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Feb 4, 2010 04:42 PM

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.