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Working with whole wheat flour question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've made pasta dough loads of times with no problems using white flour but this time I made it with whole wheat flour (pastry grind) and I had some issues I've never encountered before.

Normally, when making the pasta dough, the more I run it through my pasta machine press, the better the dough gets. This time, I followed the same recipe as always using 100g flour per 1 egg, bu when I made the dough, it would shred going through the #7 setting on the pasta machine. Normally it sets better but this would not press through.

I wet my hands and reworked the dough thinking not enough moisture. No change.
I did it again and still no change. I did not want to over saturate the dough so I quit and rolled it by hand and then ran it through in slices at the #2 setting and that worked for my ravioli. The taste and cooking were fine for both the ravioli and fettuccine I made from it but I'm very curious as to what I need to do different in working with whole wheat flour? I want to use it more in my pasta making but want to know the attributes for whole wheat that I need to adjust to.

Thanks!
post #2 of 10
I've had the same experience as you when working with whole wheat flour with my pasta. I stick with semolina flour or AP flour and get great results, but if I try to mix in a little whole wheat flour, the consistency isn't right.

Hope someone is able to give you some good advice.
post #3 of 10
FWIW checkout the Irish Wholemeal Flour offered at King Arthur. It's rated a SOFT whole wheat flour whereas most flours (including whole wheat) are hard wheat. I'll speculate: the soft Irish Wholemeal flour may give a softer, moister and more flexible attribute to your pastas.

That KA wholemeal flour is rated at 3g protein per serving but at present, what I don't know is the percentage protein and so I've emailed an inquiry to KA because percentage protein is a more accurate indicator of gluten formation and texture than simply grams per serving. Click on "nutritional information" at the url that follows here:

King Arthur Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour - 3 lb.


You may want to visit also the following website to learn simple descriptions pertaining to flour types and attributes:

Baking Information


Somewhere and I can't remember where I read that real artisan breadmakers select custom mixes of flours to include at least a small portion of soft wheat(s) mixed in with the hard wheat(s) that are so commonly to be had.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #4 of 10
Generally, with pasta you want the hardest flour you can get, and at a very fine grind. The standard whites are a type called 00, which is very hard indeed and semolina -- also extremely hard. The problem with whole wheat flour isn't the protein content, it's the texture and the fact that whole wheat glutens just don't seem to want to stretch as much. In fact, the more rough handling dough receives the more a high protein level helps -- and with all the rolling required to get it thin, pasta wants heap plenty protein.

The best advice I can give you is to use 1/3 or 1/2 white or semolina flour. Whether you do that or not, try the following tricks: Compared to a semolina or white flour pasta, cut down the egg amount by a 1/3 to 1/2 (coincidence, I swear it).

Whole wheat doughs will come together without a lot of liquid and be very stiff. Stiff doughs are fragile -- and that was your complaint. Better to make a soft (wet) dough, and if it's a tad too wet, knead some extra flour in during the kneading period.

Use the volcano method rather than the processor to mix and form the dough if you can possibly spare the time. Your sense of touch will help you get the dough exactly right -- especially after you've done it a few times.

Knead, knead, and knead some more. You want to make the dough as elastic as possible by developing the glutens and stretching the heck out of them. Hand kneading is better than machine for extended kneading, because it puts less heat in the dough. If you sense any fragility or stickiness, rest the dough in the refrigerator between stages.

You can use the processor to mix and knead -- but you lose a lot of control and add some undesirable changes. A stand mixer is better than a processor but still not as good as your hands. Do you watch Iron Chef? Even in the heat of battle in Kitchen Stadum, the contestants usually mix and knead the dough by hand. Now you know why.

There are limits to how far you can push whole wheat glutents before they become uncooperative. Compared to a white flour dough, allow at least one extra rest in the fridge; and allow the rest(s) to go an extra 10 minutes.

I know each of these techniques is time-consuming, but what are you gonna do?

BDL
post #5 of 10
There's chemisty; and, then there's feel... or touch.

EDIT: I gotta' state that I've eaten whole wheat past once and it just didn't get it. NO WAY. Give me the semolina stuff and I be wholly contented.

Gluten and protein are closely related, but not synonymous.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #6 of 10
<<The best advice I can give you is to use 1/3 or 1/2 white or semolina flour.... Compared to a semolina or white flour pasta, cut down the egg amount by a 1/3 to 1/2 (coincidence, I swear it).

Use the volcano method >>

What? Please describe.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #7 of 10
kokopuffs

If you're making whole wheat pasta, and the recipe calls for 3 cups flour; try using 2 cups wheat and 1 cup white, or 1-1/2 cups each.

If the recipe calls for 3 eggs, try cutting down to 2. If 2 try cutting down to 1.

The suggestions for altering to a 2:1, 3:2, or 1:1 ratio in both eggs and flour are not related. It's convenient and works for both. In both cases the changes go to making a more elastic dough, but they're otherwise unrelated -- for instance they're not about protein content.

The "volcano method" for making pasta is the regular way for making by hand. You make a mound of the dry ingredients on the board, and hollow out the center, so it looks like a volcano. You put the liquid ingredients (including eggs) in the center, and the walls hold the liquid in. With one hand, you drag a little flour from the inside of the volcano wall and mix it into the liquid. Keep going, dragging and mixing until all the flour and liquids are mixed, and a dough is formed. Then knead.

BDL

PS. I don't care for whole wheat pasta very often either.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Kokopuffs.. it was King Arthur; pastry grade

BDL... I only use the volcano method but I use a hand crank pasta machine to roll it and work it further. I totally agree, only in working the dough by hand can you 'feel' how it should truly be.

I was curious as to the mechanics of working with whole wheat as obviously, due to the extra hulls, etc in the whole wheat flour those gluten's are not going to work the same way as when I use the 00 or semolina. However, your suggestion of using LESS egg surprised me. Should I then add water to substitute for the moisture content needed for the dough or does whole wheat truly require less liquid? I actually thought the opposite as more can be absorbed by the rougher materials ground into the flour. I did find in working it that when I did add water to my hands (I wet my hands so as not to add too much liquid to the dough) and worked the dough further, it seemed to suck up every drop I added.

Should a greater rest time between also be better?

Also, after I hand rolled it to a thinner level, I was able to run it through the crank machine to a nice thin strip of dough to make the ravioli. However, it wouldn't run through at the thicker level. ?? odd??

As a note, I'm not a 'lover' of whole wheat BUT when an Italian craves pasta and you're on a diet, better to use some whole wheat flour than not have it at all....

Thank you for all the helpful comments!!!
post #9 of 10
FL Italian stated: <<...Kokopuffs.. it was King Arthur; pastry grade...>>

Why pastry grade? Due to the low protein content at 3g and therefore low gluten and higher starch? Due to the fact that it's a soft wheat flour?

EDIT: Just having received a reply to my inquiry to KA flour, I see that their Irish Wholemeal flour is rated at 10% protein.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #10 of 10
Yes. I thought I was clear, but apparently not. You want a very soft dough. How soft? Just dry enough not to stick to the board. If it sticks to the rollers, dust with a very little flour as you go.

[quote] Should a greater rest time between also be better? [/quoted] Yes, rest longer and rest in the fridge (if you're not already). Make those glutens contract and stretch so they're as pliable as possible.

Not particularly. You're hand rolling developed the glutens and stretched the dough. That's a new one on me, so can't say for sure. It seems to imply that you could probably be doing more kneading to get a more pliable dough; also, that you've got to get whole wheat dough pretty close to the roller opening size to start, becaue there are limits. But since you managed to get it going through the rollers, it didn't matter. It's the result that counts.

BDL
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