Which Flour Is Best Suited For Making Pasta?

The three types of flour that are most frequently used to make pasta are:

  • universal flour
  • Semola meal
  • “00 flour

Making pasta is something we view as both an art and a science. Gluten, which gives pasta dough its elasticity and plasticity, is found in flour. The appropriate amounts of elasticity are necessary for the dough to be simple to knead. For pasta dough to be molded into all of those beautiful designs, it also needs to be somewhat flexible.

It’s fine to use all-purpose flour to make pasta because it does exactly what it says on the tin. However, either semola or “00 flour will be advised in the majority of pasta recipes. Which pasta shape you choose fully depends on your appetite!

Which type of flour works best for pasta?

Semolina flour, a coarsely ground flour manufactured from a particularly hard kind of wheat called durum, is one of the most often used flours for producing pasta. In actuality, the word “durum” refers to the amount of effort required to grind it, and it signifies “hard” (as in “durable”). Additionally, its hardness is correlated with its 13 percent protein content (as compared with all-purpose flour, which has a protein content of 8 to 11 percent).

Because of its coarse grind, semolina pasta has a rougher feel that is ideal for thick sauces to cling to. Semolina flour’s inherent golden tint, which derives from the color of the durum wheat itself, is another characteristic. This means that you can create pasta with water and semolina flour, and it will turn out naturally yellow.

This is significant because pasta produced using bread flour and water, or even all-purpose flour and water, will be plain white and resemble rice noodles rather than pasta. Despite the fact that you might not associate yellow with pasta, if it’s missing, you’ll probably notice.

Currently, a lot of pasta recipes either use entire eggs or egg yolks as their liquid, and the egg yolks themselves give the pasta the anticipated golden tint. This is all you need in almost all circumstances.

However, there are situations when you might not want to use eggs, such as when preparing stuffed pasta like ravioli or any number of other pouch-shaped pasta bits. The formation of the gluten will be hampered by the fat in the egg yolks, resulting in a slightly crumbly dough that resembles pie crust. As a result, when you cook the ravioli, they may disintegrate.

The fix: Make your stuffed pasta using semolina flour and water. When you cook it, it will be yellow AND stay together.

Why is pasta made of flour?

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Here’s something to mull over: Pasta is not a diet killer, despite being linked to weight gain.

Refined flour is used to make standard dried pasta. But that flour is made from durum wheat (semolina), a type of hard wheat with a higher protein content than most others.

Why and with what kind of flour is pasta made?

The term “pasta flour” or “pasta wheat” refers to semolina flour. It is universally acknowledged as the best flour for pasta. Due to its rougher texture, this flour is suitable for thicker, grainier varieties of pasta. It produces the ideal texture for pasta that you want to soak up a lot of sauce. Semolina flour’s solid feel is due to its extremely high gluten concentration. So avoid this one if you are allergic to gluten.

The three types of flour that are used to produce pasta are what?

Six steps can be used to make homemade pasta: gathering the necessary tools, selecting the ingredients, combining and kneading the dough, resting the dough, rolling out the pasta and cutting it into noodles, and boiling it. I experimented with a variety of factors inside each of these processes and refined the formula in light of my results until I got my ideal method down to an exact science.

Assembling Your Pasta-Making Equipment

There are many tools available for manufacturing pasta, including fluted pastry wheels, specialized drying racks, and pasta-rolling attachments for KitchenAid stand mixers. (A complete list of all required equipment for preparing, cooking, and serving pasta is provided here.)

While each of these items has a purpose, pasta predates all of them by a wide margin and is not at all required. All you actually need is flour, eggs, and a rolling pin if you’ve made pasta before and are looking for a nice exercise. (Actually, if you’re going for pastas like pici, orecchiette, capunti, and other hand-shaped or hand-rolled doughs, you don’t even need a rolling pin.) But I use a pasta maker as I don’t really enjoy working out.

I use a stand mixer attachment at work, and a straightforward hand-cranked pasta roller at home. In order to split the dough and keep my workspace tidy, I also like to keep a bench scraper on hand.

Having a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, a kitchen towel or plastic wrap to cover the dough to prevent drying out, and extra flour to dust the pasta with to prevent it from becoming too sticky are also helpful.

The only additional requirement is a little amount of surface area. a large cutting board, a marble countertop, and a wooden table Just locate a location where you can create a huge, floury messe.

Choosing Your Ingredients

The components used in pasta recipes might be of any kind. However, water and flour are two ingredients that are essential to each pasta preparation. That’s because gluten, a network of proteins that gives pasta its elastic feel and bite, is made from flour and water.

The dough will become more elastic as you continue to work it. Fresh pasta, pizza crusts, and the majority of baked items must generate gluten to the proper degree. It goes without saying that there are gluten-free pasta doughs that replace that protein network with common gluten substitutes like xanthan or guar gum and even eggs. (This recipe, for example, combines tapioca flour, brown rice flour, and xanthan gum.)

