It is informative for bakers, but it is not the maximal amount of water which flour can absorb.

As far as I know, nobody has created an analog unit for oil absorption. And if it exists, it would still not be reflective of a putative maximum amount of oil that can be "absorbed" by flour. So your question is not answerable.

  • 1
    For that matter, does flour actually "absorb" oil at all?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 19, 2021 at 0:18
  • 1
    @Fuzzychef As always, this is a matter of linguistic definition. I would say yes, because the liquid oil disappears into the flour, and this satisfies the intuitive idea of absorption. On the technical level, the process and the results are different enough that it would need is own unit, if anybody ever has the need to define it.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 19, 2021 at 7:12
  • Except it makes a huge difference when you're talking about limits. LIke, you can talk about the limits on a sugar/water or salt/water solution. But for for something like oil, where the oil coats the flour grains, but isn't "absorbed", there is no limit ... you just pick your level of dough/oil slurry, and it's a continuum from grainy flour to cloudy oil.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 19, 2021 at 19:34
  • @FuzzyChef agreed on the oil thing. I think it is the same for water - there is again a continuum for flour-in-water. Sure the two ends of the continuum look entirely different from each other, but if there is a well-defined boundary which separates two different states, I have never heard of it or seen it in practice. It just goes to cloudy water, without any point at which you can say that it has stopped absorbing.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 20, 2021 at 13:04
  • Another way to look at it is how much oil to maintain suspension over reasonble time period. Roux is 1:1 volume so not much more oil before floating on top.
    – Pat Sommer
    Jun 23, 2021 at 18:16

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