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Help with homemade pasta dough!

My son bought me the pasta attachments for my KA stand mixer. (Such a nice boy!)

Anyway, I tried to follow the recipe that came with the booklet and the dough was dry and crumbly. I couldn't even run it through the rollers without it shredding and breaking apart.

Next, went online and realized I may have added too much flour - even though I followed that recipe in the booklet. So, less flour. Still shredding when it goes through the roller.

I'm about to give up, but I don't want to hurt my son's feelings.

Why does the pasta in Peter Pasta YouTube vids, and on cooking shows, look so golden and supple?

Is there a secret?

So sad, since you can see my moniker is breadchick. I rock with yeasty artisan breads, etc., so I thought maybe I didn't give it enough kneading to develop the gluten. Then, it was too tough.

Should I just stick to bread? Maybe just practice - like breadmaking? Thanks in advance for any help.

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  1. Is this the recipe you used?


    If not, do you mind posting? Wondering about what kind of flour you used, size of eggs, egg/flour ratio, etc....

    1. If it is dry, too much flour is probably the cause. Without knowing what the proportion of flour to egg, it is difficult to know for sure. Here is Marcella Hazan's proportion from her first book. It should work with your KitchenAid attachment
      2 "large" eggs for 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Might need a light dusting of flour as you roll from thick to thin. When you cut the sheets, make sure to toss the strands with more flour.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF

        Breadchick: PBSF above listed Marcella Hazan's recipe -- it has always worked well for me. If it's sticky, I just add a bit more flour. Knead it for 10 minutes, wrap in plastic wrap, leave on counter 45 min - 1 hour. I LOVE my kitchenaid attachment.

        Once, (I don't know why) I tried Alton Brown's recipe and it crumbled and I had to throw it out. Hazan does not add any water or olive oil.

        Practice makes perfect. I'm glad I have her book "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking."

      2. Recipes are a good starting point, but with a little experience you will be able to tell when the pasta dough is right. This time it sounds like you just needed a bit more water. Next time you might need to add a little more flour. I also use a stand mixer for pasta dough and find it doesn't quite get the gluten developed enough (it just doesn't have that nice silky texture). To fix that you can either kneed it by hand a bit, or let the pasta rollers do the job. Set the rollers on the widest setting, run the dough through, then fold by thirds and run it through again. Repeat as needed (2 or 3 times is usually enough).

        It's just like making bread. Sometimes you follow a recipe but you know the dough just isn't right and you need to adjust it.

        ps - one good tip I've seen in several recipes is to hold back a tablespoon or two of flour and only add it to the mixer at the end if the dough seems a bit damp. The dough should be dry to the touch, but not at all flaky or lumpy. And if it's too wet and sticks to the rollers you can usually save it by dusting with flour each time you roll it.

        1. Don't give up!

          Don't over-do the "add more water if the dough seem dry" bit. In the beginning stage the dough is supposed to seem too dry (which is just the opposite of a bread dough). It needs to be covered with a damp towel and rest. If it's nice and pliable right at the start, after resting it's going to be a sticky mess when you roll them out.

          It might be easier to hand mix it initially: you can drizzle the fluid gradually and mix quickly, or dip your hands in the liquid, then pat the flour to get it all just damp. Even distribution of just the right amount of liquid is the key in Noodle dough. After that it's about resting it.

          It also helps to have a sense of a workable portion for kneading and for cutting/running through the machine.

          Anyhow, hope that helps!

          1. I make hundreds of pounds of pasta dough a year and the key is forget the recipe. Disconnect from your breadmaking idea which is more science and exacting measures. The way we do it is simple and foolproof. The key is add the eggs to the bowl, a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Use the hook or the paddle and mix the eggs. With the hook in place and the machine running on 1 or 2 just begin adding flour in 1/2 cup or cup increments and let the flour incorporate. Keep adding flour slowly until the hook forms a ball and basically cleans the bottom of the bowl. You want the dough to be a little tight. After the ball forms you can knead it with the hook or dump it on a floured work surface and knead it by hand which we do until it feels smooth. Wrap it in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so or overnight.

            12 eggs will yield a 3 to 3 1/2 pound dough ball.

            1. I think you're overthinking this. Too dry, add some more water until it's not. Too sticky add some more flour. This is not baking.

              1. I really love Lidia Bastianch's recipes for pasta, from her book Lidia's Family Table. I haven't tried the Rich Man's pasta b/c I don't want to use 9 (!) egg yolks for 2 cups of flour. I like these 2 options:

                Middle Class Pasta- 2 cups ap flour, 1 egg yolk, 3 large whole eggs, 2 T olive oil.

