Published on January 3rd, 2013 | by Rachel Budke5
Fresh Pasta Dough
Fresh pasta dough is one of my favorite things to make. If making pasta is something that interests you, I would definitely recommend buying a pasta roller. The one I have can be found here. Before I bought my pasta roller, I had made pasta a few times using a rolling pin and pizza cutter. It can be done, but it takes a long time, especially if you have no arm muscle like me! If you have never made pasta before, I very strongly encourage you to try it out! Nothing helps you to appreciate food quite like making it yourself.
I just realized, this is the perfect opportunity for me to work in some of what I’m learning in school! I’m currently studying Bakery Science at Kansas State University, and just finished taking a course on flour milling. Even though I’m not planning on becoming a miller, it was really interesting to learn about. In my book, you can never learn too much about where you food comes from! Plus, it’s pretty darn cool that I know how to turn a bag of wheat into white flour with my eyes closed. Ha! Okay, so I’m not that good, but I do know what I’m doing.
Pasta is typically made using semolina, which is a purified version of a product achieved in the milling process called middlings. Middlings are typically a by-product of the industry, and are mostly made up of germ, bran, and shorts. These are the products that are removed from the wheat kernel once it is ground, when producing white flour. The type of wheat that is used in pasta production is durum wheat, which is the hardest species of wheat. The protein content in this wheat is higher than other wheats, it mills quite a bit differently, and produces a more yellow-tinted product. I actually have never made pasta using semolina, because I never have any. All-purpose flour does the job well enough for the results I’m looking for, although it would be really neat to try both and compare the differences.
Makes 1 pound of pasta
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- On a clean work surface, place your flour into a little pile and make a well in the center.
- Place the eggs and salt into the center of the flour. Whisk the eggs using a fork, taking care to disturb the flour as little as possible.
- Slowly incorporate the flour, a little bit at a time.
- Once all of the ingredients are mixed together, use your hands to blend everything together. You should be able to form the dough into a ball.
- Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal-sized balls. Cover the dough with a towel, and let rest for at 15-30 minutes.
- To roll out the dough, first flatten the ball out with the palm of your hand, until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Use the pasta roller set to it’s widest setting, and feed the dough into the slot. Repeat this process, decreasing the width on the slot each time. Continue until the pasta is as thin as you’d like. The pasta roller will also cut your pasta easily and quickly. My machine has two different size options, the one pictured above being the widest option. To cut the pasta, you simply move the hand-crank to the “cutting” side and feed the pasta through.
- If you do not have a pasta roller, use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough. It can be cut with a pizza cutter, but I find it rather difficult to make the noodles uniform in shape. If you are using the rolling pin method, I would suggest making ravioli with your dough. Just roll out thin sheet of pasta dough, place 1 teaspoon of filling about 1″-2″ apart, brush an egg wash around the filling, top with another sheet of pasta, press the edges to seal, and cut out your ravioli. You can also buy ravioli presses like the one found here.
Note: Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta! It will be done cooking in about 1-3 minutes.
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