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Problems with Homemade Pasta

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All,

I bought myself one of those nifty $30 pasta machines at Bed & Bath on black friday, and I figured that I'd give it a shot. I'm stuck making the dough, and I'd love a bit of help.

I'm using the 2C AP flour, 2Eggs well method as has been recommended to me. I make the well, put in the beaten eggs, and stir it up slowly incorporating the sides as I go. I get a dough that's really loose (like threats of old clothes), which I then pull together with my hands and then put out on a board to kneed. The dough goes from loose to stiff as a board in about three kneeds, and at that point i can barely work it. I'm sure I've missed something here--any ideas what it could be?

Thanks!

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  1. Just sounds like you need to add a little more moisture, whether its an egg yolk our a couple tablespoons of water. Recipes for pasta dough are not exact because different bags of even the same AP flour may have absorbed different amounts of moisture from the air.

    But, if your dough is stiff, it always means you need a little more moisture. Also, once you've kneaded it for 15 minutes or so, you want to let it rest for a while before you roll it out and cut it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dwagner6

      Do not use all 2 cups of flour at once. Omit 1/2 cup to begin and add to the dough as needed as dwagner said your dough sounds like it lacks moisture.

      1. re: KTinNYC

        another thing is that measuring flour by weight is better than volume as it can vary significantly depending on how it's packed. 100g flour to 1 large egg is my rule but you have to go by feel as well.

    2. Here's a short video clip from our own Chow, with Laura Schenone making homemade pasta. She is the author of the wonderful The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken. In her travels through Italy searching for an authentic ravioli recipe, she gets a tip to add a bit of olive oil to the dough. Anyway, good luck!

      http://www.chow.com/stories/10881

      1. I use 11oz flour to 3 eggs You need more egg. Only incorporate as much flour as the eggs need. Eggs vary in size, and the moisture in the air varies so there is no way for exact measurements. After kneading the dough must rest for at least 20 minutes. The rest will make a big difference.

        1. Here is the formula that I like to use:

          Fresh Pasta
          1-1/2 cups semolina flour
          1 cup all-purpose flour
          4 eggs
          2 tablespoons olive oil
          1 teaspoon salt

          I do not use any water. However, should your mixture be too stiff, don't hesitate to add a bit of water.

          I do not use any water, and I let my pasta machine do the kneading. I start out kneading by hand, but about mid-way I start feeding the dough through the machine's widest width rollers to finish. Then you can start narrowing to make the sheets of dough the desired thickness; and then through the cutters.

          If you can get your hands on a copy of Bon Appetit, May, 1982 has a wonderful article on making pasta: PASTA MADE PERFECT - Delicious Hand-shaped Pasta from One Versatile Dough

          1. The recipe you mentioned is what is known as "poor man's" pasta because of few eggs. I find it is best for lasagna or ravioli with the addition of 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of water, in the well, along with the eggs. No salt. (But be sure to salt your cooking water.) For pasta that you make into strands or unstuffed pieces, you are better off with a richer dough that has more egg yolks. Try 5 cups of "00" flour (soft wheat, sieved extra fine) with 12 egg yolks. fayefood.com

            1. I use 1 1/2 cups flour to 2 eggs (sometimes, double it: 3 cups flour, 4 eggs.) I've been using half unbleached all purpose and half 00. bit of olive oil, salt. As I knead, add a little flour if it's too sticky. You want to be able to knead it w/out being sticky. Knead about 10 min, wrap in plastic wrap 30 min to an hour. (I leave it on counter while it rests.)

              I love the 3 piece pasta making attachment for the Kitchenaid. Wish I'd gotten it long ago, need to find someone to give my hand cranked one to.

              5 Replies
              1. re: walker

                too sticky is usu. my problem.

                OP::you have a lot of responses, but the key thing to remember is that temperature and humidity play into this, and pasta dough is fairly forgiving.

                too sticky - more flour and reknead, too clumpy - some fluid and reknead. and send through the mill again.

                what works in November may not work in April. keep trying until you feel the texture that works.

                a drying (keeping really) rack helps, but you can improvise that out of all sorts of things.

                don't fear the flour.

                1. re: hill food

                  Thanks to all of you guys--I think that the eggs were the problem indeed. I've futzed around a bit, and I think that I've gotten the hang of it. The video up there worked well, and there's a recipie in the cooks illustrated (2C flour, 3 eggs beaten in a food processor, then adjust with water/flour) also worked well tonight. Thanks again!

                  1. re: pastaguy

                    Is that all there is to it in the food processor? I may try that. I'm tired of cooking but want fresh tagliatelli for dinner tonight. Thanks

                    1. re: pastaguy

                      You're still better off weighing the flour. It's more consistent.

                    2. re: hill food

                      My improvision for hanging pasta: clothing hangers (cleaned of course) hanging from door knobs.