The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grain to grind for fresh pasta?

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

Grain to grind for fresh pasta?

Since home grinding flour and foregoing white flour for bread, I thought, "why not do this for pasta"?  Before I start experimenting with different grains, does anyone have any experience with this?  I use Red Fife wheat for my bread, often mixed with spelt or kamut or rye.  And I've used soft white wheat for quickbreads (using advice from this forum).

Thanks!

Jeff

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

start there.  Any work though ..... and you can make them sourdough too!

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

I like the sourdough angle.  I may try without first, and then tinker from there.

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

We use 50:50 fresh milled durum:white wheat.  Delicate to roll down to thickness #1 on our pasta machine, but #2 easily.  Depends on your water and egg proportions as well, of course.

Tom

bakermomof4's picture
bakermomof4

I use freshly ground Kamut and it makes the best homemade lasagne.

Very interested in converting it to sourdough pasta, any suggestions from anyone who has tried it?

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Her husband was making it.

wolfetan44's picture
wolfetan44

Just curious, where do you get your Red fife berries from? Thanks.

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

Misty Brook Farm in Maine.  They come to the Somerville (MA) winter market and the Union Square (Somerville) market in the summer.  I send them an e-mail and they bring me 15 pounds to the market.

dobie's picture
dobie

Jeff

Interesting you bring this up, and I'm surprised by how many TFLians make pasta (but I should have known better).

I make pasta fairly frequently as well. My go to recipe is 8 oz of semolina to 4 oz water and a ts of Kosher Salt, doughed up in a food processor. Rolled out by the sheeter of a KitchenAid stand mixer.

My other favorite is 8 oz of semolina and 8 oz of loose frozen (bagged) spinach, salt, food processor.

Girl hates fresh pasta made with AP or Bread wheat flour. Too soft to her mind, so I don't do that anymore.

A few years ago I did some fairly extensive experiments with semolina and eggs. I compared the 'bite' of whole eggs, just egg whites and then just the yolks. The one with a bite most similar to commercial, dry boxed pasta was with only the yolks.

But I also discovered that yolks by themselves don't contain enough water to develop sufficient gluten for the pasta to bind properly. Essentially the same as if you used just oil (which I also tried). So, I use 3-4 egg yolks and then sufficient water to bring it to 4 oz and that works out fine.

I just recently took a book out of the library called 'Making Artisan Pasta' by Aliza Green. Finally, I have found a Pasta book that really focuses on the building of the dough as well as the contruction from there (and not just the saucing, which is so often the case). I am just reading thru it at this point and haven't tried any recipes, but Green is very much on board with what most folks here are saying. You can make it from pretty much any flour.

She discusses (and recipe's) aside from the normal wheat and semolina flours, spelt, farro, rye, barley, buckwheat, chestnut, chickpea, rice and other flours. Sometimes in combinations.

Good to hear the positive experiences of bakermomof4 with Kamut. I will definitely be trying that as well as other grains, shortly.

dbm - I wan't aware Kamut was considered a durham wheat, but I will research that (any helpful links, as always, much appreciated). I probably just don't understand the definition of 'durham'.

I'm still looking for Red fife at my bulk shops, but so far, I can't find it.

Oh, and sourdough pasta? What a great thought.

Anyway Jeff, thanks for igniting such a lively discussion.

dobie

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

website http://www.kamut.com/ yu will find the origin and history of Kamut.  Kamut is the ancient variety of modern durum wheat varieties.  All durum wheat varieties can easily be spotted by the distinctive yellow color of the flour and its sweet taste/  My personal favorite is Desert Durum grown in Arizona.  All 300,000 tons grown are either exported to  Italy for pasta or bought by a pasta company in Glendale Arizona.  Gary Zimmerman recently got a farmer to plant some for his Hayden Mills and he sold some ground as semolina for pasta at Whole Foods where I bought it but you can make bread with it like I did. 

dobie's picture
dobie

dbm,

From the link you provided: On their 'Origins' page;

All wheat belongs to the genus Triticum. From that classification wheat can be divided into three groups based on their number of chromosomes. Diploid wheat (14 chromosomes) is the earliest grouping. Cultivated varieties in this group are rare and very unusual. The only example that was known to be cultivated is einkorn. Einkorn was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians and has been found in 4000 year old tombs of the Pharaohs.

