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Home made pasta

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

For some reason I can not seem to make a tender white pasta.  I have no trouble with  spinach , squash or whole wheat pasta, but when it comes to the white it always is tough.  I am currently using the following ingredients.

 

White pasta

31/3 c flour (Italian)

4 eggs  (I have played around with the eggs, using  more yolks, less whites etc.

salt

 

Spinach pasta                                          

31/3 c flour (bread )

1 c of cooked spinach blended

4 egg yolks , 2 egg whites

salt

post #2 of 24

Your recipe is right down the middle, it's not the problem.  We're looking at possibly too much or too little resting after mixing; possibly too much or too little kneading.

 

Try this: 

 

Give your dough half an hour or or a little more in the refrigerator after mixing, before starting the rolling process.  You want the dough chilled and the moisture diffused evenly.

 

Make sure you use enough bench flour on the pasta to keep it from sticking on the rollers -- but not too much.  A light dusting of the dough and the rollers will do. 

 

Pass it through each thickness stage of the roller twice.  And,

 

Skip every other stage of the rollers.

 

Good luck,

BDL

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post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

I thought maybe it was the recipe since the other ones always turn out great and I prepare them all the same way.  I will try your advice.

 

Thanks

post #4 of 24

Teresa, I had the same complaint when making pasta. Not always but from time to time. Depends on a lot of things.

 

First, from what I experienced, the choise of flour is very important. Italians use "typo 00" aka "doppio zero" which is sometimes hard to find outside Italy.

A good alternative is the "strong" flour used in bakeries for baking bread. It contains a high amount of gluten, just like doppio zero. Someone advised me to use what we call over here "fluid flour", which is a very finely milled semolina. Don't know wether this stuff is available in the US or elsewhere. It flows easily through your fingers when you lift some. BTW, Italians use "farina de semola di grano duro". Semola, or semolina, means semi + molinare; meaning half + milled (-ish) kind of flour. Flows also easily through your fingers, unlike softer flour. Grano duro means hard grains (which make "strong" flour ,I guess??).

 

Second, there's the processing of the ingredients. The simplest standard ratio to never forget is 100 gram flour + 1 BIG egg.

A US cup that you use seems to be 127 grams (I had to look that up). That means when you use smaller eggs, the ratio isn't right. You may want to weigh the flour and buy bigger eggs?

You can tweak the shortage of egg by adding a teaspoon of olive oil before mixing and/or adding a teaspoon of water as soon as you feel the mixture is too dry. You can also play with it. This week I watched Giorgio Locatelli make a more elastic dough from 250 grams of flour 1 whole egg and 3 eggyolks. This is no more than changing the 1 egg ratio into 2 eggyolks. Perfect for ravioli and so.

In fact, the dough has to feel "workable" in the beginning, something you immediately feel when you start working the dough. Then you need to knead the dough with the lower parts of your hands for around 10 minutes. If the dough stays sticky, you need to add some extra flour.

After the kneading, the dough will have turned much tougher, but no worry. Pack it in foil and let it rest in the fridge.

When using a cup, I would use 1 cup + 1 big egg + 1 teaspoon of oil + 1 teaspoon of water to make it workable, if needed

 

Third, the rolling. I start by rolling the dough with a rolling pin! Trying to feed a slightly flattened cold ball of dough through a pasta machine will kill it soon. I know from experience.

Dust your working space with some flour and keep on dusting the dough while feeding it through the pasta machine, from time to time. You may want to cut the dough first in 2 pieces (or more) to be able to work easier.

In the very first stage, after using the rolling pin, roll the dough through the widest position of the rolls and when it comes out, fold it double, push a little with your hands to flatten and roll again. Repeat this a few times, but try to turn the dough in another direction also; you may need to fold in 3 superposed parts to do this. All this works the gluten.

Then roll the dough through all the steps on your pasta machine.

 

BTW, you don't need to change the ratio 100 gram flour/1egg when making pasta verde. You need around 20% spinach compared to the weight of the flour you used. The spinach has to be blanched for a minute in boiling water, drained and cooled under cold tapwater, squeeze all the liquid out with both hands until you have some sort of a spinach ball, cut and blend. 

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks alot. I will try some things with the white pasta.  I am doing all my pasta by hand no machine.  Have been for years. Maybe someday I will have one.  I am getting good at forming shells and rotini.  Just time consuming, but I have the time now.    However when it comes to my spinach pasta, I will leave my recipe alone .It has always turned out to our liking  the way the recipe is now.

post #6 of 24

By hand? Aha. Betcha the problem is that your pasta isn't binding quite as rapidly as with other flours. Think "rest." Whenever you can spare the time, wrap it in plastic and shove it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Your methods seem to be exciting the gluten excessively, making the pasta tough. My guess is that the other pastas are OK because the admixtures -- spinach, etc. -- are deflecting overworking. That's good: do not, by any means, change what you're doing with those. Those pastas are famously difficult, for the opposite reason you have, in that they tend to break apart because their relatively low gluten percentages stop them from pulling together. You've got great technique for those pastas, so what you need to do with plain white pasta is allow the gluten to relax as often as possible.

post #7 of 24

Rolling by hand is a very different story; it's hard labor. I tried it when my pasta machine choked and died on a too large piece of pasta I was trying to feed it.

