The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pasta making tips

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kritterlitter's picture
kritterlitter

Pasta making tips

Hello everyone, i'm hoping I can get some pasta making guidance here.  I posted on this site before when I needed help with my sourdough starter, but I had to create a new account because I forgot all my info from before.  But everyone was so helpful, and nice that I figured this is the best place to go with my questions.  I have a hand crank pasta machine and I really want to learn how to make pasta with it.  I practiced a little with some cheap AP flour, but now I'm ready to make the real thing.  I know that I need semolina flour, but I was hoping someone could recommend a good brand.  Its very hard for me to find locally, and the only store I know of that carries it is charging a ridiculous amount of money for it, so i'm planning on ordering it offline.  I have a whole bunch of amazon gift cards and they have various different brands you can buy in bulk.  One in particular was only $18 for 6 2lb bags.  The brand is Spicy World, and it has good reviews on amazon.  I was wondering if anyone knew anything about that particular brand.  Also, are there differences between semolina flour as far as it being coarse or fine.  I thought all Semolina flour was coarse, but I came across some that was described as fine ground.  So of course that left me confused lol. 

I also was hoping someone had a pasta recipe that they wouldn't mind sharing, and/or some tips on making pasta.  I'm new to this, but I LOVE making things by hand from scratch, even if it takes all day and leaves my hands cramping to the point I want to cry.  There is nothing in the world better to me than slaving all day over making something because then its so much more rewarding when you have your finished product.  Any suggestions, or guidance is greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance for your help!

jannrn's picture
jannrn

I TOO love to cook things from scratch when I have the time and also plan to make Pasta! I am sure there are alot of people here who will share a recipe or 2! Just in case though....go to allrecipes.com and do a search. It is a site of all types of home recipes by home cooks as well as some from professionals. I just love it!!

Good luck!

Jannrn

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

I have the Spicy World semolina from Amazon and have used it for a few batches of pasta. It is not as finely ground as the durum flour Stan has at www.nybakers.com but it is finer than the Bob's Red Mill at the grocery. It will be my go to semolina except when I treat myself with the nybakers stuff.

It makes good pasta -- not as smooth as the really fine stuff but good.

You can make pasta out of almost anything, even rye. I make small batches in the food processor and often flavor it with spinach, olives, herbs, or the like. You can see my recipe here: www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/italian/fresh-pasta-in-the-food-processor.html

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

It's true, you don't need semolina flour to make good pasta.  My standard recipe for a regular flour pasta is 1 egg per cup of flour, with a pinch of salt if desired (not really necessary) and a smattering of olive oil or water if the dough seems too dry. I sometimes do half semolina and half regular flour. If I use all semolina, I omit the egg. 

You know you've got the right thing when the semolina really does ressemble flour and not a fine grain.  I get mine from the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company.  They have a good on-line service, found here:  www.pennmac.com

 

rjerden's picture
rjerden

In Italy, everyone uses AP flour at home. Only the commercial pasta makers use semolina. Having said that, you can find semolina at an Indo-Pak grocery store pretty easily and at a good price. Finely ground or not makes no difference in pasta.

The food processor is your friend when kneading the dough. Pasta dough is too stiff for most mixers. I usually do 1 extra large egg and 125 g of flour per ball. Knead on low speed with the pasta blade if you have one. A few drops of water might be necessary when kneading to bring the ball together. A tiny bit of olive oil makes the pasta easier to work in the machine. I have a hand cranked machine, but the KitchenAid pasta accessory is worth the money if you make a lot of pasta like us.

Before the last pass through the machine, I flour the sheet on both sides with semolina. This gives it a bit of a rough finish which holds the sauce better and keeps the dough from sticking.

I lay out the finished sheets on a tablecloth and fold it over the pasta until I have made all the pasta, then I cut it as necessary. If you want very wide noodles like pappardelle, cut by hand with the point of a knife on a cutting board or granite. Some say to roll up the sheet before doing this, but I have found that it often sticks together when you do this.

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

You don't need semolina - or any special flour

You don't need eggs

You don't need all day

All you need is some bread flour - and I'm sure all you guys will have that - a rolling pin  and about 20 minutes of your time. Oh, and a pan of water and a sauce of some kind.

My 9-yr-old grandaughter made some recently - check out the recipe and pics on  my blog:

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/homemade-vegan-pasta.html

Cheers, Paul

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

The  possibilities with making fresh pasta are endless.  Machines, eggs, and special flours, though not necessary, all offer exciting varieties.  Have fun experimenting!