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Old 08-08-2010, 12:13 PM   #1
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Tearing Pasta

Hi,

I have a question about making pasta.

I recently tried to make pasta and split the dough into two parts. Every time I put one of them through the (hand cranked) pasta machine, starting of course with the widest setting, it tore. I folded it over several times trying to stop it from tearing but couldn't.

The funny thing is that when I tried it with the second portion of the dough it tore a little but ended up fine...my question is why? I should also mention that the second lot, although it didn't tear, it was quite heavy and didn't have the right texture, being....well kind of gluggy but solid...I don't know how to describe it. :)

What would make pasta tear when you try to thin it out to be cut? And how can I avoid this next time?

Thanks for the help,
Alanna.

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Old 08-08-2010, 02:26 PM   #2
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Hello icekat83,
I have copied this section from my cookbook. I hope it answers your question:
Technique for making ravioli


Please do not let the length of the instructions discourage you from trying. Remember that once you have prepared the ravioli you can keep them frozen for a long time.
Preparation
- Make a fresh batch of egg pasta (page 134) or take a batch of pasta out of the refrigerator. Keep it wrapped until ready to use. Also, make a batch of stuffing.
Step 1. Get familiar with your pasta machine. Some machines have a separate noodle attachment and some have the noodle attachment as one whole piece.
-Set up the pasta machine on largest setting (# 1), that is the setting that will produce the thickest pasta strip. The higher the number, the thinner the pasta will be.
Some pasta machines go up to # 9 and some to # 7. Whatever settings you use, try to roll out the thinnest possible strip; usually the next to last setting is best. If you are using a motor in place of the handle, you do not need to secure the machine with the clamp, but you need to keep the noodle attachment in place; it gives the machine better stability.
Step 2 Generously flour your table/surface.
Cut about or 1/3 from your batch of pasta; flatten it to a thickness of about inch (using a rolling pin). Rub flour on to it and dust off excess. Set the knob of the pasta machine at number one and roll the flattened pasta piece. Place the pasta strip on your counter, rub additional flour into it and turn the knob to number two. Re-roll the pasta strip, continuing to turn the knob to higher numbers and rubbing additional flour into the pasta as needed to achieve a thin pasta strip. If it starts getting sticky, lay the strips on your surface and run your fingers under the rollers to remove the sticky particles. Rub more flour into your pasta strips, and run it again. Repeat until the pasta no longer sticks to the rollers. The pasta machine will allow rolling out pasta to a maximum width of about 5 inches. You may get the strips of pasta slightly narrower; that is fine as long as they are not less than 31/2 wide. Continue to the next to the last setting. At this point you may have several strips of pasta lying on your working top ready for the final assembly. The length of the pasta can vary. Beginners can start with shorter, more manageable strips. Remember to keep the work surface fully floured to prevent the pasta from sticking. Do not flour the pasta surface facing you.
Step 3 -Remove filling from refrigerator and start laying one teaspoon of filling in the middle of the pasta strips about one inch apart.
Fold over, and seal the space in between by pressing with your index and middle fingers. Then seal the front. Trim with ravioli wheel. Place ravioli on a rack or plastic tray and freeze immediately.
Notes:
1) Keep pasta trimmings wrapped in plastic, separate from the fresh batch. Once all the fresh pasta has been used up, use all the trimmings and roll more pasta strips. Repeat putting all the scraps of pasta together and pulling more strips until there is no more pasta or no more filling.
Sometimes the pasta strips dry out and it becomes almost impossible to seal them. In this case, you might want to use a squirt bottle and very gently spray some water on the strips.
2) Start out with short strips of pasta, until you get experience and speed. Again, if the rollers of the pasta machine get sticky, simply rub your fingers underneath the rollers, removing the little particles attached to the rollers. Most pasta machine makers will provide instructions how to maintain and clean it.
Step 4 -Once the ravioli are well frozen, pack them in zip-lock bags until ready to use. When needed, start a pot of boiling water, add a cube of bouillon or a little meat stock and boil gently until they become lighter in color and come up to the surface (about 6 to 8 minutes). It is best to use a wide casserole. Remove with a large slotted spoon onto a serving platter.
My personal preference is to use the brown butter sauce ( page 140) . Other sauces will also do.
The true pride of ravioli making is that you should be able to see the filling through the egg pasta once it is cooked. With time and practice, you will be able to roll out paper-thin pasta with no effort at all.
Here are a few tips that will help you to work with fresh pasta.
If your pasta keeps tearing when you run it through the pasta machine, you need to keep rubbing more flour into the flattened dough, before you fold it and then flatten the piece with a rolling pin and dust it again with flour., and shake off excess flour. If your kitchen is very dry, you will have to work fast to avoid drying out of the pasta. However if you are a novice at pasta making, speed is not the best option. I recommend using smaller quantities of pasta and help to moisturize the air by having a pot of hot water simmering on the stovetop. Another option is to have a squirt water bottle handy and just before you fold the pasta over, very quickly give it a squirt. It is most important that the edges are well sealed; otherwise, the ravioli will open when you cook them. If your kitchen is very humid, aim a fan directly at your working table, during the pasta preparation.
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icekat83 View Post
Hi,