Tetraploid wheat (28 chromosomes) is more common. This includes ancient varieties such as emmer and khorasan Triticum turgidum ssp.turanicum (sold as KAMUT® brand wheat) as well as modern varieties such as durum. Durum is most commonly used to make pasta. The most common wheat is hexaploid wheat (42 chromosomes) and includes spelt, modern bread wheat and soft wheat used for cookies and cakes.

My take on that is that they are saying that durum wheat is a modern variety of Tetraploid wheat (28 chromosomes), not that it is a modern variety of Khorasan (Kamut).

Everything else I've been reading continues to refer to them as two distinct wheats, however both Tetraploids, and thus related in that way.

Durum wheat is (Triticum turgidum subsp. durum) whereas Khorasan wheat (Kamut) is Triticum turgidum subsp. turanicum.

That being said, on the same link's History page, they say (referring to Khorasan aka Kamut) that in 'Egypt, where it is now called Balady durum, meaning “native durum”.' So at least in Egypt, Kamut is commonly referred to as a durum wheat.

To my further confusion, the Wikipedia page for Durum states that it 'was developed by artificial selection of the domesticated Emmer wheat strains formerly grown in Central Europe and the Near East around 7000 BC'.

Even further, the Wikipedia page for Khorasan (Kamut) states that 'Recent genetic evidence from DNA fingerprinting suggests that the variety is perhaps derived from a natural hybrid between T. durum and T. polonicum'

So according to that statement, Kamut came in part from Durum, not the other way around as many others say.

I thought I'd pass this on, just in case it means anything to anybody.

The original link also makes clear that Einkorn is a diploid, Emmer is a tetraploid and Spelt is a hexaploid, thus each is distinct from the others.

What does it all mean, what do I know? For myself I will only refer to Durum as Durum, so as not to confuse myself.

Semolina on the other hand, is a description of milling and can apply to any grain (altho commonly referring to Durum ground coarse).

Ouch, my head hurts. I don't usually get into this type of stuff, but curiousity killed the cat.

Thanks (I think) for link dbm,

dobie

ps - I'm going to 'semolina' some Kamut this weekend and make some pasta with it.

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

I just put it on reserve at the library and will check it out.  It'll be good for some starting points for proportions and ingredients for "alternative" flours.  I'll report back after some experimentation...it may be a few weeks.  If others reading have had good success with whole grain pastas, especially from freshly ground flour I'd be interested. 

Thanks all for the comments,

Jeff

dobie's picture
dobie

Jeff

So good that you can get that book.

I too, will follow up once I get to experimenting.

dobie

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

Fresh Loafians also make pasta.  Reminds me of a recipe I've done a couple times.  There was a recipe for "handkerchief pasta" in an issue of Fine Cooking magazine several years ago.  Maggie Glezer, who is a contributing author for the magazine used the pasta recipe as the inspiration for a loaf of bread she featured in a later issue.  She made a dough with a combination of white and durum flour and after bulk proofing formed it into a rough loaf shape.  Then she pushed her rolling pin into the loaf along the long side about 1/4 to 1/3 of the the way into the center of the loaf and rolled that smaller section outward away from the loaf into a thin layer that became a flap.  Next, fresh herbs were lain all over the the main body of the loaf and the flap was lifted over the top, pressed down onto the herbs, and pinched on the opposite side to seal.  When baked, there is a shadow of the herbs showing through the top of the loaf - it makes for a very interesting presentation, especially if you bring it to the table whole so people can see it before cutting.

I googled it and found the recipe here:

http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to/flatbread-with-inlay-of-herbs.aspx?pg=1

and there is a hyperlink within the article to the handkerchief pasta recipe as well.

     --Mike

Gail_NK's picture
Gail_NK

FYI - about 60% of Kamut® grown here is exported to Italy - where much of it is made into pasta. I think it's a wonderful grain - very rich flavored, beautiful color, and yes, a durum wheat, so perfect for pasta!

