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Homemade pasta and pizza dough

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
What are good books to read for learning to make homemade pasta of all sorts and pizza dough?

post #2 of 29
Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques, has some recipes for pasta but only 1 for pizza dough.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you. I just ordered it off of Amazon. I will let you know what I think about it.

Do you cook your own pasta? How does it turn out usually? Tough to figure out at first?
post #4 of 29
I learned it's important to let the dough rest, particularly if you worked it hard (as I did!). The gluten you work up from messing with it too much makes for awfully tough noodles. I learned that the hard way!
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post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Will this book describe a "for dummies" approach of making pasta? I'd really like to learn this as it is vital, but I must admit, making pasta seems to be the most intimidating thing in cooking!
post #6 of 29
Actually, making pasta is one of the easiest things in the "cooking world" to do.

I use bread flour, sometimes semolina, and there are differing opinions on what kind of the many flours available to use. I'm satisfied with bread flour.

I weigh out 1 lb of flour, put it in the KA mixer with the triangular blade attachment (whisk attachment won't work at all, and the bread hook just isn't as efficient to me anyway). Add 3-4 eggs per pound of flour (Depending on size of egg and personal preference). I always add 1 TBSP EVOO, and usually 2 tsp salt. Then I mix it up in the KA, take it out of the KA, spread some flour on the countertop (Corian really works good for this), and knead it and add more water or flour as the case may be to get a nice moist but not sticky ball of dough.

I then wrap the dough ball in a wet, wringed out, clean dish towel and let it set for 30-60 minutes.

Then I cut the dough into 4 parts and roll each one out adding more flour as necessary so it doesn't stick, just enough so I can get the tip into my manual Atlas pasta machine. I start at setting "1" and proceed usually to about "5".

Then I either cut it to pan length for making lasagna, or take those cut lengths and put them through the proper attachement. I don't like angel air so I use the regular spaghetti attachement. Since my machine is not an "extruder" I can't make penne, my favorite pasta.

In the meantime, I got a big pot of salted water boiling. Drop the pasta in, and pretty much within a couple minutes it floats to the top and is basically done.

I shock it in ice water until all the pasta is cooked. Then I put it in with the heated sauce or build the lasagna or whatever.

Except for the "setting time in the wrapped towel", I can pretty much make fresh pasta as fast as my wife could take the dry store bought stuff and boil it.

And the best part is that the homemade pasta is real egg pasta, most all store bought is only water and flour.

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
What about adding to the pasta; say pesto or garlic herbs? How is that done?
post #8 of 29
If they are dry herbs put mix them with the flour, if it chopped basil or a pesto sauce, mix that in with the eggs.
post #9 of 29
I bet there is a bigger mess though :chef:
post #10 of 29
Like many processes in cooking it is a matter of mastering a technique more than anything else. You may make a batch of pasta the first time that is OK but not what you expected. The second batch will be better and the third better than the second and so on. It is something you learn to get a "feel" for only by doing it a lot. What I'm say is don't be discouraged if your first attempt isn't perfect. Keep at it and you will master it eventually.

Additives can be a bit tricky if you are not careful. Wet additions like spinach or pesto add extra liquid and need extra flour or fewer eggs to compensate. Dried herbs may cause the sheets of pasta to tear in the machine if you roll it too thin. IMHO additives to pasta are not worth the trouble in most cases unless you plan to dress it with the simplest of ingredients like EVO or butter. Otherwise the taste of the additive is overwhelmed by the sauce you use. It is better to add to the sauce than the pasta.

post #11 of 29
I have made a lot of pasta at home. I prefer to make it with just semolina and water. In my opinion there is no need to add anything more since you can use all the flavors you want in the sauce.

I too have found that the most common mistake with semolina pasta is not letting it rest. Use it right after mixing and the texture is nowhere near what it should be. Let a ball of semolina dough sit at room temp, wrapped with plastic wrap (my preferred method) for at least an hour, and the texture turns very smooth. then I use a hand-cranked pasta machine to knead it and shape it. Another point here is don't knead it too quickly or for too long, but do knead it enough. If it starts breaking while kneading, it is either to soon, too fast, or too much kneading (usually one of the 1st two).

I have had success adding flavors to the dough, but anything that will change the texture is, to me, not a good idea. Finely ground spices in small quantities or a flavored liquid in place of some or all of the water work well, but that's about it.

