Homemade pasta makers - looking for a metaphor/simile for dough consistency...
Well, this will be one of my weirder posts.
I'm off this week for my birthday, and am taking that time to work through a long held task of documenting various pasta shapes/doughs/etc., to go in a blog I've been sitting on for three years.
I'm writing about pasta dough. When I hit a recipe that calls for X amount of flour, Y amount of eggs, and then if the *dough is dry* add Z amount of water...I cringe. Sometimes the eggs don't take up all of the flour that I'm using, and therefore, I toss the extra. At other times, I actually need to add a bit of flour.
I'm looking for a description of *how the dough should feel*, and at that point, they should stop trying to add flour to it. The best I can come up with so far is Play-Dough...vaguely, vaguely sticky, but not actually sticky. I told a friend of mine, "Until it's not sticky", and she added flour and flour until she ended up with some really leaden dough.
(Minor rant: Flours vary. Eggs vary. Moisture content in eggs varies not only by the size of the egg, but according to the age of the egg. Moisture content of flour varies according to when/where you got the flour (more or less humid climate), and the average moisture content of where you live and how long you've had the flour hanging around. There's no way you can specify X amount of flour and Y amount of eggs, and get a consistent product. So recipes that say that and then suggest you amend them by adding water, drive me crazy. End of rant.)
Anyway...if you make lots of pasta by hand, what's the perfect texture for you? Since that also varies according to the type of dough/pasta, I guess I'll specify a general AP + Semolina mix, or all AP mix.
Hot water doughs like I use for Chinese noodles, are a different thing, of course. I've also got some 00 flour coming in next week, and I'm sure that will have its own rules, as well.
Hi Cady, I agree with the Playdough analogy, though I think you could compare it also to the perfect pie dough for those who make pies. I also think getting the perfect consistency is harder with hand made pasta, which is why I switched to using the food processor. There, I can add a little more flour, or water, or olive oil to get the right texture. I roll it in a machine and generally cut by hand and I do think people would be hard pressed to know whether the dough came from a FP or hands. The FP is so much more forgiving.
Pie dough would be another good one, yes! They are both still slightly...Hmm. Tacky? Without being sticky.
I'd use a food processor if I had one. Someone gave us one a year ago, and I used it a few times, but it died after the third time of creating bread dough from biga. Some day, I'll get another one.
I don't think there's a thing at ALL wrong with doing it with a food processor, though I know others might disagree. Heck, the way I do a lot of pasta dough - not kneading it, for example, if it's just fettuccine...let the Atlas do that - would get a lot of people's hackles up.
And while I love my mom's/grandmother's homemade egg noodles for chicken and noodles, I get the dough ready for a last roll, and then cutting, using the first setting on my pasta machine. I still get the same rustic texture, but with a LOT less work.
Pie dough, Playdough, slightly tacky OK, but not sticky.
lol. That's the best I've come up with so far, so far as consistency and stickiness. While I don't have kids, I do remember how Playdough felt. I'm trying to find something more generic, for others who don't have kids, and also DON'T remember what Playdough feels like. My husband says, "Just tell them to go to the dollar store and buy a can of Playdough.