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Fresh pasta - help!

I've begun making fresh pasta. I'm doing pretty good with it, but the pasta that I get has a texture more like egg noodles than like pasta. It's missing the "bite" that pasta typically has, and has the "slippery" noodle-y-ness that you get with egg noodles. Can anyone suggest how to get more pasta-like texture from fresh pasta?

Here's what I do:

3 cups flour / 2 eggs (water if needed)
Knead, fold over itself 4 times through pasta machine
Then thin out

I don't let the dough rest at any point (unless there's time between cutting it and dropping it in water).

Thanks in advance.

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  1. 1 - If you're using only two eggs for three cups of flour, I can only presume you're adding a significant amount of water. Don't use water at all. More egg, less flour. Of course it varies depending on your flour, the eggs and the humidity, but you should be using about 1/2-3/4 C. of flour per large egg... not 1 1/2.

    2 - Knead, knead, knead. How long are you kneading? If it's less than 8-10 minutes, it probably isn't enough.

    3 - Some recommend a rest (tightly wrapped in plastic) between kneading and rolling. I haven't noticed an appreciable difference, but YMMV.

    4 - When you're first starting to roll on the widest setting of the machine, ignore numbers and keep folding (I fold over three times -- right to the middle, left to the middle, roll). Keep going until it's firm and smooooooooooth. Baby skin smooth. Then stretch it out stepping down.

    1. Have you tried using semolina as part of the flour? Something like this recipe:

      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fresh-Se...

      1. We use a combo of AP, durum and semolina and it has the bite you're looking for.

        1. Why are you trying to un-re-invent the wheel? (Or something like that.)

          Fresh pasta and dried pasta are different things. Dried pasta is made with semolina. You'll burn out every appliance you own trying to knead that into proper water-dough, which is how dried pasta is made and you're "supposed to" get that texture. Fresh pasta, with eggs, is indeed "egg noodles" and meant to be that way. If you want the texture of dried pasta, why drive yourself nuts making an inferior version of your own instead of just buying a good quality product in a store? In short, save the fresh pasta for dishes where "it's supposed to taste like that" would be my suggestion...

          2 Replies
          1. re: MikeG

            Absolutely agreed, Mike, but I didn't take from the OP that s/he was looking for dry pasta bite from fresh pasta (I might've misunderstood). You can (and should) get a nice bite from fresh pasta well beyond that of run-of-the-mill packaged egg noodles.

            But Mike is right, binkis, you aren't going to get nearly the kind of bite you get with dry, packaged pasta and you shouldn't try (if that is, indeed, what you were attempting). You don't have the equipment for it and it isn't meant to be that way, anyway.

            1. re: Dmnkly

              I understand what you're saying, but I'm not going for the bite of dried pasta. When I'm at restaurants that make their own homemade pasta, it definitely tastes like pasta, and not like noodles.

              Thanks for your thoughts.

          2. my basic fresh pasta recipe is 100g or 1 cup of soft flour and 1 large egg and a little olive oil. Using the well method combine to form the dough. You may or may not need all the flour, it just depends. When I last made pasta I replaced 1/3 of the soft flour with semolina. Gave it a little more body but not much. Dried pasta is really different. Also don't over cook your fresh pasta. It takes so little time. I aways pull mine before it's done and toss into the "sauce" or other ingredients so it can gain some flavor from the other condiments.

            1. 2 eggs to three cups of flour seems like too few eggs. As you use more egg, the resulting product will be more springy. The springiness is not like dried pasta, though. It is unique to itself. I use one large egg for every two thirds or three quarters cup flour.

              If you are using a lot of water, you are probably getting a more tender product as a result, perhaps more like an Asian noodle.

              6 Replies
              1. re: saltwater

                Yeah more eggs. You can even substitute whole eggs for the same volume of egg yolks

                1. re: saltwater

                  "...If you are using a lot of water, you are probably getting a more tender product as a result, perhaps more like an Asian noodle...."

                  Except for udon noodles ( i know, the name is misleading, but..) which involves very little water, a lot of initial kneading, some subsequent heavy duty kneading and plenty of resting (more than once if you're serious about it). The resting relaxes the dough so you can imagine how tough the dough might be to start. The result is very resilient and chewy, but not hard, noodles. Not sure if it would work with a pasta machine, though.

                  1. re: HLing

                    "Not sure if it would work with a pasta machine..."

                    I've got to try putting a noodle recipe through one without adding an egg one of these days, just to see. I'm inclined to guess it would work. But you wouldn't roll udon very thin, though? Maybe udon would only go through the first two roller settings? You'd have to get the dough flat enough to go through first, though. Perhaps step on it, as I've heard. That just sounds fun.

                    1. re: saltwater

                      i don't know much about pasta machines, only have vague memories of my dad making noodles with one of those hand cranked machines, is that what people use?

                      The way the Japanese use the pastry roller makes machine unnecessary. when i first learned it i was thinking, Hey! Why didn't i think of that?!
                      You're right about stepping on the dough to knead. that's just how hard the dough have to be to be good chewy udon noodles. i don't step on it, but i'm using martial arts knowledge to put my whole weight onto it, sort of like stepping on it, just with my fist and hand..(ok, everyone imagine a hand stand kneading technique...:0 just kidding ). indeed it is fun, and makes the noodles tasten that much better!

                      1. re: HLing

                        Yes, you clamp the machine onto the edge of the kitchen counter so that it won't move, and then the dough is fed between two rollers that squeeze the dough flat. There is a knob to move the rollers closer and closer together. Usually the machine is hand cranked, but you can buy an electric kind.

                        When I was younger (ha! maybe still now), I would have found the noodles very tasty if I got to flatten them by running them over with a car. Fun = Tasty. (I know, you meant that well worked noodles are chewy and thus tasty. I'm just joking.)

                        1. re: saltwater

                          We use flour with eggs and egg yolks . . . that's it. We try to buy farmer's eggs from the local market because their diet of pure vegetable matter produces a richly colored yolk. That color translates to a lovely pasta dough color in the final product. Sometimes I'll knead the dough in our mixer for as many as 20 minutes straight. Of course you'll never get a hard al dente snap, but you can get a nice toothsome texture and mouth feel if you simply knead until the cow's come home. As Thomas Keller mentions in his French Laundry cookbook, "you can't over-knead this dough!"

                          R. Jason Coulston