The Fresh Loaf

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Pasta question for our Italian members

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pasta question for our Italian members


I made a batch of tagliatelle today. I use Marcella Hazan's recipe which calls for 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 cups of AP flour. However, I have been curious how it would be made with Italian doppio 0 flour. I used Caputo red label. To my surprise, it was much thirstier than KAF AP, and I had to add a couple tablespoons of water to the dough for it to come together. Even with the added water, the dough was drier than usual. I was surprised because Marcella says the recipe usually used in Northern Italy is 1 cup of flour to one egg. I wonder if Italian eggs are usually larger than our "large" eggs, or if there is another explanation. Maybe one of our Italian members has an explanation.


I don't have enough experience comparing American AP with Italian tipo 00 flours in terms of water absorption and am curious about this.


In any event, the pasta, made with an Atlas crank pasta machine, sure seems lovely. I'll see how it tastes at dinner tomorrow, with a sauce of home made ground turkey Italian sausage and kale.




Thanks in advance for any insights you can share.


David

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

In Italy large eggs weigh approximately 60 grams (excluding the shell), while medium eggs weigh around 55 grams.


Italian 00 (AP) flours are generally much weaker and less thirsty than american flours: generally 100 grans of flour need no more than 50 grams of water to get a bread-like dough; in certain cases even less.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

American large eggs weight around 46 gms (according to Norm's conversion chart). So that explains the Italian recipe of 1 egg to 1 cup of flour.


What you say about the water absorption of tipo 00 flour is consistent with my impression. So the mystery of why I had to add water to my pasta dough remains.


David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You got there David!   Elegant.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And where did I get (on it?), Mini?


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Mini means a lot of people hang their pasta over broom sticks!  Yours is pretty cool pasta hanger...I've only seen the wooden ones.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I had that figured out.


Before I got the jazzy one pictured, I used one I made out of 1 x 4's and doweling. It hung from a cabinet knob on a chain. In our new (13 yrs) house, the cabinets don't have knobs, and the ceilings are way too high for it, so I got the counter top one. It folds flat for storage. I like it.


David

clazar123's picture
clazar123

However much water you added, the noodles and bread look wonderful.Kale sounds intriguing.


When Grandma made the pasta, she didn't measure. So sometimes recipes are guidelines and not formulas.


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My mother used to describe how her mother used to make noodles for soup or kugel. I remember her describing how fast her knife moved cutting them. I never saw my grandmother make noodles, but, from my memory of other things I did see her make, everything was by feel and taste - nothing measured.


David

belfiore's picture
belfiore

What time's dinner?


:-)

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi David,


Can you please wait another 2 days before eating. It will give me time to buy air tickets and get over there for a meal. WOW factor for me.


BTW.......Is there anything in the kitchen you don't attempt? My wife leaves the cooking to me because she feels I'm more creative than her, but wow, home made turkey sausages!!!!! I stand in respect sir.


Please tell me what is Kale?........I've not heard of this.


Cheers from Australia..............Aussie Pete.


PS.......Sorry cannot give you advice on your pasta. Maybe it will be a case of "what feels and looks right" then keep the recipe in your own bread book...Cheers again.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Pete.


I really do not regard myself as extraordinarily adventurous as a cook, but I do enjoy cooking. Pasta is way easier to make than bread. And the critical skills for making the sausage are 1) Chopping parsley and 2) Mixing ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. I bet you can handle it. ;-) (Note: I make bulk sausage. I do not stuff it into links.)


Kale is a green, leafy vegetable. It is a member of the cabbage family but doesn't form a head. It has been cultivated in Europe throughout historical time and was one of the most commonly grown and consumed vegetables in Europe prior to the late middle ages, according to the Wikipedia article on Kale. (I can't personally testify to this, not being quite that ancient.) It has an unique flavor, which you might or might not enjoy - nothing like spinach or chard, for example. It has exceptional nutritional virtues.


David

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Kale is a green, leafy vegetable. It is a member of the cabbage family but doesn't form a head. It has been cultivated in Europe throughout historical time and was one of the most commonly grown and consumed vegetables in Europe prior to the late middle ages, according to the Wikipedia article on Kale. (I can't personally testify to this, not being quite that ancient.) It has an unique flavor, which you might or might not enjoy - nothing like spinach or chard, for example. It has exceptional nutritional virtues.

