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Fresh pasta dough advice please

Need some quick advice if any pasta makers are out there. I've never made my own pasta, I always buy fresh pasta sheets from my favourite Italian shop, then feed the sheets through my pasta machine & I'm done.

Well for some stupid reason, I thought I'd try making my own fresh pasta as the pasta sheets I buy can get expensive if I need a fair amount for extra dinner guests.

I found and made this recipe as I liked the idea of being able to use my food processor.

http://thesecondpancake.typepad.com/t...

The dough was okay, not great, I did have to mist it a couple of times to soften it up, but other than that, it rolled and cut into spaghetti quite nicely.

My problem now is, the spaghetti strands which were separate as they cut, are now sticking together, and will not come apart without tearing.

I've got the cut spaghetti on a sheet pan sprinkled with flour, as well as the spaghetti sprinkled with flour, and it is covered with press n seal to keep out air.

My question.. is this pasta doomed when it comes time to boil it because of the strands being stuck together? I've never had this problem with the pasta sheets I buy, so don't know the outcome of stuck together fresh spagetti in boiling water.

I do have regular dry spagetti as a back up, but hate to see the 1/2 dozen expensive free range eggs I bought just for this recipe go in the trash.

Any and all advice would be greatly apreciated.

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  1. I'm far from an expert on this, but it seems to me the misting and sealing out the air are some of your problems. Your sheets should be fairly dry and dusted with flour when you cut them, and then you dust the cut spaghetti with flour and either hang to dry or lay out on towels after cutting to dry more -- you would never seal to keep out the air.

    As for being stuck together now -- yeah, I think you're done for. I don't think they'll come apart when you cook them. At least mine never have when they're stuck before cooking. I could be wrong.

    1. Answering my own post. My spaghetti will not separate upon boiling according to the advice I found on peggys pasta.

      http://www.peggyspasta.com/jsp/tips_f...

      She advizes the strands be separated before boiling. Considering the fact I'd need a magician to do that task, packaged dry pasta will be on the menu instead.

      1. Sprinkle some corn meal on the tray, then swirl the fresh cut spaghetti around in it. That helps keep it from sticking. Also, I would NOT cover it in plastic. That makes it sweat, which makes it stick, especially in this weather. (I don't know what "press n seal" is.)

        Let it air out. When do you plan to serve it?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jay F

          I second the corn meal advice. The flour gets wet and becomes like glue but the corn meal will drop off the pasta when it cooks..

          Press n seal is an airtight plastic wrap. It's great for liquids because it seals the top completely, even if it falls over. In this case, it held in all the moisture, which with the extra flour, probably was glue-like on the pasta.

        2. I'd just spread them out and cut them by hand with knife if you really want to save your spaghetti. You might end up with something more like linguini, but that would be better than having them all stuck together in a gluey mass for your guests.

          I have ended up with pasta like yours and I cut it crosswise and cooked it in chicken soup like dumplings. It's not something I'd feed my friends, but it was fine to us. It's a shame to waste all that effort!

          1. If it's really still all that sticky, you could just ball it up, re-roll and re-cut it. This time use plenty of flour so it won't stick. All is not lost. Flour and air are your friends. Press n' seal is your enemy.

            1. I find that when the dough is easily workable in a lump, it is much too sticky to turn into strand pasta like spaghetti or linguine. My method is to continually reflour the dough every time I run it through the rollers to get as much flour into the dough as possible prior to cutting. Worst case scenario, you could run the mashed up spaghetti back through your pasta machine and add some flour.

              3 Replies
              1. re: LaureltQ

                I agree -- it should be fairly resilient, and in the original post, the link's title of "no-knead" made me suspicious. You have to work it to get it right.

                After rolling in my hand-crank pasta machine and cutting, I toss the fettucine or spagetti strands with a little flour and separate them, leaving them to dry for at least a half hour on floured towels.

                1. re: jmckee

                  I've watched Jamie Oliver make his fresh pasta dough on his cooking show (he appears to be in a barn or out building of some sort).
                  his method appears entirely too easy and it's a quick nob of egg&flour in a food processor, blitz it and done. he rolls it out or cuts it and not sure I remember a resting in/on flour. probably has a swap out between commercials, not sure. makes it look so easy though.

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    It really is that easy. The difference is that Jamie weighs the ingredients. When you do it that way, you won't need much extra flour to roll it out, because it's just the right amount of sticky. You can roll it out without a rest.

              2. I have tried cooking stuck-together pasta many times in hopes that it would separate itself. So far, no luck. I second the suggestion that you put it back through the pasta maker, let the sheets dry until tacky, then cut into noodles. In my experience, if you cut when the pasta is too wet, there is no amount of flour that can stop them from sticking together. If you're really in a hurry and don't want to wait for the pasta sheets to dry, you can flour them well and catch the noodles on your arm as they come out so that they never get the chance to stick together. Then straight into boiling water and stir immediately.

                4 Replies
                1. re: jvanderh

                  Thanks to all of you for the valuable advice. I've pretty well done everything wrong, and should have done more research before going ahead with a food project I'm not familiar with.. I followed the recipe I posted in my question to the tee, but it had no instructions as to what to do with the dough, except cover it and let it sit 30 mins before using. The dough itself was not sticky, so I did not use flour when rolling or cutting. I now know thats what I should have done.

                  I also put the cut spaghetti in the fridge, (hoping that might salvage it) and because it was not to be served untill 6 pm this evening. I believe putting it in the fridge was a mistake also, but I was concerned about it sitting in a hot kitchen since the recipe is only flour & eggs.