I wanted to experiment with every one of the many variables that may be changed when making pasta dough. Would it matter what kind of flour I used? What flour to egg yolk to egg white ratio would produce the greatest pasta? Does it matter if I add salt or olive oil? Indeed, there is a lot to test. Don’t you appreciate what I done for you?

Let’s talk about flour for a minute before moving on. In particular, the three types of wheat flour: semolina, all-purpose, and high-protein, finely milled “00” flour—that are specified in pasta recipes.

Ultimately, I decided to use all-purpose flour in my recipe. The majority of people already have this flour in their kitchen cabinets, and it makes excellent pasta. From this point forward, whenever I use the word “flour,” I’m referring to your handy bag of AP.

To make your noodles even silkier, though, you may use 00 flour, which has a powdered texture, and semolina, which provides heartiness and a coarser texture that will help your sauces adhere to your noodles better. Some people enjoy adding a mixture of semolina and 00 Although I haven’t tested every combination, stay tuned. I might push the crazy to a whole new limit.

Whatever flours you decide to try, I’d advise being familiar with the fundamental methods of producing dough by using just one kind, so you’ll know what to watch for.

It was now time to test several sources of moisture with my chosen flour. Making three doughs in one go while trying to maintain a uniform moisture level was my first step. I started with three equal portions of all-purpose flour; one batch received water, one batch received egg whites, and the third batch received egg yolks. Just enough was added to get the dough to come together. You can probably tell which is which from what I ultimately came up with.

To ensure that I was adding the same amounts of water, protein, and fat to each dough, I continued to use large eggs for all of my testing and even weighed them.

The water-only pasta (on the right) was a complete failure.

The noodles were tasteless, mushy, and uh, watery. Also not much better was the egg white spaghetti (center): Even though the noodles weren’t quite as terrible as the water-based variant, which practically broke apart and attached to each other in a large, gluey mass, whites are almost 90% water, so they weren’t exactly a success. On the other hand, the yolks created a gorgeous, golden dough (left). Approximately 48% of eggs are water, 17% are protein, and 33% are fat. More yolks will produce noodles with more color, flavor, and silkiness.

Sadly, the high fat level makes things a little more difficult. You can imagine the fat as making the gluten proteins all slick and preventing them from forming a robust network, albeit that isn’t exactly how science works. When I put this to the test with various amounts of olive oil, I discovered that, as expected, adding more oil resulted in softer, mushier, less elastic noodles. And to make matters much more difficult, I had a really difficult time getting the flour and yolks to combine. It was a hard, dry dough that was challenging for beginners to prepare and knead.

Despite its difficulty, an all-yolk pasta may yield excellent noodles, but packed pastas require a dough that can be rolled out thinner and is, quite simply, more flexible. I had to find a better middle ground.

I realized there was no use in adding water at this point.

It was clear that egg whites were a better choice if I desired more moisture. It was obvious that my dough would need a combination of whole eggs and extra yolks. In the end, I decided on three yolks per egg white.

Which is that? You want mushier, softer noodles. Bravo for you. My basic recipe now contains a teaspoon of oil. Want a more golden color and a richer, eggier flavor? Add an additional yolk and a bit more flour. It is your money.

Technically, I prepared five batches of dough in order to determine the precise ratio of flour to eggs I should use to get my optimum degree of moisture. I started with four ounces of flour and added flour to each batch in increments of half an ounce until I could no longer get the dough to come together, using the same ratio of egg yolk to egg white for each.

These doughs looked like this after I had kneaded them for ten minutes each:

I tried to roll out all five doughs after giving them a 30-minute rest (more on resting times soon!). The doughs that were the wettest and the driest were both impossible to deal with. One was exceedingly sticky, while the other fell apart into dry clumps, and neither could be squeezed through the roller.

The driest of them might be healed with extra time because often a longer resting period might help a dough hydrate more. The benefits and drawbacks of prolonged rest will be covered later.

The ratio of one entire egg (1.4 ounces white and 0.6 ounce yolk) and two yolks (1.2 ounces yolk) to every five ounces of flour was ultimately the sweet spot that I and my blind-tasters found. The spaghetti strands on the left were made of dough that was so moist that caused the noodles to stick together, while the dough on the right was dense and nearly hard. The middle pasta, which received the most votes from the panel, was produced with a dough that was manageable to mix and knead yet wasn’t overly sticky. It had that distinctively delicate, satiny texture, tasted well, and looked great.

My dough was nearly flawless. The only other thing I wanted to try was whether adding salt directly to the dough, as opposed to just my cooking water or sauce, would result in an even greater flavor. Yes is the clear-cut response. Do it!

Although salting the pasta water is still a good idea, there is no strong argument against salting the dough. Both the fine-grained iodized salt and the slightly coarser kosher salt that I tried worked; nevertheless, I much preferred the taste of the kosher salt. Use fine sea salt instead, as coarse sea salt will prevent your dough from being silky smooth.

