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How to keep my homemade pasta from breaking

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have been making egg noodles and hang drying them for a few years now with great results. I bought a kitchenaid with pasta press and thought I would make shaped pasta to sell at the farmer's market as well as the egg noodles. The pasta comes out great but when it dries, it breaks in half lengthwise making it unsellable as macaroni or rigatoni. I live in a very dry climate. My house is cool and I have been laying out the pasta to dry on mesh sweater drying racks with a fan blowing on them. Before I waste any more time and ingredients I thought I would get your opinion on how I might get better results. My last batch dried and cracked (checked) completely. I use 2 1/2 cups of AP: 1 cup Semolina, 4 whole eggs, 1 tsp salt, about 1 1/2 tbsp water for dough. Any ideas? Slower drying w/o fan? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 6

I make pasta all the time but I don't dry it.

 

For instance...if I make spaghetti, or linguine or fettuccine, I'll simply toss them with flour and portion them in Ziplock bags, then freeze them.

 

If your plan is to sell them at the open market why dry them

You can make them a day ahead, toss with flour, bag them, and off you go.

Any unsold bags can be frozen.

You may even consider selling them frozen from an ice chest at the market site.

post #3 of 6
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you. The link was interesting, Kuan. I am not set up for frozen pasta storage/selling. My customers seem to like that my egg noodles are dried and can be stored for months. I was hoping to do the same with pasta. I made a batch of Rigatoni last night and laid them out on the mesh sweater rack with a cookie sheet of water underneath and no fan. They are not dry yet this morning but so far no cracking either. I removed the pan of water and will now let them air dry for the rest of the day to see how they look. 

post #5 of 6

Hi @Michele OMalley,

I see your extruder is working for you. You say you're in a dry climate. You should not need a fan at all. Do they crack when you're just drying without a rack? If so, start drying them on a cloth for 5-6 hrs. and then switch to the screen. 

I usually use 1 cup total flour/semolina etc. to 1 egg. That tblsp of water your adding can be a little olive oil. Another thing, when you are extruding it's not really necessary to relax the gluten before extruding. I mix, knead by hand till I see little layers in the dough and go right into the extruder without a nap.

I'm not a big fan of the water because I think it creates more of an environment for bacteria.

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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Panini, thanks for the suggestions. I usually dry on a cloth for just a few minutes until I can transfer to the mesh without distorting them. The dough I use is pretty dry so this really isn't a problem. I use the kitchenaid to mix the dough. After watching several youtube videos I settled on a rather crumbly consistency to the dough that is used without resting. This seems to work well as the extruder does a lot of kneeding as the corkscrew pushes the dough through. I will try using olive oil instead of water. Since these shaped pastas are so much thicker than my egg noodles, I was concerned with them sitting out for an extended period of time. I wasn't as concerned when they were drying fast but they were breaking in half lenghtwise and making them unsellable. The batch I did last night has been sitting on mesh at room temp (64 degrees in my cool house) and probably less than 25% humidity but that is just a guess. I live in high desert and it hasn't rained in a couple weeks at least. I don't see any signs of cracking but I don't know how dry they are. The one I tried applying pressure to between my fingers did not give. How long do you think they should dry for before being packaged into lined (coffee) bags? Will using olive oil change the amount of time they take to dry or the consistency of the dough/

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