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Homemade Pasta

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Well, I got my KitchenAid Pasta Rollers in my stocking, so I'll be tackling fresh pasta for my first time this weekend. Doesn't look too hard, but I am confused in one area. Flour.

Mario says unbleached all-purpose flour. I've seen recipes with all semolina flour. Still others suggest 100% "hard wheat" flour.

What gives? It must be important. What do you all use? Does each different type of flour give a different texture? Should I use a combination? Or do different pasta shapes require different flours for strength, etc.?

Any hints/tips welcome.

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  1. Flour choice for homemade pasta might be interesting, but it is not important. For your first experiments you can stick with unbleached all-purpose flour. After you get the hang of it, try other flours and see if you can tell the difference.

    1. Semolina flour is really meant for making dried pasta, though it is handy to have on hand to dust the rollers with to help remove remaining bits of flour (normally, one does not wash pasta rollers to do that, but I digress...).

      All-purpose flour is normal to use in this county. King Arthur Flour does sell a variety that is akin to Italian doppo zero (00) flour that is the classic flour used in Italy for rolling fresh pasta; you can order it on their website.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Karl S.

        Seems to me I read somewhere that the 00, which is softer, is preferred for filled fresh pasta while the harder wheat is preferred for ziti, spaghetti, etc.

        1. re: Karl S.

          Karl, please digress.

          Why wouldn't I wash the rollers? Is it in order to attempt to maintain the non-stick nature?

          Until reading your post, I probably would have thought nothing of throwing them into the dishwasher!

          1. re: Pappy

            I'll digress for him...do not put that pasta machine in the dishwasher and do not attempt to wash it with liquid by hand. Just dust it with a brush or towel and wrap it tightly in plastic(maybe you still have the little desica packet it came with to help remove moisture from it, if so put that in the bag too). Moisture+Flour will bring your pasta machine to a very quick ending. Keep it dry and lightly dusted with flour when using and you should get many years of use.

            1. re: Pappy

              The first thing you see when opening your rollers is a sticker telling you NOT to wash the rollers.

              1. re: Jim H.

                Thanks. Obviously haven't opened the box yet.

                1. re: Jim H.

                  Yeah, but does the sticker say "Simon says do NOT wash the rollers."

                  All seriousness aside, I'm sure the rollers work better when dry, but why is dry and clean worse than dry and not quite clean? Living in dry and sunny Colorado, I feel pretty confident that I can find a way to get the rollers dry after washing them.

                  1. re: Bruce H.

                    The innards will rust, where you can't get at them. You can brush the flour off after you are done making the pasta, and any dried bits caught in the apparatus will fall right out when they are dry.

                    1. re: Bruce H.

                      Obviously, you are trying for that old Italian specialty..."pasta rusty-co".

                      1. re: Bruce H.

                        Clean them from WHAT? A few motes of flour dust? If your dough is the proper consistency to roll and properly floured, there's nothing more than that on the rollers when you're done.

                        Why risk a $100. set of pasta rollers for a chimera of cleanliness?

                  2. re: Karl S.

                    Well, I don't know if Kitchaid rollers are meant to be washed, but standard hand-cranked models (eg, Imperia, the Italian standard) include specific instructions never to wash them, since their parts are not all stainless steel and therefore can rust. Instead, you're supposed to use brush out any stuck pieces of dough, the the slightly grittier nature of semolina flour can make this a bit easier.

                  3. I use the unbleached all purpose. The commercial makers use flower made from wheat with a hard kernel, but one of my cookbooks recommends against this for what sounded at the time like a very sound reason. Can't remember what it was though.

                    Sidebar: Canada grows a lot of the hard wheat flower US pasta makers use, which makes ND wheat farmers mad. It's caused a small rift in relations with ND farmers blocking Canadian trucks every once in a while. The US pasta makers say it is an issue of quality. You can tell the difference in taste between a duck that has fattened on wheat fields instead of corn and bean fields (corn and beans better).

                    1. s
                      Seattle Rose

                      I agree, regular all-purpose flour will work just fine. I have made lots of pasta with it with great success. Have fun!


                      1. Just have fun! The first batch should use whatever you have the most of. We tried using 50/50 all-purpose and whole wheat, very hearty pasta. Experiment! Edison didn't get the lightbulb right on his first try.

                        1. I use all purpose flour all the time. Tried using semolina but it just costs about 10 times as much and the difference was negligible. Just remember to rest the dough for about 20 minutes before rolling it out. It's the most important step in making fresh pasta.

                          1. I used my KA rollers for the first time over the holidays. COULD NOT BE EASIER! Enjoy. And pay attention to whoever cautioned to rest the dough before using.