Gail

dobie's picture
dobie

Gail, thank you for that.

I totally agree that Kamut is a lovely grain, and easily accessible to me as well.

As per dbm's comment to the same as yours, that Kamut is a Durum wheat, I've done a little searching (but only in trickles, now and then).

To preface, I am not a grain historian, by any means. For years I have been trying to secure a definition that distincts the relationship between Durum and Semolina, and have only failed, or been bullspitted.

That being said, my more recent research only confuses me further.

Now, if you can't find it between Google, Wikipedia and Youtube, does it really exist? Just to say, those are my sources.

This is a paraphrasing of a Wiki quote, 'Semolina is derived from the Italian word Semola, meaning Bran. This is derived from the ancient Latin Simila, meaning flour , itself a borrowing from the Greek Semidalis, meaning Groats.

Huh? Thanks for the clarification. So, either Bran, Flour or Groats. Wide open definition.

So, even tho Semolina is derived from the Italian word meaning Bran, it is apparently commercially made today from the roller milling process that actually extracts the Bran and the Germ, and thus Semolina is ground only from the Endosperm. There is more to it then that, but those are the basics (according to this particular Wiki page).

Also, apparently, Durum Flour is ground from Durum Wheat and is finer than Durum Semolina. So from Durum wheat comes both Durum Flour and Durum Semolina, just different grinds.

Further, apparently 'Semolina' defines a coarse grind (excluding Bran and Germ) and can be ground as such from any grain, including Rice, Corn, Wheat and others.

I have not been able to confirm that Kamut is a Durum wheat. My feeling is that Durum wheat is distinct from Kamut, altho Semolina can be made from either. I do know that the berries of Kamut and Durum that I can buy, look quite different.

Again, I'm no expert and speak only with no authority intended. I'm just reporting back about things that amuse and confuse me.

dobie

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Okay,  so I bought some Kamut thinking it was durum, and now it appears that maybe it is and maybe it isn't,  I am not all that worried about that because I am wondering how fine should I grind them.   Store bought semolina is pretty coarse -  should I shoot for that or go for a finer grind? 

dobie's picture
dobie

Hi Barry,

I'm gonna be grinding some Kamut in an hour or two and semolina is my plan. The reason for that is that I have only used Durum semolina for pasta and never Durum flour.

I have heard a lot of people praising a blend of the flour and semolina for the best pasta (usually 50/50). But since I'm just trying to compare Kamut to Durum in pasta (as I've made it) right now, I will be mimicking the Durum semolina that I normally would use. I will explore flour/semolina blends with both grains, later.

As you suggest, maybe Kamut is a Durum, maybe not. Outside of Egypt, it's open to interpretation I think. I'm going to maintain the distiction of names myself, as they are cleary (even visually) different grains.

However, they are very closely related, so it doesn't seem outrageous to call Kamut a Durum wheat. If it's true that Kamut came from a natural hybridization that included t. durum, that would be the stronget case for calling it so. However, what then is 'Durum' wheat (t. durum) on its own?

The mission for me now is to find out their differences in performance, flavor and nutrition. Apparently Kamut is even higher nutrionally than Durum, and both are a boost from standard red and white wheats. My research however, has not yet been exhaustive in that regard.

How many pounds did you buy?

dobie

dobie's picture
dobie

Barry

Just to respond to myself, I have done as I said I would and I have learned a few things.

For clearity, I am grinding with the stones of a WonderMillJr, by hand.

I tried to adjust the grind to best emulate the commercially available Durum semolina that I normally buy milled commercially.

That was not possible. At any setting, there was always a distinction between what was obviously flour and what was obviously 'semolina' (meant as the courser of the grind).

So I sifted out the flour (sorry, just houshold, no mesh numbers, but reasonbly fine).

The siftings were rather chunky, so I reground them (without changing the settings). In the end, the result was about 4 to every 5 parts flour/coarse flour and that one chunck of truly 'semolina' coarse, was a little bit coarser, as if bran. Regardless, at that point, it was pretty consistent.

