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Feb 25, 2008 05:50 AM

Pasta question

I was taught to make pasta breaking the eggs in the hole in the flour then scrambling. Then adding a little olive oil and water or flour as needed.

Why can't I first of all use a bowl. Also what is wrong with scrambling the eggs before putting them in the flour hole,. Most techniques have there practical practices rooted in reason. I think adding unscrambled eggs to eggs on bread board is mostly tradition. Maybe there is something I am missing that adds to the quality of the final product. Am I missing something.

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  1. First of all, I see no reason why you can't beat the eggs first before adding to the flour well (hole in the flour). As to using a bowl instead of working on a wood cutting board, I would think the bowl is more restricting size-wise. With a board, you have more area for your flour and the ability for a larger diameter well, making it easier to incorporate the flour into the egg. I make homemade pasta all the time, and I would feel "handcuffed" by trying to make it in a bowl. Since you would have to turn the dough out onto the counter to knead it anyway, I don't know why you would want to use the bowl, it's just one more thing that would have to be washed. Forget the bowl idea, all the old Italian nonna's knew what they were doing.

    1. When using the well method on a board you have the advantage of pulling in small amounts of flour a litte bit at a time until you reach the point that you feel the dough has the right feel and can continue to knead. In a bowl, it would be more difficult to do this. Even though you know 100g flour/egg is the standard ratio the amount of flour will depend on say day to day humidity or the size of the egg. The same holds true when you use a food processor. You have less control over the correct texture of the dough because you can't feel it and have to rely on a basic ratio or recipe. It will work either way but one is more hands on and to the trained hands it's all in the feel of the dough.

      1. I almost always use a bowl, and my pasta is fine. So, go for the bowl. I use one because I send little crumbs everywhere without one, and I often have zero space to work. It just keeps things neater. Of course, once my crumbs are under control, usually I knead in some tiny location, assuming space is there. Yes, someone might suggest I use a food processor, but my pasta never has perfect texture that way. It seems to be too dry or too this or too that. I do better touching the dough as I go. The bowl is easier to clean than the food processor, too.

        I always beat the eggs in the flour well. I've noticed that as I beat them, they get a little flour mixed in, so that by the time I start to incorporate them into the whole, they already are different from how they would be if I had mixed them in a separate bowl. I have no idea if this matters a lick. Probably not, but it might help with incorporation of the egg. I dunno. I'd just try doing them in a separate bowl and see. Have fun experimenting!

        1. I think the most important factor is -you-, the pasta maker. Whatever works best for you is just what you do. If you have the space and are more comfortable with it, then use the traditional egg-in-well method. If your kitchen doesn't have enough counter/table space, then by all means use the bowl. As long as you can get a good feel for the dough, I don't suppose there's a noticeable difference.

          Regarding what saltwater said above--"have fun experimenting"--isn't that the true spirit of cooking: adapting what you -know- to what you -have-.

          1. I started making pasta back in Dec and have been making it once a week. I haven't mastered the egg/well method without making a huge mess on my cart(I make my pasta on my butcher blok cart) I start it in a bowl...I use a bowl much bigger than the amount of flour I'm using...make a well and put the scrambled eggs in it...then slowly incorporate some flour.

            Once it starts looking like a dough I turn it out board and knead...adding more flour until I like the feel of the dough and then kneading from there about 8 minutes.

            Turns out great.