Aussie Pete, you might be interested to know it's easy to grow, and now is the time in Australia (in the southern States, at least) to put it in.


Sounds like a nice pasta dish you have in mind, David (and good on you for making your own fresh pasta). I've heard of using kale in pasta, but haven't tried it. Will do so now, prompted by your post.


Cheers! Ross

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

You will find many recipes for kale with pasta with an internet search. The one I use is from Gourmet Magazine (2006). The same recipe can be found on the Epicurious web site. Futtucine with Sausage and Kale 


Bon appétit!


David

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Actually, I find the web replacing my cookery books much of the time these days. Takes a practised eye and some feel for what works well and what doesn't - and maybe a pinch o luck - to pick the great recipes from the many mediocre ones, but with a bit of suss the web's a fine resource for us kitchen tragics. Especially if you factor in excellent forums like this one.


I mentioned in a recent blog post that most of my favourite bread recipes have come not from my collection of books by the gurus - Hamelman, Reinhart, Glezer etc - but from terrific (and generous) amateur bakers on sites like TFL. And may I say, one dmsnyder has featured most prominently in my repertoire, along with the dazzlingly innovative Shiao-Ping.


I'm now at the stage where I'm making a lot of tweaks and devising my own breads, but really, I'm only building on a solid foundation of received knowledge and experience. And so it goes...community at its best.


Cheers!
Ross

TONY MARCANTONIO's picture
TONY MARCANTONIO

Hi David


Chef H must have very big chickens.  Northern Itay to Italians from further south are considered the Italian equivilent to Texas - everything is bigger and better.  I'll let you be the judge  lol


The usual recipe calls for 2/3 c of flour for every egg.  Water is used to supplement in case the pasta dough is too dry.  Olive oil (drops) is optional but it does help keep the dough moist while you work on roll-out etc.


I've used different types of flour but to be quite honest All Purpose flour for hand processing is the best standard.  What about semolina?  Well semolina can be used to supplement the all purpose flour but is not easy to work by hand.  If you use a KitchenAid or other mechanical kneading machine semolina works beautifully.


Drying pasta! Hum - As my mother used to say, if I want dry pasta I'd buy it. In our family (region) it is fresh pasta if home made.  Fortunately we come from a  part of italy where the best pasta dry egg pasta is made.  It is just not worth the effort to hang it all around the house until dries and then store it.  That is you if you have access to good dry egg pasta. I remember my friend's mom who used to hang the pasta all around the house on broom handles, hochey stick, cloths hangers - it was quite the maze!  lol


What we do dry are flat square pasta (2 inch sq), malfatti (odds and ends of left over pasta making process), penne (garganelli). But not long pasta. Compact and easily stored. 


As one chef said to me, keep it simple!  Excellent Italian cooking is kept simple. Check out Mario Batali - Babbo Cookbook - very simple. Try the Babbo Restaurant NY - the best hands down, even compared to Italy.  Leave the complex fussy stuff to the French - it gives them something to be proud of.  LMAO. All tongue in check of course!!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for your information, Tony.


I can get good dry pasta, but it doesn't have the texture or flavor of home made, and I don't regard myself as an expert pasta maker. Home made is better, even when it's been dried, to my taste.


I live in a dry climate, and thin pasta dries quickly. It is best the day it is made, but it's still very good a few weeks later.


My usual recipe, using AP flour, has been one egg to 3/4 cup flour. Not very different from yours.


I have not eaten in Italian restaurants in NYC, but there are some good ones in San Francisco.


David

TONY MARCANTONIO's picture
TONY MARCANTONIO

I meant to mention previously there is a clear impact of humidity when making most things using flour.  You're lucky that you have a dry climate.  Ottawa is known for its humidity.  Infact, there are days when making gnocchi is next to impossible if you you are trying for a firmer texture.  Prior to air conditioning, I remember my mother saying when it was a bad day for gnocchi making - to my dismay! 


I can't wait to go to SF and try out the restaurants (seafood - omg!) there, as I have heard very good reviews from friends and family.