Anyway, that's where I'm at for the moment, and soon have to decide what to do (my starters are ripe and ready).

Just checking in,

dobie

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Dobie,  I bought about 2 pounds, mostly because I have a coworker that says she is gluten sensitive, and I was trying different grains for her to see if they were easier on her than white flour, and whole wheat.  I will try a moderate grind and see what happens.  I have been using half soft white wheat and half hard white wheat ( both home milled) a few times, then last time used 1/2 semolina flour ( commercially ground ) and 1/2 hard white ( home ground ) and that was pretty good but was looking for a 100% home milled option.  

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

Just a quick report on my own activity.  I did get the Artisan Pasta book out of the library.  The main takeaway was that I could use just about any grain for past.  The author mostly mixes with some white flour.

I'd really like to experiment with 100% whole grain flour, as I've come to enjoy getting away from processed wheat.  My happy experience with using flour I grind at home for bread is that I get much better results than when using store-bought whole grain flour.  I'm hoping I can duplicate that experience with the pasta.

I'm interested in the discussion above about durum and semolina flours.  The little bit of research I've done indicates that durum is used primarily for the dried pasta one buys at the store, and that fresh past uses softer wheats.  So, I'll be interested to hear the results of the experiments!

My own experiments are going to have to wait.  I'm on a month-long trip, and didn't bring my mill with me.  I will get back to my kitchen in March and will pick up the experiments then.  I think I'll start by grinding the soft wheat flour I have on hand, and then start mixing in some others, such as the kamut.  Stay tuned, but until then, please continue posting your own experiments!

Jeff

dobie's picture
dobie

Jeff

I've heard of packing light, but that's just ridiculous (kidding, of course).

dobie

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Jeff, based on your post, I borrowed the book from the library as well.  I had borrowed it earlier, and did not get much out of it, this time I read the beginning in much more detail.  My take away was to grind finely, and use a mix.  Last night was 50% soft white wheat and 50% kamut and that was very good.  The other take away was to let the sheets dry about 10 to 20 minutes after they come out of the pasta rollers before cutting, it did make cutting much easier.

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

that almost always has a booth for a company called (I think) Papardelle Pasta.  They have all kinds of varieties of flavor profiles so there are lots of different colors to look at.  One of the things I've noticed is some of the pasta looks sleek and smooth, like the stuff you see in the supermarket.  However, some of it has a noticeable "grit" to it when you hold it in the light.  

Every time I've ever made pasta I've just used white flour and whole eggs (sometimes including a little olive oil) and the resulting product is nice and smooth - both in appearance and mouth-feel.  So I'm wondering, do you folks using the coarser semolina grind feel the bumpy surface on your pasta or does the semolina absorb enough water during cooking to make it smooth and supple?

     --Mike

dobie's picture
dobie

Mike

Interesting question.

I think the answer could be yes and no.

Just to qualify, 95% of the pasta I make is with plain old commercially available Durhum Semolina 'course ground' (so they say). I find it pretty fine, tho.

It's been a few years since I have made pasta from standard wheat flours (Girl doesn't like it, too soft for her tastes), so we go forward.

However (being a fan myself), I do remember how smooth it can be. In my experience, standard Durum Semolina, will not be that smooth.

However, it will be supple.

Part of the attraction to a less than smooth pasta is how the inherent texture allows for the 'clinging' of the sauce (of whatever kind). I find this to be true.

I am not a master of extruded pasta (and it has been years since I have done so), but there is the thought that the copper (or metal) dies, will give a rougher edge than the plastic dies do. The benefit is supposed to be, the rougher, the better to cling the sauce.

To that point, I have recently been exploring ways to texture my sheeted (durum somolina) pasta before the cut (by whatever means, tho not extruded) to create that sauceable clingyness. (pardon my mispellings, they might not even be words).

If your using eggs and you are looking for a firmer texture, let me suggest using just the yolks with an equal (more or less) amount of water. For myself, whatever the flour, it will be more firm that way.

But it really depends on what you are looking for, in the end.

dobie

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

that the rough-looking appearance must've had a reason for being there, otherwise people would have done away with it.  Never thought about sauce properties though.  Thanks for the insight, dobie.