Although you could theoretically salt your pasta even more and omit salting your pasta water, I prefer to prepare a dough that tastes nice after cooking in salted water because it gives me a little more control over the flavor of the finished dish.

I can prepare and freeze batches of dough, then choose how salty I want my pasta to be on a case-by-case basis.

Mixing and Kneading the Pasta Dough

We currently have 10 ounces of flour, a teaspoon of salt, two entire eggs, and four extra yolks in our arsenal. This can be doubled or doubled in size to produce four to six servings.

You can put all the ingredients in a decent food processor and process them until they form a large ball. Let it continue to whip about within, or take it out and give it a hand knead. Using the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer, you may get a similar result.

I must, however, admit that I enjoy cooking pasta by hand. It takes a little bit more work, but it’s rewarding, enjoyable work. You also have a lot more control as a result.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t measure my flour when I make pasta at home. I’ll weigh out a rough estimate, sure, but when working with flour and eggs, there are many factors that are out of your control. It can be a very humid or dry day; your eggs might be a little bigger or smaller. Your need for flour will depend on each of these factors. Using a hand mixer ensures that you may modify the dough as you go, giving you the ability to more precisely create the perfect texture. This is the procedure.

Flour should be weighed out and piled up on the work surface. After that, poke a hole in the center with your fingertips. It should be at least four inches broad to accommodate all those eggs.

Add the eggs to the center now. There is no reason why you can’t whisk the eggs in advance; these photographs only demonstrate the traditional method, in which you whisk the eggs once they are on the countertop. Add any additional salt and/or oil that you’re using.

Push the flour into the eggy puddle gradually using a fork or your fingertips. until the fork is no longer useful, continue to add flour. Although the dough will be wet and sticky, it will remain one cohesive lump.

At this step, remove any dough that has stuck to your hands or fork with your bench scraper. Then, start folding extra flour into the dough with the bench scraper, rotating the dough by about 45 degrees each time to distribute the flour more evenly. It’s time to begin kneading the dough after it feels dry and hard and can be formed into a craggy-looking ball.

The pain of kneading is real, I won’t lie. Although it will take a lot of effort, you must be firm and persistent. You might even end up with bubbles or pieces of unincorporated flour if you under-knead pasta, which won’t have the same kind of snappy spring as a properly worked dough. However, it’s practically impossible to over-knead dough because ultimately it will become too elastic for you to continue.

Having said that, you don’t want to leave the dough out too long because it could start to dry up. You can get a nice ball of dough without having to worry about drying out by kneading it for about 10 minutes.

Simply press the heel of your hand into the dough ball and move it forward and downward to knead it. Once more, rotate the ball 45 degrees. Continue mixing until the dough no longer resembles powder; instead, it should be smooth and elastic, resembling a solid ball of Play-Doh. If your dough appears sticky and wet, add additional flour as needed.

Unless it can’t possibly stay together without it, don’t add water if it feels too dry. What “too dry” looks like is as follows:

I advise using a spray bottle to add very small amounts of water to a wide surface area of dough if, as with the dough mentioned above, it seems very necessary to do so. Your dough should be fine if it appears moister than in the picture above. Just continue to knead.

When you have your dough ball, wrap it snugly in plastic and either leap to the area below where people are resting, or follow our instructions for…

This is the point when you put your work on hold if you intend to prepare your fresh pasta in advance and finish it later. The dough should be placed in the refrigerator after being wrapped in plastic, but be aware that it will gradually take on a grayish hue that won’t harm flavor or texture but does make for a poor aesthetic. Put the wrapped ball in a zipper-lock bag, press out as much air as you can, and freeze it for up to three weeks to give it additional time.

When you’re ready, defrost it in the fridge until it feels pliable and soft to the touch. Time to talk about resting.

Resting the Pasta Dough

Now that the gluten network has grown, the dough is extraordinarily elastic and springy. The flour can continue to hydrate during the resting interval, and the gluten network can unwind. The majority of professionals will advise you against attempting to roll out your dough at this time since it would be too dry and elastic.

That would likely be the case if we were using simply rolling pins, as the dough would continue to snap back. But in the twenty-first century, things are a little more complicated.

I’ve got six doughs here. The person who was farthest to the right wasn’t at all rested. The person to the left took a six-hour nap. They are separated by doughs that were allowed to rest for 15, 30, 1, and 3 hours.

To test what might happen, I ran the doughs for the six-hour and no-rest treatments once through the pasta roller’s widest setting.

The unrested dough is panicking, as you can see up top. Because the rolling has virtually split those little gluten linkages in half, everything is harsh and jagged. But as I kept rolling it through thinner settings, it started to take on a much smoother feel. By the end, the visual contrast between the two was almost nonexistent.

In the end, I baked and rolled out all six doughs. Did they differ from one another? Yes. The dough that had not rested at all was slightly more rubbery, stiffer, and harder. The doughs that had rested for an hour or more resembled one another very little.