How to Make Pasta Dough
Making your own pasta dough is a simpler process than you might think!
Making pasta by hand isn't hard. And if you have an electric mixer, it's even simpler. The first and most important decision to make when beginning to make pasta dough is what type of grain you will use.
1. To make this pasta dough, we used semolina flour, eggs, salt, and water.
2. If you're using an electric mixer, add the flour to the mixer's bowl.
To make the dough by hand, mound the flour on a flat, non-porous surface--either your countertop or table.
3. Begin to mix the flour and eggs together with the mixture set to a low to medium speed. Use your mixer's dough hook.
Make a well in the pile of flour with a spoon, your hand, or a large ladle and pour the eggs into the well. Use a fork to slowly mix the eggs into the flour.
We recommend adding salt to pasta dough. Without it, the pasta will taste flat.
4. Knead the dough until it is smooth-textured, very firm, and dry. If the dough is even a little too wet, it will be sticky, which will cause problems when you run it through the pasta machine or roll it out. The dough should be able to stick to itself, but to nothing else.
5. If the dough still feels sticky, knead it by hand, adding semolina to the dough as you knead. Dust your work surface with semolina and place the mixed dough on the dusted surface. Sprinkle some more semolina over the top of the dough and knead the dough until it is smooth and very firm.
6. When you can set the dough on a clean countertop without sticking, the dough is ready to be shaped. Depending on the grind of your semolina, the dough might not be as smooth as it would be with a finer flour-based dough.
7. Portion the dough into the amounts you will need to make sheets of pasta. If you're a beginner, keep the balls of dough relatively small for easier handling--about tennis ball-sized. As you become more comfortable with the dough, you can shape larger pieces of pasta.
8. Tightly wrap the pasta dough in plastic and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour to give the gluten a chance to relax. This makes it easier to work with and will keep the dough from shrinking and snapping back as you stretch it. When you're ready to cut the dough, see Making Noodles or Making Ravioli.
We have illustrated how to make a very basic pasta dough, suitable for all types of pasta sauces. If you'd like to get creative, try adding spinach, basil, or other flavorings.
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