     --Mike

dobie's picture
dobie

Mike

Thanks for bringing it up. It reignites the flame.

dobie

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

Dobie...it was a tough choice.  I left my starter in the  fridge at home, too.  It's a little unsettling buying bread in markets in an unfamiliar city.  There might be some great bread in Memphis, but I haven't spent the time to find it yet.

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

While googling around on this topic, I came across this great article on Serious Eats.  I left a  comment asking for further research on approaches using whole grains and home-ground whole grains. In addition to the original author, there were over 100 comments.  So, maybe we'll recruit a few others to the research!

Jeff

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

...I'm back from my travels, and finally got back to this project.  Here's what I did after looking over a variety of recipes, suggestions, etc.

  • I was unsure on quantities, so I started with the proportions that came with the Atlas pasta maker:  500 g flour and 5 eggs. 

  • I ground soft wheat berries into as fine a flour as my Victorio mill could muster, and did the pasta mixing by hand, because I wanted to get a feel for what the dough was doing.  At first, I held back some of the flour and some of the egg, because I wasn't sure what I'd need more of as the creation progressed.

  • As I expected, the dough was pretty dry.  I ended up incorporating the rest of the eggs and the rest of the flour too.  It took a while to knead the dough until it resembled something I might call "smooth" enough to wrap in plastic to rest in the fridge for a few hours until ready to roll.

  • Rolling was definitely trickier than with all purpose flour.  Other people have used the word "crumbly", and that was accurate.  We did find that putting it through the setting "0" roller of the pasta machine a few times helped develop the gluten a bit so it held together.  We usually roll our pasta dough to setting 6 or 7 (out of 10, with the 10th being the thinnest).  We dared only go as far as 5.  We also didn't dare trying to run it through the cutters, and opted instead by hand. (Those are my wife's hands....we tend to do pasta making as a team, as more than two hands make the task simpler...plus it's fun).

  • The resulting pasta was some ragged tagliatelle.   I prefer to call it "rustic".

  • The result was a pleasant surprise.  The first night I served it cooked it for four minutes, at least twice as long as I normally would with all purpose flour, and served it with a simple mushroom sauce.  Good, hearty, a little too al dente.  The next night I cooked it for six minutes, and the extra two minutes really helped soften it up.  Served with some leftover brisket with sauce from the freezer, it was very satisfying.

Some of the takeaways from the experiment:

  • Freshly ground soft wheat flour can create a satisfying pasta -- just don't expect something that's light and silky.  It's definitely got some "grit", but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
  • It's a lot more effort to work with, so patience is needed.  Tearing and crumbling.
  • I plan to experiment with adding a bit (maybe 10% to 20%) of all purpose flour to see if that will help stabilize some of the crumbliness. 
  • I plan to experiment with some other grains mentioned here and elsewhere.
barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Thanks for the photos.  I mix 50 % hard white whole wheat with 50% soft white whole wheat, both home ground, and don't have problems with tearing.  I usually start with hydration around 70%,. figuring that eggs weigh around 60 grams.  I agree about running it through the rollers at the widest setting several times, I fold and turn it sideways between each pass, it works like kneading and makes it smoother

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Thanks for the photos.  I mix 50 % hard white whole wheat with 50% soft white whole wheat, both home ground, and don't have problems with tearing.  I usually start with hydration around 70%,. figuring that eggs weigh around 60 grams.  I agree about running it through the rollers at the widest setting several times, I fold and turn it sideways between each pass, it works like kneading and makes it smoother

Broetchenmaedchen's picture
Broetchenmaedchen

I know its been a while since the last post, but I wanted to chime in.  When I first started milling my own grains I attempted with a Atlas machine I purchased off of Pleasant Hill Grain. In my experience making pasta with freshly milled whole grains, is a lot more difficult and takes more finesse and patience than regular pasta dough. Despite my hardest efforts my noodles were never more than three or four inches long. Whole grains make the noodles brittle. I eventually stopped making whole grain noodles and gave my Atlas away. I recently got back into making pasta, but this time with an extrusion machine. I am happy to report that even with fresh milled Kamut it has worked relatively flawlessly. In fact for lunch I had some fresh tagliatelle pasta made of fresh milled spelt.