I had to cut the pasta in quite small chunks to roll it nearly as flat as I was hoping. I quit at around a little less than 3mm.

 

I wouldn't be surprised however that a lot of rural Italians still roll by hand and use mostly water instead of egg. I have no idea how they proceed, perhaps more water? I have seen people using like a 80 cm long "broomstick" type of roller instead of the thick rolling pins we know. They also use these "broomsticks" in Turkey for rolling flatbread.

 

And of course, when you have found a good method like hand rolling the spinach pasta, you should stick to that.

post #8 of 24

hi, for me i find that when working with pasta i cant find the proper egg to flour ratio when working with cups though for when im using grams i you a very simple 500g of all purpose flour 6 eggs a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil, i also let my dough chill for over a hour before starting to roll out the pasta out.

post #9 of 24

Belgium has some great tips. The type of flour makes a huge difference. My nona uses a type called "Five Roses". I honestly don't know much about it(probably should do some research on it now).  Her dough is very easy to work by hand and the resulting pasta is very tender. I have had pretty good luck luck using all purpose flour a home. Be careful if you want to experiment with semolina flour. The dough will be very stiff. I use Durum flour flour at work and the resulting dough is quite a bit harder to work by hand than when I used to make it at home using all purpose flour.  i have heard that the Semolina will make the dough even stiffer.  I really do prefer the Durum flour. The pasta is tender, but still has a nice bite to it. 

 

I agree with the other people that you my be better served by weighing your flour.  My nona always uses a coffee cup to measure her flour.  For me, it doesn't come out consistenly unless I start with a weighed amount.  I usually use about 12# durum to 60 x-large eggs. Sorry, I don't really have a home recipe anymore cause I don't have the time. But I beilve that is just a lil under 100g per egg.

 

That's pretty impressive that you roll it all by hand. I start by hand, then use a machine to finish rolling. I couldn't imangine how sore I would be after doing the whole thing by hand,

A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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post #10 of 24

I use semolina flour and water. No eggs in spaghetti or noodles ,  but in ravioli 1 egg..

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 24

Belgium is using the same ratio as I do but I, like ChefEd use only semolina when making pasta.   The one egg/100 grams is perfect every time and I do utilize the machine to work it AFTER it rests for a while.   The only time I alter the recipe is when I make whole wheat pasta (which is a pain BTW) where I learned to increase the rest time dramatically as it takes longer for the glutens to break down.   Belgium gave you the exact advice I would have..

 

The more you work the dough in pasta, the more elastic it becomes and the easier to work with.   I learned that from an old Italian woman in Italy; she worked the dough twice as long I did and her pasta was so much easier to work with and had a lighter feel.

 

ChefEd... I use the egg over the water as it makes it lighter.. in my opinion.  smile.gif   However... it's all a matter of taste

post #12 of 24

I always become concerned when people provide formulas for flour-based foods using volume measurements and counting (e.g. "3 eggs"). To me, as somebody with a fair bit of baking experience, this is prone to inaccuracy: eggs come in different sizes, and flour can be firmly or loosely packed. You will generally see good baking formulas only using weight measurements for their ingredients, and typically the formula is expressed in ratios. The flour (generally) is taking as 100%, and the weights of all other ingredients are expressed as a percentage of this (e.g. 66 grams of water = 66%, and so forth). This allows you to easily multiply out your formulas to scale up/down to different amounts of final product, and adopting this baker's principle will enable you to get much more consistent results from your pasta dough.

 

Anyhoo - you'd find that the minumum moisture and fat requirement for a stiff but workable dough with a high-protein flour would be generally around 55%. Thus, your eggs should probably be about 55% of the weight of the flour, so one decent-sized egg is roughly correct for 100g of flour, but you won't know if you don't weigh your eggs and flour!

 

However, an even better way to work is based upon the principle that the increments of your egg weights are essentially fixed by the size of your eggs. What do you do if you need 80g of eggs? Throw half of one away? A better solution, in my opinion, is to express the eggs as 100% and the flour as the corresponding percentage (in this case, 180% of the egg weight). Thus, if you crack two small eggs and get only 97g of actual egg contensts out of them, then you calculate your amount of flour as: 1.8 * 97g = 175g.

 

So, crack your eggs onto the scale, get the result, multiply by 1.8 and that's your flour weight. Simple!

post #13 of 24

Use 00 flour.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin123 View Post

 

So, crack your eggs onto the scale, get the result, multiply by 1.8 and that's your flour weight. Simple!



