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Old 09-10-2009, 10:50 AM   #1
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What kind of flour for pasta?

I want to make pasta just for my lasagna. I've got 2 questions:

1) If I'm going to make the pasta and then immediately put it in the lasagna, I shouldn't have to let it dry out, right?

2) What would be a good flour to use if you want high starch, high protein? (I'm into weight lifting). I was thinking of supplementing the flour with spelt since the dough doesn't have to rise and regular wheat has been bred (no pun intended) to be good for bread. Also what about '00' type flour? I saw a video that said to use 1/2 '00' type flour from Italy.


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Old 09-10-2009, 12:55 PM   #2
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Flour for Pasta?

Normally, Semolina flour is used for pasta. It's a coarse, yellow flour from Durum wheat.

Homemade pasta dough is very easy to make by adding 3 eggs, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt to 8 ounces of semolina flour. You can mix and knead by hand, but a Kitchen Aid mixer makes it much easier. The dough is correct when it's thoroughly mixed, but still grainy. It won't develop the elasticity that glutenous flours do when making breads. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Now, the hard part comes in shaping your pasta sheets. I'd recommend getting a hand-crank pasta roller if you're going to make pasta again. Trust me, once you make it once, you'll be excited about the possibilities. If you do have a mixer, there's a pasta attachment available.

The reason I recommend a roller is that it's very difficult to get a thin, consistent sheet by hand. If you insist in doing it by hand, get two "guides" on either side of a rolling pin. I've used the metal bars from a hanging file support frame from your desk drawer. They're about 1/8" flat. This way, the rolling pin never falls below the dowels or metal guide you've used.

The dough needs to be rolled then "book folded", and rolled again. Do this process 5-10 times to increase elasticity of the dough.

Now, roll out your sheets of pasta dough using the hand crank roller, running the dough through on progressively thinner settings. It will tear at first, just press it back together and keep running it until smooth.

Cut your lasagna sheets, make raviolis with a cookie cutter, or cut into strips for fettuccini.

You can add tomato paste or pesto in the original mix to make your dough red or green. Then, you can place red strips of pasta on the green dough, run it back through the press, and you have red/green racing stripes!

If you really want to carb-up, make gnocchi instead. Simmered or baked potatoes with egg and semolina are rolled into a log, then cut into little "pillows".

You can make pasta with higher protein flours than semolina. Try Bread Flour.

Good luck with your pasta, it can be a lot of fun.

Chef Todd Mohr

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Old 09-10-2009, 01:43 PM   #3
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Spelt works well as a substitution and the 3 eggs make the protein level higher. Any flour works, really. Even brown rice flour! Mixing different flours is a nice way too. More complex flavor and texture.
Do let the dough rest before you use it. It makes a huge difference in how it handles.
I have made it many times with a rolling pin but I just bought a vintage pasta machine at Goodwill. $5!!!
(Many pasta machines and bread machines show up second hand)

Also, for lasagna, drying the pasta is not needed. You can use it right away.
If you have leftovers, dry the sheets and freeze in plastic bag.
You don't have to defrost the pasta before using it. Once the water is boiling and you add the pasta, it separates.

ChefToddMohr, I love your ideas with the striped pasta! Must try that.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:55 PM   #4
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I'm not a pasta making aficionado, having only done it twice, but I do know NOT to use self-rising flour, so NO, you should not use just any old flour. I agree with ChefToddMohr - use semolina.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:36 PM   #5
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My husband has been making pasta for years ... oh, make that decades. He uses plain old unbleached flour. Believe it or not, he prefers to use egg-beaters to whole eggs because the outcome is more consistent (although he'll use whole eggs, too, the egg-beaters just make it more consistent). He doesn't make lasagna pasta that often (well, partially because there are only two of us and I make lasagna every year or three), but spaghetti and linguini, etc, he makes for me quite often. I'm the sauce queen. So it works. We've experimented over the years with whole meal flours, spinach flour, I think one time we used an ostrich egg. But egg beaters and regular old flour do the trick for us.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:48 PM   #6
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I like to make gnocchi with ricotta instead of potatoes. Just add flour and eggs to make a dough and proceed as usual.
I use a hand-cranked pasta machine when making pasta, and have found that I don't really like to go all the way to 7 (I think that's the highest number), it is just too thin for my taste. I've used Bob's Red Mill semolina, as well as regular flour, bleached and unbleached, whatever is handy at the time.

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Old 10-07-2009, 12:48 PM   #7
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I love my vintage hand-cranking pasta maker. Babyblue!
I must agree with Claire and Wyogal. I have tried all kinds of flours and knowing they will do some self-raising I make my pasta sheet thinner than I want them and that way the are perfect when done.

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