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Pasta machine - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Pasta machine

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  • Pasta machine

    All right, all you Italian food mavens. Today I bought an Atlas Italian pasta machine at a flea market,

    and of course I came home and mixed up some pasta dough:

    1 1/3 C. AP flour
    2 Eggs
    1 Tbsp water

    mixed, kneeded, rested, flatened, and put it through the rollers on the widest setting, producing the most disgusting torn hole ridden mess imaginable.

    I then went to you-tube, what else, and saw the process with my own eyes:

    Well, finally, after the application of much bench flour, i finally got the dough sheeted out into something resembling a flat sheet of pasta, and then i tried to put it through the wide noodle cutter. What a mess. It made an accordioned gloppy mass. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Is my cutter dull? Should I not be using AP flour? Any pasta machine experience appreciated.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

  • #2
    Re: Pasta machine

    I have the exact same Atlas machine, I think... it's an oldie but a goodie!

    My recipe is 3 c AP flour, 4 large eggs, 1 T salt and 1 T oil. I make it in the food processor, adding the beaten eggs, salt and oil to the flour and pulsing until combined. It will not form a ball, but you will be able to press it together. Dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it's smooth, and let it rest, wrapped in plastic for at least 30 minutes.

    It's really important to keep running the dough through the rollers a little at a time- too much at once is unmanageable by oneself. I will run it through on the thickest setting a couple of times, actually, until I have it shaped the way it needs to be. Then I run it through the next size- sometimes it needs more than one pass there too, but by the next one it shouldn't. Use enough flour to prevent sticking, but I think too much gets the dough tough.

    I made dough using WW pastry flour once and made butternut squash ravioli in brown butter with crispy sage.. it was wonderful. I guess I need to pull old Atlas down and get cracking! I do covet the Kitchenaid pasta roller, though. I don't know if it works any better, but it has to be faster!



    • #3
      Re: Pasta machine

      I have also got one of these years ago. In fact, there used to be a motorized attachment available (I got one about 10 years ago from a kitchen shop that was going out of business) - some people may feel that it is cheating, but I found that it allows me to concentrate on the dough.

      First, I found that the dough needs to be somewhat on the dry side initially (at least as compared to pizza dough). Next, work it thru the machine starting on the widest setting, fold it in thirds, pass it thru again, fold again, etc. several times. Then go down one number, and repeat several times. Continue down one number at a time till you get the thickness desired. You do need to work the dough slowly to the proper thickness, or else it will not hold up.

      When I got the machine, there were no English instructions with it (just Italian), and the Internet was in it's "pre-Google stage of life" (shows you how many years ago that was!). So I never learned how to do it "right", but learned what worked for me.


      • #4
        Re: Pasta machine

        One more comment - Alton Brown did a Good Eats episode on using a pasta machine that seemed to have some good tips.


        • #5
          Re: Pasta machine

          I have this pasta maker as well; drying the dough as you roll it out is key. I use cornmeal or seimolina to sprinkle on the dough after each pass of the machine. I then place the dough strips on a wooden drying rack (the kind you would use to hang your cloths on) By the time you get to the last one the first one should be ready to go on a dry day. If it is a damp day you might want to give it more time.

          When cutting the pasta we would put it in a cardboard box lined with was paper once again adding the cornmeal or seimolina. We would sometimes freeze the pasta right in the box or cookit right away.

          Good luck
          Check out our blog for a glimpse into our hobbies of home brewing, soda, beer and wine, gardening and most of all cooking in our WFO!



          • #6
            Re: Pasta machine

            It takes lots of kneading at the thickest setting before trying to thin it out. You can feel a difference in the dough when it is ready to change the settings. We recently bought the Kitchen Aid attachment to roll the dough. It's a lot faster (not to mention easier) than hand cranking.

            Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

            My thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/j...oven-8181.html


            • #7
              Re: Pasta machine

              Thanks for all the tips. I'll try this again when it isn't 90 degrees in the kitchen!
              My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


              • #8
                Re: Pasta machine

                Hi dmun,

                I thought I would throw my 2 cents worth in because I make quite alot of pasta at home, though you've had some good tips already & most likely have it mastered by now ( but if you dont ).
                Use room temp eggs only..and I use a simple recipe that works very well for me, 1 med - large egg per 100gms of plain flour, my batch is normally 4 eggs & 400gms of flour, mix in a bowl and turn out and knead on a floured bench just roughly mixed, then roll up into a log and cut into fist size pieces.

                Then through the rollers 4-5 times on largest setting folding in half each time continuing on until all pieces are through the largest setting & lay each piece on the floured bench..and as stated in other posts continue through the smaller settings once until the desired thickness is reached. By this time it normally cuts pretty easy.

