Thursday, February 22, 2007

Two basic pasta doughs

This post is going to cover my favorite flour, and how I did the pasta from my manual pasta machine.

Most dried pasta is made from durum wheat flour but this flour isn't available in many stores or supermarkets. I think properly due to this reason, some home-made recipes so use plain/all-purpose flour (from different wheat). Durum is the hardest of all wheat. Its high protein content and gluten strength make durum good for pasta (firmer). And durum has a yellow endosperm, which gives pasta a pretty yellow hue. Some Indian flat bread is also made from durum wheat (chappati flour), and I have seen chappati at supermarket. But since the Italian grocery in my town sells durum flour, I naturally buy it from him.

About my pasta machine, the instruction states never use water to clean; the machine won't work properly once it gets rust. If your area always stays humid, you may like to store the machine in air-tight box with moisture-absorbing packs. After I done with my machine, I just dust off the bites with a brush or cloth, and keep it in pantry as the humidity here is always very low.

Fresh pasta always includes egg, I don't know if there's some kind of science laying behind, or just a tradition. If you have any clue, please let me know :D

1st Recipe: Basic Pasta Dough (yield 6 servings for the main course)

  • 3 cups durum wheat flour (= fine semolina flour)*
  • 1 cup bread/ unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • +/- 1 1/4 cup water

Combine the above ingredients, knead until it smooth. Rest dough for 1 hour at room temperature before rolling and shaping. Or you can keep it in fridge for 1 day. Please refer egg pasta's direction in the below for making pasta from pasta machine.

2nd Recipe: Basic egg pasta (yield 4 servings for the main course)

  • 2 1/2 cups durum wheat flour/ all-purposed flour/ or mix *
  • 4 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • a few dashes of milk as needed

Directions (note: always give your dough some rest between rolling)

  • Well combine flour, egg and salt, the dough should be soft but not stick. Knead until it smooth. Wrap, rest for 1 hour in room temperature.
  • Divide the dough into 4 portions. Always cover on those you aren't working on. Slightly dust the work table with flour, start from the small dough #1, use a rolling pin to roll it slightly flatten toward a rectangle shape, get the width as close to your pasta machine's as possible. Cover. Work on #2, and so on. You may repeat the same procedure again, starting from #1 if your dough didn't spread well enough. The idea of working in such sequence is to give each of dough a good rest (if the gluten in your dough too tense, it refuses to spread)
  • Set your machine with the widest setting, start from dough #1, go through, cover, continue #2 and so on. Then proceed to next setting, the procedure the same, until you get your desired thickness.
  • If I'm going to use noodle cutter, I like to hang the flat sheet dry for 3 minutes, this way the noodles will come out more easier. The egg pasta freezes well.

* The best way to learn the difference between durum wheat flour and all-purpose flour is to make dough from them respectively; to see, feel and taste the difference. In general, the former yields a firmer texture with a pronounced bite while the latter more tender and delicate. Feel free to experiment and accomplish versatility in the kitchen.



Susan from Food Blogga said...

My dad who makes lots of homemade pasta swears by durum wheat flour. Thanks for the clear and user-easy recipe and instructions. If you say it's good, then I'm printing it up right now. :)

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FH said...

Pasta looks good and I love the machine too.I don't make Pasta at home but love to eat it!:))

Semolina or Rava as we call it is a staple Indian grain we keep at every Indian home.There are two kinds we get,one is coarse and another fine to use in different dishes.We make Upma,add to Bhaturas and Pooris,Chirotis etc.It's not expensive if you buy it Indian stores.Flour made of Durum wheat is little harder to make Chapatis as I found out.

Brilynn said...

With your help I'll be making better pasta in no time!

Katerina said...

I've been making my own pasta for awhile, but I have yet to use Durum flour and am quite happy with the results. However I will make the effor to try it thanks to you! ( I have also never used milk in my pasta.)

Bong Mom said...

Though I don't make pasta at home, thanks for all this nice info
Also didn't know what Durum is though have seen it on the pasta boxes

Gattina Cheung said...

Susan, oh you sweetie! You dad must be a great cook! My dad cooks delicious meat, but some of the meat he bought/caught you and me don't want to know, kekee.

Judith, thanks for your input =)

Asha, I like to see all the info you told me, thanks my friend! If one day if I have a chance to come down your area, I'll dream to visit your kitchen and see you wipe up that wonderful dishes!!!

Brilynn, c'mon babe, your pasta is already gorgeous!

Keterina, I have made pasta from typical flour, the result is also nice, although I still prefer the one from durum flour.

Sandeepa, home-made egg pasta is divine. But I see dry pasta as you mentioned is absolutely excellent!

Anh said...

Gattina, You read my mind! I am thinking making some pasta/noodles before the new semester starts! This post is excellent, thank you!

One question, a lot of cookbook mentions the use of 00 flour (which I can buy in my area easily). How is that different from durum wheat flour? TIA! *hug*

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe and the great instructions along with it.

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Gattina Cheung said...
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Patricia Scarpin said...


Every time I come here I find a wonderful surprise - your pasta looks so amazing I feel like making pasta again! :)

I found the Italian 00 flour here in a store (São Paulo) and can't wait to try it.

Tks for being such an inspiration, my dear friend. :)

Gattina Cheung said...

Kristen, my pleasure! :D :D

Anh, farina (means flour in Italian) 00 refers to all-purpose white flour. There's also farina 0, ideal for bread. I compared it with our local flour, there's not much difference in color and flavor.
Back to pasta :D I have used farina 00 and bread flour, the latter yields a slightly better texture. Durum wheat works the best for me, better yellow color, better flavor and firmer texture. But don't get me wrong, the other fours are still very decent :D
You plan to make it by hand or by machine? There was a "wave" at KC sometime back, everyone making noodles :D

Patricia, same as me, I come to your blog and everytime I have to prepare myself some napkins :D I used to use farina 00 (but forgot which brand) a lot as that time I baked cakes often. But now I don't eat much cake, you know, summer is coming :)

Anna Haight said...

Wow! This looks SO simple, and I can tell it is nutritious and delicious! I am tempted to try it out myself. I've never been brave enough to try Italian pasta making (although I've made soba by hand). Thanks for participating in WHB!

Zylo said...

Eggs are used in most foods to hold things together, especially if it has to be pliable enough to work with. If you look at the ingredients for most dried pasta, they'll have some kind of protein that I suspect is used in the same way.

Eggs aside, your blog looks delicious, and I'm working my way through all the old recipes finding inspiration.

Kalyn Denny said...

My mother used to make homemade noodles, always with eggs, but no idea why the egg. She usually served them in chicken soup, one of our favorite dishes as kids.

ThreadBeaur said...

I got a pasta roller for a present. I can't wait to try this recipe!

Anonymous said...

you're really a great cook
Raffaele from Italy