I have a question about making pasta.

I recently tried to make pasta and split the dough into two parts. Every time I put one of them through the (hand cranked) pasta machine, starting of course with the widest setting, it tore. I folded it over several times trying to stop it from tearing but couldn't.

The funny thing is that when I tried it with the second portion of the dough it tore a little but ended up fine...my question is why? I should also mention that the second lot, although it didn't tear, it was quite heavy and didn't have the right texture, being....well kind of gluggy but solid...I don't know how to describe it. :)

What would make pasta tear when you try to thin it out to be cut? And how can I avoid this next time?

Thanks for the help,
Alanna.
Alanna,
I juat made pasta last weekend, I dusted every thing with a fine rice flouer.Messy but it worked I made a lb of pasta cutting it in so small pieces
take the piece of dough open the rollers as wide as they go, put the pasta through fold it over several times to get the shape you want. add a little of rice flour and start rolling it if still to dry add to machine a drop or so of water and then try rolling it out. next put it through at least 5 to 6 times on the first opening now after you get the shape you like go to the 2nd mark roll once only on 2,3,,4 , 5 til you have it as thick as you prefef.You can get the dough up to 9 but it gets pretty thin Now put it through the back using the cutting rollers feed it slowely I let if fall over my hand to keep it straight. when done make a circle nest on parchment paper on a sheet pan, Flash freeze and then put in baggies. Do not defrost til your water is boiling. Enjoy sorry this was a mess. If still not clear let me know and i'll try to make it more clear.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:19 PM   #4
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Uh - Kadesma - I'd love to try your recipe, because I have fresh pasta dough problems too, but frankly I can't really follow your advice the way you've posted it. Don't know if you're having keyboard problems or what.

Can you please re-post when things are more stable? Thanks! :)
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Uh - Kadesma - I'd love to try your recipe, because I have fresh pasta dough problems too, but frankly I can't really follow your advice the way you've posted it. Don't know if you're having keyboard problems or what.

Can you please re-post when things are more stable? Thanks! :)
Sorry have an old keyboard that is the pits. let me know if the above is better. If not I'll try again.kadesma
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:41 AM   #6
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That's a lot clearer - thanks!!
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
That's a lot clearer - thanks!!
I usually try to check my posts this time I didn't. We had the pasta yesterday with a plain browned butter sauce with mushrooms. It was so good.Now I get to make another lb. of it. It makes a mess but tis time I'll be working over a large old table cloth of my mothers, and it won't get scattered all over. Glad you told me I'd made a mess with directions.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:55 AM   #8
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Alanna, I just reread your post and realized you asked a very specific question: "what makes pasta tear up when you try to thin it out".
There are three things that make pasta tear up:
1) your dough is too soft
2) your dough is too dry
3) your dough is too thick (you should also flatten the dough before feeding into the rollers, with the help of a rolling pin)
You also mentioned that the second batch was easier to handle than the first. Was the second batch left uncovered while you were working on the first one? If the answer is yes, that means that the room temperature of your working area solved the problem for you.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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Hey,

Wow guys, thank you for all the replies. I suspect that zfranca got it right...I probably did leave the second lot of dough uncovered (I was annoyed so it's likely). Hopefully these amazing tips and recipes will help me keep it from happening again. I'll try again sometime soon and let you know how it goes.

Alanna.
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