                  I've tried to separate the spagetti again but have had no luck, so packaged spaghetti it is as I've got other sides I need to finish before my guests arrive. Thanks again for your help, and next time I'll be sure to ask my questions a few days ahead of time!

                  1. re: Joyfull

                    Thought I'd add an update on my stuck together spaghetti. I had decided I'd trash the whole thing & use boxed pasta, but since I still had a bit of time left before my guests arrived, I thought I'd give LaureltQ, acgold7, & jvander's advice and ball up the spagetti and try one last time to salvage it. This time I used flour through every step, a step I did not do on my first try, as my dough was not sticky so did not think I needed flour.

                    The dough was not as giving passing through the machine the second time around, it did tear once or twice, but all in all it still wasn't bad. I let the re-rolled sheets dry for about 15 mins before cutting also. That made a big difference,so many thanks to acgold7 for that suggestion. I did not cut the dough into spaghetti the second time around, as I didn't want to take the chance of the strands sticking together again. The dough was cut into fettuccine, which I might add, ended up being a better choice for the barely cooked fresh tomato basil, garlic sauce I make in the summer.

                    In summary. The pasta was salvagable. I did not have to throw out the dough with the expensive free range eggs I bought especially for the dough. Whew on that one!

                    And.. I received compliments from my guests on the great pasta. (if they only knew!) : )

                    Thanks again everyone!

                    1. re: Joyfull

                      Glad to hear it! Getting successful pasta on your first try is pretty good, even if it did take a little doing :-)

                  2. re: jvanderh

                    just my experience which I'm probably doing too much maneuvering of:
                    when I've put it back through trying to save the pasta, my thoughts are it activates more gluten and the finished product is a tough dough.

                  3. This is a common problem with an egg based pasta recipe (technically, that's called noodle pasta).

                    Try one that uses semonila flour, all-purpose flour and water and you won't have to deal with that problem. :)

                    I made a detailed blog post with a video on how to do it from A to Z at ChristopherCooks dot blogspot dot com.

                    Here's a picture of the pasta I made in the video.

                     
                    1. Where are you getting this stuff?
                      " egg based pasta recipe (technically, that's called macaroni pasta)"
                      Most often larger tubular shapes are referred to as Maccheroni which are made with Eggless Doughs.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: chefj

                        I learned this during multiple extensive trips through Italy and cooking classes in various regions. It's common knowledge amongst Italians, but somehow this knowledge seems to be completely overlooked in cooking schools where English is the primary language.

                        Different parts of Italy are known for different *shapes* of pasta, not different doughs. They use the dough that obviously makes sense for the type of pasta. For example - egg dough would make *horrible* tough tube pasta.

                        Google the history of macaroni and cheese to see how it got to the US. Since it was the first popular pasta dish here, we started calling it macaroni (Maccheroni) because we didn't understand that that was the dough, not the pasta. Now though, people everywhere assume you mean the pasta when you say macaroni.

                        You'll find conflicting information on the internet about it (especially in English speaking web pages) but when in doubt, always go with what Abraham Lincoln posted on the internet because he cannot tell a lie. :)

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaroni

                        1. re: JetLaggedChef

                          Your Citing Wiki?
                          What you are saying is simply not true. Egg Doughs specifically are not referred to as Maccheroni.
                          it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccheroniā€ˇ

                          1. re: chefj

                            I believe you meant to say that the other way around.

                            Either way, I'm not sure that anyone is really that interested in semantics. :) The question that was asked has been answered.

                          2. re: JetLaggedChef

                            I hit recommend Jetlagged simply because I'm getting great enjoyable reading experiences from your posts :)

                        2. I've heard that while you are making pasta you should avoid making it under humid conditions. For example, don't have water boiling while making it. Instead you should wait till you're done before boiling any water. I've also heard flour is a good thing & there is no such thing as using too much when preparing pasta. The press n seal may have worked against you in this particular instance. Not sure if this is true but this is what I was taught... dough with egg as an ingredient is used for noodles. Eggless is for pasta. The egg will cause your end product to swell while cooking. That is desirable for noodles. One would never make something such as macaroni with egg in the dough. I would advise you to search for an egg free recipe on your next attempt at making homemade spaghetti. Don't give up. You'll do much better next time. Before you know it you'll be giving advice on making pasta.

                          1. I run into the same problem often when making fresh pasta dough. it's great off the top but then sticks together and won't separate.
                            I'll read on for my future attempts.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: iL Divo

                              made MB's egg pasta the other day. used it for chicken&noodles, it seemed tough and fat and not tender once cooked. leftover dough ball made into lasagna yesterday and it was phenomenal so I give up

                            2. I've posted this before, but still have yet to find a better "all in one" source for homemade pasta. Details the use of semolina, shows both hand and food processor methods, and at the end shows a nifty coat hanger drying method.
                              http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com/200...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                The flour I used was semolina from the same specialty store I got the Diamond Kosher salt from for those dang pickles that we all tried making via CH. anyway its a 20lb bag and I really quite enjoy this yellowish flour. The dough that I made and used for lasagna was lovely.

                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  Prior to google just telling me that some people say a blend of semolina and 00 flour makes a pretty good pizza dough I was going to say that if I got a 20lb bag I'd have to rewrite my will to divide the remainder amongst my heirs......guess I have another experiment to do someday.

                                  1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                    I was so enthralled by this specialty market I walked around in a daze of giddy excitedness. the semolina 20lber was on an end cap display. although I admit to not knowing the price of semolina per say, apparently I couldn't resist. pretty Italian colorful bag and all+I'm attracted to anything big relating to my kitchen . it does a bang up pizza dough but only if I use Nona's secret recipe.