                            1. You can make great pasta with all sorts of flour, it depends what kind of pasta you like best.

                              I've found either 2:1 or 1:1 white flour to semolina makes a rustic pasta with a good bite to it, which is the kind I like rather than real smooth and slippery.

                              1. You do know that you are going to have to waste a bit of pasta to clean the small metal particles and machine oil from the rollers the first time you use it, don't you?

                                1. Here's the deal with flour as I see it. Rolled pasta from the north (e.g., lasagna, tagliatelle, tortellini) is usually egg pasta. Italians who roll by hand using ROLLING PINS (not mechanical rollers) tell me they use "tipo 00" instead of semolia because it rolls easier. Some prefer a 2:1 flour:semolina ratio. Pasta shops I visited in Italy used more semolina because they had machines that did the rolling for them.

                                  Dried no-egg pasta and fresh hand-pinched pasta from the south (e.g., orecchiette, spaghetti alla chitarra) uses all semolina. But you don't roll it at all, rather pinch little balls to shape, or roll out snakes from which you pinch balls.

                                  Personally, I like one third semolina for some bite if I'm rolling it.

                                  1. I have used them all. Semolina is probably the best. Bread flour is better than all purpose but any of them will work just fine. So will a mixture of any combination. I think it depends on your personal taste.

                                    1. I started making my pasta with flour only. My it took a couple of years on-off for me to be able to make vermicelli because I could not figure out how to get the dough prepared properly before the cutting. (It must by dry enough and powdered with flour before cutting)

                                      When I started using semolina flour, things got much easier. Right now I'm using 1:1. I buy my flour (and whole spices too) in Indian grocery stores. It is *much* cheaper in the Indian grocery stores - as is produce. (My favorite grocery store is India Cash and Carry on El Camino in Sunnyvale, California - if you are in the area)

                                      I have the Italian pasta maker (Imperia 150 Pasta Maker) - they say it is to be oiled and never washed. I wipe it down before and after use - and I put a little olive oil in my dough, so it has stayed nice.

                                      The only thing I hate about my pasta maker is that it can dance around when I'm turning the crank... and the crank falls out easily. I mounted it to a 3/4" piece of ply wood about 3 ' x 1.5' in size. It doesn't dance around any more, but it's not as easily stored away. ( You may be thinking, "Why doesn't he use that nice little clamp that comes with it?" - but the nice little clamp is cheesy, loosens up and slips, and gets in the way.)

                                      One "trick" I learned in making the dough is to use a colored chop board. I found these at this kitchen supply store on Clement street in San Francisco. I got a dark green one. The "trick" part is that when I sprinkle the board with flour before I roll out the dough, I can actually see how much coverage I got. The white boards are difficult to see.

                                      Hmmm. As long as I'm spilling my guts on making pasta - the other trick I learned was to roll the dough with a rolling pin before running it through the press. I roll it out, then cut nice rectangles. If you just use balls of dough and run it through, you will end up with slabs that are more elliptical in shape - and that makes the cutting process much less fun and tends to gum up the cutters as the short ends like to "wrap around the axel" so to speak.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: dactura

                                        I love my KA roller and cutters too! I use plain all-purpose flour. I think the most helpful thing I've learned is to make a small amount at a time. Then it's not so tedious with the rolling and it takes a fraction of the time. I make fresh pasta once a week since it's so easy. I have tried buckwheat pasta and it was delicious too.

                                        1. re: Texchef

                                          Mixing is a pain. I dump everything into my bread maker and press "dough".

                                          I also use an electronic scale - that way I don't dirty up measurement tools- just dump the ingredients directly into the bread maker bucket. The scale zero outs at the press of a button so I can add the next item. For baking, the measurements need to be more exact than other dishes - that's why I got the scale.

                                      2. Never used my KA mixer for that. Always done the old fashioned way. But this intrigues me. I do love my Imperia old fashioned roller though. It requires almost no cleaning, really!

                                        1. We use 00 in my house- it's just makes the kneading for ten minutes SO much easier!!

                                          1. I went to cooking classes in Southern Italy to figure just this stuff out. I do recall the chef told us to use special flour (00 I believe) but I never could find it back home. Also, he did use semolina for making them easy to handle before cooking, but I have never done that either! Seems like my experience is similar to many - regular flour works great. Oh, and for making the dough-- I did it by hand for a couple years until a restaurant owner told me that it works just as well in the KA - and it did. However, it did lack a little of the "love" aspect and (truth be told) was slightly less impressive to guests than making the mound of flour and adding eggs (with tad of olive oil and salt). The chef that taught the class said that it was never necessary to measure, and I never have!