                Poor Man's Pasta- 2 cups ap flour, 2 large whole eggs, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 T water.

                In either case: sift the flour to loosen it up & aerate. combine the wet ingredients separately & add to the flour. stir with a fork until just combined. begin to knead the dough in the bowl & then dump onto a lightly floured surface. Continue to knead until soft & smooth, 2-3 minutes. The dough should be stretchy. Tightly cover ball with plastic, flatten into a disc & let rest about 30 minutes.

                Follow your attachment instructions. The pasta cooks very quickly when fresh- when I make linguini, it literally cooks in 30 seconds, so make sure your sauce is ready for receiving it into the pan!

                Enjoy & stick with it! No pun intended :)

                1. A sincere thanks to all for your advice. I will not give up, but will take all of your suggestions and keep at it. I think part of the problem was that I always hear about "tender" pasta. Which, to me, means not much gluten development. I didn't knead it as much as many of you here. I was using was one large egg for every one cup of flour, pinch of salt. No water, no oil. I can picture each of your ideas in my mind and that's a big help.

                  I make a mean bolognese sauce, so I'm very motivated to get the pasta right!

                  Thanks again!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: breadchick

                    Breadchick- The first time I made pasta dough was with the Peter Pasta guy. I typed pasta kitchen aid, and up he comes. Figuring it couldn't b too bad since he had their loga all over everything- he must know what he is talking about- I followd his recipe.

                    It was SO dry and tough, adding more water did nothing. Bad pasta, IMO.
                    I use 10 oz. flour 3-4 eggs. Done, perfect, tender pasta every time.

                  2. welcome to step one. we have all been there. Jfood has never met a pasta recipe that created the dough he was looking for, even Hazan.

                    The dough has a certain feel to it when you start kneeding. A few drops, yes DROPS, of water really changes the dough, add VERY slowly and work into the dough.

                    Jfood then lets the dough rest in the fridge for an hour. It lets the dough relax. Then he takes out of the fridge and lets it sit on the counter for an hour. Then he starts the rolling.

                    Once you get the hang of it you will find it is waaaaaaaay easier than bread.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jfood

                      Really? Even Marcella's recipe? Simplicity itself. 2 cups AP flour (I use 1&1/2 c. AP and 1/2 c. semolina) and 3 eggs. Basta! No water (Unless dough is really crumbly looking, and then by drops or sprays from a mister...) No salt, No oil. Marcella doesn't even believe fresh pasta should even SEE the inside of a fridge. Let it rest 30-60 minutes and then begin thinning by degrees. Never had a bad batch. My latest trick is 1 c. AP flour, 1/2 c. bread flour and 1/2 c. semolina. Makes a "toothier" noodle. adam

                      1. re: adamshoe

                        Head hung in shame but yes even Marcella needed a little tweeking the last few times. It has to do with the size of the eggs and the compression of the flour. Just one of thos things.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I agree that Marcella Hazan proportion may need some tweaking depending on which books one uses. I've used the one from her first book: 2 eggs (not specified but I've used "large") to 1 1/2 cups AP flour and seems to be about right. Later books:
                          More Classic Italian Cooking and Essentials, 2 large eggs, about 1 cup flour, maybe a little more
                          Marcella's Italian Kitchen, 3 large eggs to about 2 cups flour
                          She seems to change her mind often. It does cause some problems and confusion.

                    2. It's a little like pie dough, you have to add the water by drops & dribbles, not teaspoons. I only make fresh spinach pasta dough now, so I usually have a wet enough dough. But it is just a ratio of wet to dry.

                      1. I find that adding some semolina flour really helps with the consistency. And let it rest before you try rolling it.

                        1. Okay gang - I'm giving it another shot today. I blended one cup of A/P flour with 1/2 cup of durhum flour and a dash of salt. Added it - bit by bit - to 2 large eggs plus an extra egg yolk for richness. Not so crumbly this time, and I did bear in mind that it really needs to be kneaded. Started it in the stand mixer and finished by a good 10 minutes of hand kneading.

                          Let me tell you - that was a real workout compared to kneading bread dough!

                          It is golden and firm. It's been in the fridge for over two hours and I'll take it out 1/2 hour or so before I need to roll it.. I'm making ravioli (don't have that fancy attachment, however!) I'll remember to dust w/flour before rolling.

                          I will keep you all posted. Thanks again!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: breadchick

                            remember to get all the air out of the ravioli and use a little water on the edges to seal them shut completely. good luck

                            1. re: breadchick

                              Yes, it's a great arm workout, and that one of the reason why those Italian grandmothers were strong as oxen!!

                            2. Breadchick- how did the ravioli making go? I just stumbled upon this post and I'd like to know if it worked out for you!!!