Pasta Dough in a Kitchenaid Mixer?
I am new to Pasta making and have been experimenting to ways of actually mixing my pasta dough. I thought that would be the easy part and the hard part would be the rolling. However, I have actually been having a hard time optimizing the mixing of the dough either by hand or with my mixer (ideally).
How do you make your dough? Any tips for making it?
MaggieMuffin, I am fairly new to making fresh pasta but have had pretty spectacular results. I mix by hand - which is really quite fun - and then let my Kitchenaid do the rest. I use a combination of two recipes, one I learned from Judy Wicks of Divina Cucina in Florence, Italy and one from the Mario Batali cookbook that came out last Spring (Molto Mario?). Here's the link to Judy's web page; she does have a reasonable number of recipes there, tho' I'm not entirely sure her pasta recipe is there, but I use her method more than the proportions - http://divinacucina.com/code/classes.... . If her recipe for pasta is not on the web page then use Mario's, it's never failed for me. Here are some thing's I've either learned or discovered through my trial and error pasta making attempts
1) Italian's use 00 flour, in the U.S. use cake flour, it's a pretty good substitute
2) Don't be intimidated to make it by hand. Getting your hands into the dough helps you learn, by feeling, the changes that happen in the dough as it goes from raw product to ready to roll.
3) Kneading for the full time (without the recipe(s) in front of me 10 mintues kneading time seems to stick in my mind). You don't have to be a wiz at kneading, it's mostly the action of pushing, turning, folding, pushing, turning, folding, etc that counts. As you get closer to the end of the kneading time the dough will have changed and become much more elastic and smooth. It's a very tactil process, you *will* feel the changes.
4) Let the dough rest covered for at least 30 mintues to relax the gluten which will make it easier to roll.
5) Cut the dough into quarters and only work with 1 quarter at a time.
6) Use the widest setting for the Kitchenaid roller attachment and put the first quarter through. Fold and put the dough through again. Fold and repeat until the dough has gone through the roller 5 times on the first setting. You may need to lightly dust the dough if it's sticky and wants to tear.
7) Click the roller setting down a notch and do the fold and feed through the roller thing 4 times on this setting.
8) Click the roller setting down another notch and repeat the fold and feed routine 3 times on this setting.
9) Click down on more notch and feed the dough through 2 times. You can click down to the last setting, but it's been my experience with my Kitchenaid pasta attachment that I end up with pasta sheets that are a little too sheer for my taste, so I just stop at the next to last setting. You may want to experiment around and see what works best for you and the type of pasta you want to produce.
10) Once you've gotten the pasta sheet to the thickness you want, cut it by hand or pasta attachment and then move on to the next dough ball.
Play around with your pasta attachment and recipes. Eggs and flour are relatively inexpensive, if you fail, try again. Pasta making is a great excuse to play with your food :-) That was kind of the attitude I adopted when I started and I was pleasantly surprised with how few failures I had and how easy it really was. Good luck, I really like the Kitchenaid pasta attachment it sure made making fresh pasta a snap.
I think another great book for pasta is Lidia's Family Table. I love the poor man's pasta recipe with 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons of water and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I find the better the oil, the better the pasta. I also love fresh pasta in lasagna. It transforms what can resemble library paste into food of the gods.
I use my food processor to make pasta dough. It's fast and easy. I looked in on KA forums a few times and there were many complaints that the mixer did a poor job of mixing pasta dough and in a couple of cases, people had burnt out the motors trying to get the dough right. That's because good pasta dough is incredibly hard and unyielding. I used to mix this for my mother when I was a small child and I have vivid memories of standing on a chair to get enough leverage to knead the dough. When I gave her a processor, the first thing I showed her was how to make the dough (for Chinese noodles but it's the same as pasta) and she took to it immediately.
The only ingredients I use are eggs, flour (all-purpose) and a bit of salt. I don't measure, unfortunately, because I go by feel but for each egg you'll use about 3/4 cup flour. I start with the eggs and salt in the processor bowl and add enough flour to make a fairly soggy, messy dough. Then I add flour by half-cupfuls, occasionally scraping down the sides so the new flour is incorporated. The dough will often form a ball riding along the top of the blade. Break this up into smaller pieces and continue to add flour. The point at which it's done is when you get a cloud of small particles flying around the bowl. When you squeeze the bits, it will just cohere. If it's at all sticky, there isn't enough flour. Turn the whole lot out onto a board, squeeze it all into one ball and leave it for at least 30 minutes.
When you roll it out in the pasta roller (I assume you're using a machine and not by hand), pass it through as FEW times as possible. I know this is contrary to what many say. Each pass through the rollers compresses the dough more and makes it dense and heavy which is not what pasta should be. For a thin sheet I probably roll it three times at most. If I can get away with doing it twice, I'll do it. For a thicker pasta like pappardelle, two rollings will be fine. The dough should feel dry, firm and flexible. You need only a little flour to dust because it's not sticky.
Good luck. Homemade pasta ia a wonderful food.
Are you talking about the plastic dough blade which goes into the processor? I haven't used it in the 25+ years I've owned a processor. I use the steel blade. If you mean the dough hook for the KA mixer, I don't use the mixer at all for making dough. As I said in my very long, rambling post, I don't think it does a good job with pasta.
I've only dried pasta a few times. I usually form it into loose nests, dusted with lots of cornstarch (NOT flour) which is standard with most Chinese egg noodles. Then I let it dry before putting it into ziploc bags. I've tried drying it over a broomstick and it was a messy disaster of broken noodles. I prefer to parcook the pasta that won't be eaten soon - by parcook I mean barely boiled. Then I toss it with a fair amount of oil to keep it from clumping, and freeze it in ziploc bags.
The frozen stuff is handy if I'm really rushed for time or have a big crowd coming. But between the processor and the KA pasta roller I can have freshly made pasta for 2-4 people in about 15 minutes.
I just tried making pasta dough with my KA standmixer (just mixing an kneading using the hook), I have a separate pasta roller). I haven't made it in about four years, so was pretty rusty. The dough did not come together at all in the mixer, it was pretty disappointing. I ended up doing it by hand, and the dough came out pretty tough.
I'll throw in my own tips, which aren't specifically about mixing the pasta. I don't have too much trouble mixing it in the mixer.
I found semolina dough much easier to work with, so I almost always make that instead of plain flour. One of the most important things for me is to not let the dough dry out after mixing--when it's resting before you roll it, cover it with plastic wrap, and when you divide it for rolling out, keep the portion that you aren't using covered.