Why So Much Work?    Permalinktrackback

July 9th, 2012

Why TV chefs feel the need to demonstrate the assembly and kneading of fresh pasta dough using only their hands is beyond me. It looks rustic and homey, and I have done it many times and understand how cathartic and therapeutic hand-kneading can be. The problem is that it’s so easy to make, but the idea of hand-kneading makes it less approachable for the average joe. It’s certainly not how it’s done in the majority of restaurants making their own. So why should a home cook have to?

Fresh pasta is quite easy to make, and a very simple recipe. It’s a ratio of 100g (3.5oz) of flour to one large egg. Two ingredients! Times that by three and you’ll get a 450g (4g shy of 1 lb) recipe. It’s just a matter of the time and effort; most of which can be achieved with a stand mixer and a dough hook.

Hand kneading offers zero gain; except for the fabulously large arms you can develop doing it on a regular basis. My opinion is, if it offers nothing to the final taste and texture over the faster method, then use the faster method. Carpenters don’t need to cut wood with hand saws any more because band-, jig- and circular saws exist. The same pasta dough with the same taste and texture can be made using the same technique using a home stand mixer. All with less mess and in about half the time.

Place your flour in a mixer.

Create a well in the center.

Place your eggs in the well.

Start your mixer off slow…

…and when the egg is fully mixed in, turn it to medium and knead for half the recommended time for hand-kneading.

If the dough won’t come together, add a teaspoon of water and continue mixing for 1 minute. If it still doesn’t come together, repeat until it does.

The dough should be stretchy with a smooth surface when it’s done.

Cover and rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

See? Same technique, but without getting your hands messy. Your arms will thank you.

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