Friday, March 28, 2014

Pasta Dough No. 3 (for a Torchio)

A recent profile of Oakland’s Ramen Shop in The Art of Eating (Issue No. 92) inspired the following dough recipe for a torchio pasta press. According to the article, Ramen Shop makes its noodle dough with a blend of Central Milling type 00 and malted all-purpose flour, gluten, and kansui, a mixture of sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate. The Art of Eating author pronounced Ramen Shop’s noodles “exceptional”; I agree, having slurped my fair share of the restaurant’s noodles. What would happen, I wondered, if I used a similar flour blend but replaced the gluten, kansui and water with an egg and water mixture tailored to a torchio pasta press? The results tasted amazing.

When you read the following recipe, you’ll see that I list precise weights for the flour and for each component of the egg mixture. I stumbled upon these weights when I used a 58-gram egg, which produced 52 grams of egg sans shell, and a 56-gram egg, which contained a 20-gram yolk. I liked the results so much that I stayed with these amounts. Using precise weights allows you to achieve extremely consistent dough from batch to batch. It also helps when scaling the recipe up or down. The following produces approximately 240 grams of dough.

110 grams Central Milling organic type 00 normal pizza flour (11.2%)
50 grams Central Milling organic Beehive malted all-purpose flour (10.5%)
2 grams kosher salt
82 grams of the following egg mixture: 52 grams whole egg, beaten; 20 grams egg yolk; and 10 grams cold water
 1. Sift the flours into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt. Using a paddle attachment, mix together the flours and salt. In a glass, beat the egg mixture.
 2. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the egg mixture into the mixing bowl in small batches. Mix the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes. The dough should be clumpy and slightly damp but shouldn’t come together into a ball. It should, however, hold together if tightly squeezed.

 3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add any dough on the paddle to the mixing bowl. Using your hand, bring the dough together into a large ball in the mixing bowl. Knead the dough in the bowl or on a work surface for approximately 30 seconds. Form the dough into a log that can slide into the torchio’s chamber. Tightly wrap the dough in plastic and leave it to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
I tested the above recipe, which makes enough pasta to serve 2 to 3 people, using a Bottene No. 5 spaghetti (1.75mm) die from Emiliomiti. (I also ran the dough through a bronze bigoli die with excellent results.) Once extruded, I cut the spaghetti into approximately 12-inch long pieces that I lightly dusted with semolina flour and placed on a dishtowel-lined baking tray.

To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fresh spaghetti, stir the pasta and when the water returns to a boil, cook for approximately 1 to 1.5 minutes. Taste to determine if the pasta is ready. If so, drain and add the spaghetti to your ready sauce, mix the two together and cook the pasta and sauce for 1 to 2 minutes.