Monday, October 21, 2019

Pasta Lunga Dough for a Torchio

I first made the pasta dough featured in this post on World Pasta Day—25 October—back in 2016. The dough contains a blend of freshly milled and bolted White Sonora flour (here) and Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft bread flour from Central Milling. I developed this dough for use in a torchio pasta press (here) and it works extremely well when extruding long forms of pasta (e.g., spaghetti, spaghetti quadri (here) and even capelli d’angelo (angel hair)). 

I previously covered my approach to milling (here) and bolting flour (here). The following recipe, which makes enough pasta to serve 2 or 3, includes precise weights based upon the results that I consistently achieve with my KoMo Fidibus Classic grain mill and Gilson Company No. 40 and No. 50 stainless steel test screens. Different milling and bolting set-ups will yield different results. Treat the following recipe as a guide and adjust, adding more or less of an ingredient, as necessary. It may help to know that the 85 grams of twice bolted White Sonora flour described in step 8, below, constitutes approximately 57% of the total flour used to make the pasta dough.

1) Place a medium-sized pouring bowl on a scale, tare the scale and put 275 grams of White Sonora wheat berries into the bowl.

2) Adjust your grain mill to a fine—but not its finest—setting. On my KoMo Fidibus Classic mill, I set the grind indicator near the top left mitre joint of the face of the mill’s housing.

3) Place a clean sheet of parchment paper (approximately 13” x 15”) on your work surface under the mill’s spout. The paper needs to be large enough to catch the flour that falls through the bolting sieves.

4) Put a full height No. 40 sieve on top of the parchment paper under the mill’s spout. Turn on the mill and add the 275 grams of White Sonora wheat berries into the mill’s hopper. While the mill processes the flour into the sieve, replace the pouring bowl onto the scale, which should read zero.

5) After the mill finishes grinding the wheat berries, lift the sieve with one hand and lightly tap the sieve against the heel of your other hand so that the flour moves back and forth across the screen’s face and flour gently falls onto the parchment paper. Stop bolting when the falling flour begins to slightly darken and the remaining material in the sieve looks coarse compared to the bolted flour.

6) Pick up the parchment sheet on either side and carefully pour the sifted flour into the bowl on the scale. 275 grams of Sonora White wheat berries milled and sifted as described above produces approximately 130 grams of flour.

7) Replace the parchment sheet onto the work surface and put a full height No. 50 sieve on top of the sheet. Pour the ±130 grams of flour in the bowl into the sieve and replace the bowl onto the scale. Bolt the flour through the No. 50 sieve onto the parchment paper. Again, the material in the sieve will slowly darken as the flour makes its way through the screen, leaving behind bran and other material.

8) Carefully lift the sheet and pour the sifted flour into the bowl on the scale. You should have approximately 85 grams of White Sonora flour. 

9) Add 65 grams of Central Milling Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft flour to the White Sonora flour. You want the flour mixture (i.e., the bolted White Sonora flour and the Artisan Baker’s Craft flour) to weigh 150 grams. Stir the flour to blend.

10) Add 1 whole large egg and 2 egg yolks to a glass beaker and beat together. The egg mixture should weigh approximately 100 grams.

11) Put the 150 grams of flour into the bowl of a standing mixer equipped with a mixing paddle.

12) Turn on the mixer and set it at its lowest speed. Very—and this is key—slowly add small amounts of the beaten egg mixture into the flour. Patiently wait between each small pour to allow the mixer to incorporate the egg into the flour.

Most likely you will not need to add all of the egg mixture to get the proper consistency for this particular pasta dough. On average I use approximately 85 to 88 grams of the egg mixture. The dough should look clumpy, but not too dry. After removing the dough from the mixer’s bowl, you should be able to form it into a ball that retains its shape. The dough will feel a little dry, but don’t worry, it will soften as it hydrates in step 13, below. From start to finish, the step of adding the egg mixture to form the dough takes me about 6 minutes, more or less.

13) When the dough comes together as described in step 12, above, turn off the mixer and form the dough into a log shape that will fit into the torchio’s chamber. Very tightly wrap the dough log twice in plastic film and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Tightly wrapping the dough helps the dough to hydrate.

14) After 30 minutes, unwrap the dough, screw in your chosen torchio die and place the dough in the torchio’s chamber.  Set the piston into the chamber and turn the handle. Cut the pasta at your desired length. The pasta should feel dry and not unworkably sticky. When making a very thin noodle such as capelli d’angelo, I dust the cut pasta with semolina flour before placing the pasta on a tray to dry out a little. 

Although this dough works particularly well when making long noodles—this is my go-to recipe for thin soup noodles—don’t limit this dough to making pasta lunga; the dough works great for rigatoni (here), gramigna (here) and, well…a lot of different pasta shapes. The combination of the soft White Sonora’s elasticity and Central Milling’s hard bread flour produces a fantastic tasting pasta well-suited for a torchio. If you want to roll this dough with a pasta machine, soften up the dough by adding more of the egg mixture. If you do not own a grain mill and want to try out the recipe, consider using Hayden Flour Mills White Sonora Type 00 flour.

Happy Pasta Day, everyone!