June 14, 2013

Flour face off: two flours for Fresh Pasta

A while ago I bought some Semolina flour from KAF to try out for fresh pasta. I had made a few batches using part semolina and part all purpose and they turned out nicely. This time however, to gain more experience with the unique characters of each flour I decided to do two batches: one from pure semolina and another from pure all purpose.

For each recipe we used:

  • 200g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp olive oil

Buster helped me measure the ingredients for the two batches.  We mixed them in the Kitchen Aid, then kneaded for about 5 minutes with the bread hook. 

Buster wanted to eat a lot of raw pasta dough.

The two doughs then went into the fridge for a few hours since we had something else we needed to do. The semolina dough was much stiffer, dryer, and yellower in color (semolina on the right below)

In the late afternoon, we set up the kitchen aid for pasta rolling and got to it. First roll, then fold in half, repeat about 20 times at the widest setting. This has the effect of stretching and homogenizing the sheet of pasta, making it smooth and beautiful, and ready for thinning out.

Next, one time through each at progressively narrower openings. I think we took these to setting 5 or 6. Then the cutter was installed and the sheet was cut into noodles. 

Each batch was quickly cooked for a couple minutes in boiling water with salt and oil added 

then drained

We dressed the pasta simply, in order to not mask the innate flavors of the pasta itself. Just some olive oil and salt.

On to the taste testing.

There was actually quite a difference between the pastas. The semolina was very resiliant, with a pronounced sort of al-dente, toothsome texture, and a nice flavor. The all purpose was much softer, to the point of it seeming almost mushy compared to the semolina, but it was more delicate than the semolina. I've made many a batch of pasta from all purpose flour, and it is wonderful and always far better than dry pasta, so it was a a little surprising to experience it this way. 

Both were excellent, but I think perhaps a 50/50 blend could be the best way to combine the good attributes of both flours. 

On another note, I knew the attachment port on the KA was partly broken, but I was hoping the pasta rolling wouldn't put enough torque on it to cause the gearbox to skip. This hope proved unfounded. It didn't make as horrendous a noise as when it broke originally (when grinding einkorn sprouts), but it was clear that it wouldn't be rolling much more pasta before destroying itself. So I've got to figure out a good alternative. I'm thinking a vintage heavy duty handcrank roller, or else I could build a stand to accept the kitchen aid roller but allow it to be cranked manually.

1 comment:

Kiteman said...

Have you seen www.instructables.com? I think you and your family would love it, there are thousands of projects along the same lines as yours, it's free to join, and there's a monthly new readership of about 15 million. You could write up some of your projects there, and include links back to here.

It would be awesome if you joined.