                Good luck Brett...


                • #9
                  Re: Pasta machine

                  One additional admonition dmun. Keep the dough stiff! It should not be particularly soft. And if it is at all stickly, use flour! Especially before the cutting!

                  And never wash the machine. It will rust easily. Clean it with a dry brush or by picking out the chunks of dough IF you have a disater with sticky stuff.

                  Good Luck!


                  • #10
                    Re: Pasta machine


                    I've been making pasta on my Atlas for over twenty years and I still remember the first time I tried it only to come away with a dry, crumbling, frustrating mess. After a time, I learned that the smoothest pasta comes from flour, eggs, oil and salt (no water!). The proportions you use will vary depending on the flour, size of eggs and environmental conditions (heat, humidity). The real secret is once the dough is kneaded (you don't have to go overboard with this, just make it fairly homogeneous with no giant lumps) simply wrap it in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes and go work on your sauce. When you retrieve it, the dough will be velvety-smooth and pliable as a wet noodle. You will find it clammy and accepting of however much flour you want to incorporate into it when cranking through the machine. By varying the amount of flour you 'press' into the dough you will be able to control the thickness and density or 'bite' of the finished pasta. I find the more rotations (and flour) you put the pasta through the higher the quality of the finished product. I always let my pasta hang dry for at least thirty minutes to rest. Fresh pasta cooks through in roughly three minutes, rises to the surface when cooked, and continues to cook after you've strained it out. Experience will teach you how to get the perfect 'al dente' pasta.

                    Last two items: cooked spinach incorporated into the egg pasta (use more flour to compensate for the added moisture) results in a seductively velvety and attractive sheet and when rolling your pasta through the middle thicknesses of your machine, pinch the ends of your sheet together to make a complete loop (like a belt sander) and use your free hand to keep it aligned while you continue to crank. Saves from having to reload the machine each time.

                    Bon Apetit,



                    • #11
                      Re: Pasta machine

                      I also have an older Atlas. I use my cordless drill to drive it, mostly in homage to Tim "the toolman" Taylor and to irritate my wife.

                      Homemade pasta night is always a good night.

                      My oven progress -


                      • #12
                        Re: Pasta machine

                        when rolling your pasta through the middle thicknesses of your machine, pinch the ends of your sheet together to make a complete loop (like a belt sander) and use your free hand to keep it aligned while you continue to crank. Saves from having to reload the machine each time.
                        What a great idea! I'm going to try that when I get the machine out again.
                        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


                        • #13
                          Re: Pasta machine

                          I use my cordless drill to drive it, mostly in homage to Tim "the toolman" Taylor
                          hey christo, I find that funny because I've used my cordless to power whatever hand crank devices I have..... Now they all have the handles cut off so I can attach easily... Glad to know Im not the only Rube Goldberg/Tim the tool man



                          • #14
                            Re: Pasta machine

                            Hey, which bit do you use for the drill? I did see a motor for the old girl, but a drill would be kinda fun...



                            • #15
                              Re: Pasta machine

                              I know this is a late response, but I wanted to chime in.

                              Your recipe is too wet. As previously mentioned, make pasta by the etto (100 grams of flour). In fact, you'll have even better luck making pasta by the egg. Simply use a handful of flour per egg, and then stir the eggs and a pinch of salt until the egg takes all the flour it needs to form a sticky dough.

                              Then, clear the excess flour and start kneading. There's really no better way to do this than by hand. The warmth from your hands helps loosen the dough. As you knead, keep incorporating flour until it's no longer sticky. It takes a while, but eventually the dough will stop sticking. It will be stiffer than pizza dough by an order of magnitude, but not so stiff that it's unworkable.

                              Knead until the dough takes on a soft, satiny sheen. It can take 10 minutes. It can take 20 minutes. Just keep going. After the dough gets that soft sheen, cover it and let it rest around 30 minutes.

                              After the rest, use your roller. Since you've already kneaded, you won't need to knead Just use a little bench flour to keep it from sticking, and roll through the casters to your desired thickness.

                              Regarding dough stiffness... The pastas I've seen made in places like Bologna and Modena are not stiff when kneaded; they're supple. These pastas are rolled with a long rolling pin (materello) and not pasta machines. I used to make my dough with a recipe, and it was quite stiff. After I learned to roll pasta in Emilia Romagna, I moved to the concept of letting the eggs dictate the recipe. All you need for soft, supple, extensible pasta dough are the best eggs you can find, AP flour, and a pinch of salt. It's the hand kneading that makes all the difference.