I love making fresh pasta and noodles, and thought I had the recipe down, but lately the angel hair has been sticking together when I run it through the machine. What am I doing wrong?
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Because it's so delicate, angel hair will tend to stick together. You can try putting it in more flour as soon as it's gone through the machine. You don't mention it, but you could use a drying rack if you don't currently use one. Also, humidity can have an effect as well. I personally prefer to use dried angel hair if I'm going to make something with cappelini, but I prefer thicker fresh noodles like linguine. Fresh pasta traditionally is used for meat sauces or stuffed pasta, I usually only use angel hair for the lightest of sauces (aglio e olio or maybe a fresh tomato sauce).
QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.
You could try drying the pasta sheets for about 10 minutes before cutting them. Or sprinkling with semolina after cutting
I found that drying the sheets made it harder to get through the rollers. There were 2 occasions (out of several attempts) that angel hair cut clean. I'm wondering if it has to do with the gluten in the flour? This tends to happen with fettucine as well.
Are you using all purpose or durum wheat flour? I found durum wheat pasta easier to work with and no drying is needed. With all purpose drying helps. Does dusting the rollers help? Either way, you are right, sometimes pasta dough has a mind of its own. Adjusting the recipe might help, until the dough "feels right".
The best way to avoid sticking is to carefully support the pasta as it comes out of the machine. It helps to have someone cranking while you catch it. Either put it on a drying rack or just lay it out on a floured towel making sure that the individual strands are separate.
hodgson mill pasta flour makes an excellent tasting pasta with a firm, al dente texture: http://tinyurl.com/mm4u2hr
~after cutting sheets: make mounds of the raw, cut pasta on a large plate, and dust it with a little flour to keep it from sticking together. then, drop it into a large pot of boiling, salted water.
~once the pot comes back up to a full boil count 10-12 seconds and remove it with a large wire bamboo strainer. give it a few shakes to remove as much of the water as possible, and then lay it out on a large platter so the steam can escape.
~ drizzle the pasta with olive oil, and let it cool a little. then, toss it with your fingers to distribute the olive oil and keep it from sticking together. salt it before serving.
I think I finally figured it out!
I read up on gluten formation. The longer the dough was resting, the more gluten was forming, and preventing the pasta from cleanly cutting through the rollers. Solution? I cut the pasta or noodles immediately after kneading the dough, and let it rest (and gluten form) in the fridge afterwards. Seems to work like a charm!