What kind of flour for fresh Italian pasta?

#1

I made fresh pasta (fettuccine) with my son last night. Used middle-protein (Gold Medal unbleached) flour, with some egg. It turned out well.

But I wonder if others advise semolina or durum or some mix?

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#2

Surprised this post hasn’t had a response . . . . so I’ll start it off . . . .

First - it depends what you mean by “fresh” - I know that sounds stupid but “fresh” here in the US usually means egg pasta, typically a long noodle like fettuccini. But you can make fresh extruded pasta and I can make “fresh” eggless pasta in the morning and let it dry during the day to cook that night, say an orecchiette.

So really I don’t think there is a right answer . . . . it depends on what type of pasta you are wanting - not only shape, but texture. And if we want to get really anal about things, what type of sauce the pasta is being paired with.

For an egg pasta, I use all purpose flour. If I know I’m going to toss it with something very light I may use “00” four (which is how finely ground it is, not protein level) but I find “00” pasta to be very delicate, so I don’t use this if I’m tossing with anything much more than just olive oil and maybe a very little bit of cheese.

You can add semolina to an egg pasta for a little more “bite” to the pasta (I don’t know a good adjective, I’d say toughness or chew but those seem severe). I usually use semolina flour with mostly water (or all water) and for pasta I’m going to dry before cooking (but this can still be called “fresh”). It also holds some shapes much better than an egg pasta would.

I love pasta, so maybe I just can’t pick a favorite. (my understanding is that durum and semolina are the same thing, just different grind similar to “regular” flour and “00”).

I’d get a small bag of semolina and experiment a little. Add some to your egg pasta and make a batch of all semolina and you’ll quickly see how they behave differently but are both good - just for different purposes.

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#3

Phew - I knew Serious Eats would have something to say on the matter too, thankfully what I posted isn’t contradictory.

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#4

Thanks, @Thimes . I liked the linked item from Seriouseats.

I am struck that 00 flour is not apparently marketed in my area. I know it’s a grind designation rather than a protein one, and I’ve been wondering about it for pizza use, as they do in Naples. I once ordered King Arther 00 by mail, but it was not good for Naples-style pizza–too-low protein. It made a more cracker-like crust, like some Detroit and Chicago tavern-style pizzas.

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#5

“00” flour does behave differently and you can get it with different protein levels (though not easily here in the US), so both those differences can make just substituting 00 for “regular” all purpose difficult. For pasta, it makes a very silky feeling pasta.

I can find it pretty easily now in my grocery stores (was Ohio and now Boston) but it is usually in and around the pasta, not with the flour in the baking aisle - in a small bag, not in larger sizes. So worth a look over there too sometimes - depending on what insanity your grocery store is up to with its adjacencies :wink:

For pizza . . . . that is a whole other post and always causes heated opinions :smiley: people and their pizza opinions are an opinionated group. But using 00 in pizza becomes a different topic more because the interplay of oven temp - oven type - dough hydration - flour type create too many variables to control for a “real” conversation.

In pasta, there are fewer things that can have such huge affects on the end result - so it’s easier to trouble shoot. Once you know what the pasta dough should feel like after kneading, I feel like you’re good to go. Because regardless of the flour you use or egg/water combination you’ll know that it doesn’t “feel” right and can adjust (a little more flour, a little water or another egg yolk) before you shape and cook the pasta.

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