I  hope you have more success than I did.

 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Glad you have an extrusion machine that is working. I  think I made pasta once or twice with AP flour, and it was easier than 100% whole wheat,  but the 50 % soft 50% hard whole wheat is still working fine, though it can start to develop holes in the pasta when you get down to the finest setting on the pasta rollers. 

Broetchenmaedchen's picture
Broetchenmaedchen

I am glad to hear you're having success using 50% hard and 50% soft whole wheat for your pasta.

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

This is just what I was looking for when I made the original post.  Lots to chew on here (pun intended) when I get around to pasta making again, likely when the summer heat dissipates!

 

improbablepantry's picture
improbablepantry

It's been cold in the Northeast US the last few days, so it was a perfect Sunday afternoon for pasta making yesterday.  My wife finally relented and let me try one of my whole grain experiments.  In exchange, she got to make the cauliflower recipe she's been dying to make again.  Sunday afternoon pasta making is a pleasant way for us to collaborate on a cooking project.  Our hand-cranked pasta maker really needs two people.  So it's perfect!

I didn't grind my own this time, but did use mostly spelt flour (Bobs Red Mill) to make Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter from Ottolenghi's Plenty.  Ottolenghi uses all white flour, but I swapped in mostly spelt:  13 ounces (368 grams) spelt, 1.5 ounces (43 grams) all purpose.  The rest is four eggs, 4 tablespoons of water infused with saffron, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  The link has the recipe verbatim from the book.  It's a spectacular pasta dish...both the original and my spelt creation.  

The result was a smooth, non-grainy pasta that was a pleasure to work with and to eat.  Although I hand cut the ribbons into tagliatelle, it could easily have withstood the linguine cutter on the pasta maker.  I also used my stand mixer to mix the dough, rather than the food processor as the recipe suggests, and that worked fine -- and was way easier to clean up.

I have no idea if the small amount of white flour contributed to the ease of handling, but for that small amount, I'm happy to continue along that path.

Next time, I'll grind my own spelt flour.  And sorry, no pictures this time!

 

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I'e owned various machines of the extruder type over the past 30+ years and it took a lot of patience and persistence to get good results.  I also broke a lot of machines at first - especially those with all plastic dies.  The instructions would say you had to use soft flour - but I wanted to use Semolina - or home milled durum. 

Anyway ... all these years later, I make pasta at least 4 times a week and I'm getting very good results.   I still use Semolina - it's very coarse (I buy Bob's Red Mill - it's what I can find easily) and I usually mix it 2/3 Semolina to 1/3 AP.  

The machine I've been having good luck with is the Simac that has brass or copper (not sure which) dies - the lasagna die is all metal - most of the other dies have metal for strength but with a nylon insert for the actual shape.  I've never broken one of these and I've never broken this brand machine - I've broken many of the other brands.

The machine is quite noisy ... and takes a loooong time to mix the dough (it turns slowly).  So what I've been doing is to mix the dough in a Cuisinart with the cutter blade --  it quickly (and quietly) mixes up the egg and Semolina in seconds - it looks very, very dry (like wet sand) and I add a very little water (a few drops) while the cuisinart is spinning.  Until it just starts to cling a little bit to the sides. It doesn't form a ball - that would be way, way too wet. When it is right, it looks like individual particles (not dough at all) but you can pinch it between your fingers and it sticks together.   Then I let it rest for 20-30 minutes (this is the secret).    

Then dump it into the pasta machine to extrude and I go from there straight into the salted boiling water.  I do not put any salt or oil in the pasta - I let the salty water do the salting.  The only oil I use is a little olive oil to lube the auger and the die - I also dip the auger and die in hot water before I oil it so it is warmed up (makes the extruding go better). I could just do all the mixing in the pasta machine (and have for years), it is just much noisier and the cuisinart does a much better, faster, quieter job of mixing the egg and flour.