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

I use only 00 flour. I buy all my flour in Italy and have taken many cooking courses there. The chefs will also use a small amount of water if needed. I live in the Alps and the air is dryer here. I use 1 cup of flour with 1 egg, this depends on the pasta that I'm making. If making egg noodles I use eggs and egg yolks. I've seen it made with only egg yolks in the South of Italy. 00 flour is ground finer and it depends on the amount of protein in it. I find that here I have to use a tablespoon or two of water. The dough has to be dry and at first is difficult to knead, but you have to knead it until you can make a ball in order to roll it through the pasta machine without it being too sticky and rolling it thin enough. When rolling it out use a small amount of flour and rub it into the dough if it is too sticky. The environment does matter and when I'm in the States, and don't have access to 00 flour or at sea level the result is different. I sometimes mix low protein cake flour with AP flour which gives you something more like 00, but using only AP flour works also. 


We get our eggs from the farms here but also buy them in Italy (we shop once a month in Como) and the yolks are very yellow, people always remark this when I take pictures. I don't know what they put in the feed, but what can I say when they mix chocolate in with the cow feed here. I worked for Lindt as a consultant for a number of years and they had huge blocks of chocolate they don't use for one reason or another which goes to the farmers to mix with the feed. Beside the beautiful green grass, now you know why Swiss dairy products are so great! One of the big technical problems is always the difference in milk, butter and eggs from country to country (the only ingredients they use locally in their production). I have done tasting at Lindt and you can tell the difference from completely Swiss dairy vs the dairy used in Germany, Italy or France in the flavor and texture of the chocolates. My point is that the environment and feed makes a difference. Sorry for the rambling but I deal with this ingredients problem all the time. Recipes from the US never come out the same here also.

susieJ's picture
susieJ

Atlas vs. KA


About a year ago I broke down and ordered the pasta attachment for my KA.  To be honest, I don't think the texture of the pasta is nearly as good as using my manual (30 year old) Atlas.  The chewy mouth feel just isn't there.  The pasta making goes much faster but there is a price to be paid.


Anyone else feel the same?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

About 20 years ago, I bought an electric "pasta maker" that was automatic. You put the dough in a hopper and it rolled out the dough and cut it. The texture of the pasta was just awful. I returned the machine.


They say that totally hand made pasta is even better than that made with the cranked pasta machines like the Atlas. I've never made pasta totally by hand, but I really love what the Atlas turns out.


David

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

Speaking of handmade pasta,  it was one of the 1st things that my Belgian friend said I must try to make,  and I did.  I didn't have any machines,  just hand and roller.  I can't remember the amount of flour that I used,  I googled for a recipe, looks good and easy, and I tried it. I did well in mixing them up.  But when I started rolling them,  I was really cursing my friend,  it took me,  I don't know, hours to roll them really thin,  it was never ending.  Finally,  I got to the thickness/thinness that I wanted.  But you know what?  I had the best tasting lagsana  ever.  Well,  I must thank my friend for introducing to me,  but I must say,  doing by hand is a lot of hard work,  muscles,  I had a good muscle ache for the next few days after that.  Good exercise! I think a machine is more sensible.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I have the KA 'disk' pasta maker attachments.  They are cr_ _ and I make fresh pasta better by hand but an awful lot of work.  The other sets of 'rollers' are very highly rated for ease of making rolled pasta and adjusting the thickness and frees up both your hands.  They are a bit pricey but photos and ratings have me convinced I'd rather have these roller type KA electric attachments.


Sylvia  

susieJ's picture
susieJ

The KA set I purchased has the rollers and two cutters....one for the linguine cut and one for spaghetti.  It does a great job rolling and cutting...it's just the texture is too fine, there is no longer that rustic feel.  I believe I paid $99 through Amazon.

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

I agree with you on this as a wood board has groves in the wood and although you can't see it in the pasta, infact the dough is not completely smooth.  This makes a difference in the the way the sauce adhears to the pasta.  

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

I have a hand cranked pasta machine and I recently bought the same machine but with a motor.  It is great and much easier to operate. I completely agree that the pertruding machines machines where you could make tube type pasta are pretty bad. My bother had one and I hated it. Kitchen Aid has one that just rolls out dough. I haven't tried this, but I know that a lot of chefs are using them.  The one I have I bought in Italy and is exactly the same as the hand cranked one, they also have a professional model. Tube type pasta I make myself. I just recnetly posted an article here called "Pasta made easy" http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/homemade-pasta-made-easy/


It shows the hand cranked machine, the new one has a motor on the side but is the same machine.