If there were an annual price for best ideas on ChefTalk, you would get my vote! Excellent idea, thank you!

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin123 View Post

I always become concerned when people provide formulas for flour-based foods using volume measurements and counting (e.g. "3 eggs"). To me, as somebody with a fair bit of baking experience, this is prone to inaccuracy:

 

While I agree with you, making pasta is not baking. I personally find it better to learn what the desired result should look like, feel like to the touch etc... and then adjust the amount of liquid and/or flour to get there, than working with a formula. 
 

 

post #16 of 24

French Fries.. I agree... In baking you must be accurate but in general cooking, tolerance is accepted and it is what makes our craft.; the adjustment in ingredients to create new and exciting dishes.

 

I always work my pasta dough by hand as you NEED to feel it; that does tell you whether to add more flour or more liquid.   99% of the time time, I'm dead on with my 1 egg to 100g of flour formula.

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by FL Italian View Post

I always work my pasta dough by hand as you NEED to feel it; that does tell you whether to add more flour or more liquid.   99% of the time time, I'm dead on with my 1 egg to 100g of flour formula.


You know what's funny? I use the same formula for crepe batter (although sometimes I put a bit more egg). Then the milk I just eyeball until I get the desired consistency. Sometimes I correct the batter after the first crepe, or when the batter has been in the fridge for a while. 

post #18 of 24

I have little insight that isn't already covered but... I have to say that pasta has a lot to do with instinct and feel. it'll take a few times to know exactly how the dough should feel and from there you'll never follow a recipe again. I do feel "00" is over rated (I know. bring on the tar and feathers) and tend to just stick to regular unbleached AP flower. 

post #19 of 24

You are assuming everyone can add. multiply, divide and subtract. When I was teaching in New York 3/4 of the culinary students could not.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

You are assuming everyone can add. multiply, divide and subtract. When I was teaching in New York 3/4 of the culinary students could not.


That is ummmm .... kind of a scary thought.

Although I do realize that in the past some trades such as cooking, construction and the like was mostly made up from the less educated I guess you could say .. heck my dad for example ran his own concrete business had the reading level of maybe a 2nd or 3rd grader but could do math in his head or with pencil, paper and a slide rule faster that a lot of people could do it with a calculator.

I can understand someone missing out learning how to read back when my dad was a kid due to the fact that parents could keep their kids at home to work the farm or what not which is what happened to my dad but not being able to do math is a bit hard for me to grasp.

 

post #21 of 24

I know many adults that are not capable of simple math.  Many people can't do simple calculations without an adding machine.

What happened is the schools let them use adding machines not their brain .So now they can't add without the machine.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

I know many adults that are not capable of simple math.  Many people can't do simple calculations without an adding machine.

What happened is the schools let them use adding machines not their brain .So now they can't add without the machine.



Actually, no.  I went to school in the fifties.  I was bombarded by stupid teachers expecting to have immediate answers to arithmetic problems given verbally or with the dread flash cards.  I could figure out the answer, but not memorize it - i still get confused with numbers, and have often jumped on the wrong bus reading 617 for 716, and usually have to dial phones more than once before i get it right.  I did very well in math before they stopped letting us use our fingers or dots or any other logical way to come up with the answer.  Math is about reasoning, but they wanted it to be about memory and made it so anxiogenous that i would practically get a panic attack every time they;d yell out  seven times four!  or any other combination.

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #23 of 24
My go to pasta recipe I use is 3 cups 00 flour 1 cup semolina 6 eggs. Good for noodles and ravioli. If I'm making parpadelle or other hand cut I will do 3 whole eggs and 5 yolks. Nothing is better than fresh pasta! Especially with good olive oil, fresh tomatoes, and some reggiano!
post #24 of 24

It seems to make since to have a "Baking" style recipe that was given earlier. Once you know what it is supposed to "feel" like you will be able to replicate it. BUT, you have to know what it is supposed to feel like before you can make it by feel the next time, no? It all comes down to figuring out how to make it the way you want it and having a recipe that can be replicated.

 

The main thing you are looking for is consistency, and the only way to be sure that your standards are being repeated correctly and consistently is with what Benjamin123 said... a baking style recipe. Find what makes it "feel right" and make it happen again. Once you get the feel for it, you can make adjustments for the varying factors in product from that point on out. 

 

To me this what will take the most weight off the shoulders of the chef. You need to make sure that your staff is doing it the way you want it... and if you can not give them something quantifiable... well you seem to be shooting yourself in the foot. What feels right to you is not going to feel right to someone else. you end up being forced to micromanage everything and that seems to be where allot of the stress comes in.

 

But what do I know... I am just a line cook(that used to be a project manager for a big technology company. What worked for me there may not work here I suppose). 

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