I do use regular white flour to coat the dough while kneading and shaping. Plenty, as much as I need. Then I gently shake it off when it's about to be cooked.
post #12 of 29
For a pretty cool look at pizza, check out American Pie by Peter Reinhart. Pretty comprehensive look at many of the great pizzerias in the country, and has a bunch of dough recipes, too.


The batter on tonight's fish was too sweet at the end.
post #13 of 29
Will it work with just AP and water?
post #14 of 29
Do you need it at all before making the ball, or just after it has rested?
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Can you make it without a machine?
post #16 of 29
Well you probably want at least a hand machine, but I think its possilbe to roll the dough then slice it if your doing it by hand. You'd probably have to go with Fetachini, spaghetti might be hard to do.
post #17 of 29
I knead it only after letting it rest. Otherwise it breaks up.

I have tried making it without a machine, but it is much better with the hand-cranked machine imo
post #18 of 29
Thanks for the tip, I actually like the kitchen aid machine attachment, that way you have an extra free hand to work with.
post #19 of 29
My pasta comes out brittle and crumbles easily after its been drying on the rack, but it does cook ok.

What am I doing wrong that its brittle like that?
post #20 of 29
Andy, your pasta sounds as if it's too dry!? I would add another egg yolk or egg white perhaps?

I just use 3/4 cup of flour to 1 egg and a generous pinch of salt. Sometimes part of that flour is semolina or corn meal and sometimes its all AP flour. Nothin' fancy round here. I make it by hand cuz it's so quick and just for 2. Then I send it through the sheeter and cutter (hand cranked). I end up for 2 cups flour adding about 3 eggs total usually.

I mix the ingredients on my counter top making a well in the flour adding my eggs and then using my fingers to "kick" flour down into the mass and stir it up. The salt is premixed with my flour. It only takes a couple of minutes to do this. Knead about two or three times to get it to come together. Then cover with wrap or the bowl and leave it alone for 30 minutes to an hour.

I knead it only until it feels like a dough instead of a pastry crust. It's hard to overknead by hand I think? Then I let it rest again. Divide it. Press it out then run it through the sheeter 2x for each value. I start at the 1 and run it up to about a 6 (the smallest on mine) or sometimes a 5 for lasagna. But 6 makes a more delicate noodle. I usually cut to linquini or fettucini cuz that's our preference.

Sometimes I hand cut for tagliatelle or cut bigger for the 1" width stuff that for the life of me this morning I'm having a brain fart. It's on the tip of my tongue and I can't remember the name of apologies. :(

post #21 of 29
Thank you, bluezebra, but I prefer pasta made with just semolina for most things. I know it's different with regular flour. I just like the semolina texture better :D That always has to rest for best results.
post #22 of 29
For won tons or gnocci I do use white flour.

Dried pasta is always brittle as far as I know (?) Nothing wrong with that.
post #23 of 29
Ah, ok, just wanted to make sure it wasn't just me.
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Where is a good place to shop for inexpensive but not bad quality (yes I think it's possible to find that) cooking tools, such as a pasta hand machine?
post #25 of 29
post #26 of 29
I found a nice hand crank pasta machine at "Ross for Less", it was less than $20. It was made by Norpro and compares favorably with my Imperia. TJ Max also has good deal on cooking a couple of nice end grain cutting boards for less than $15 ea at TJ Max. :D
post #27 of 29
Just a thought when buying anything. Over the years I've bought stuff that was inexpensive, and regretted that it only worked for a short while and had to be replaced. On the other hand, my Vita Mix is new from 1964 and still runs like a champ.

As far as manual type pasta machines, its hard to beat the quality of Atlas. Mine was like a whole box full of attachments, cutter, basic hand crank machine for an initial outlay of about $50. That was like 25 years ago. Just never let the metal get moist. It will rust!

post #28 of 29
It's not a book, but I have really detailed instructions for making pizza dough here: pizza

If you make it, I'd appreciate it if you let me know how the pizza came out and what kind of flour you used. I've been using New Hope Mills Bread flour (organic, unbleached, stone ground), but sometimes can't get it, so I always like to hear how other brands work.

Sorry to be replying to such an old post, but I just ran across your message.

post #29 of 29
What! One mixing bowl from the KA mixer, one easy to clean triangular blade, and a couple swipes with a moist rag of the Corian countertop, and a quick dry cloth dusting off of the pasta machine. Oh and of course, the plastic TBSP for measuring the EVOO. The salt doesn't make the teaspoon dirty so I don't have to wash it.

Everything else that might need washing or cleaning up is common to fresh pasta and dry pasta making.

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