Gnocchi came out doughy

I've made gnocchi several times and every time I'm content with the results. I love making it and its a great vehicle for sauce, but its missing something. Now when I look up Gnocchi mistakes, they always mention too much or too little flour. Either they are tough or fall apart. By most descriptions it seems my gnocchi are fine; they are soft and hold together perfectly. BUT! I'm not happy with the texture. My main concern is that the texture is not fluffy, but doughy. For something that cooks in a minute why am I getting this impression?

My recipe is rather simple. I cook for myself so i make a single portion. I use 1 roughly 7 oz Russet potato (i boiled it skin on) mash it with a fork, 1 egg yolk, and added about 1/2 a cup of flour. I mix it together until it forms a dough. I make sure its doesn't crack and its not too sticky. I rope it cut it and dust it with flour. I cooked them until they rose to the top between 60 - 90 seconds.

My question is should I be adding more flour and working it longer for a slightly tougher dough? I must admit my grandma's gnocchi have a great bite to them and I love that al dente quality.

Basically I'm unhappy with the results but wonder if I'm making a mistake or its more of an issue with preference.

Marco Miceli
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hardlikearmour May 10, 2015
You may want to take a look at Pasta by Hand, written by Jenn Louis. It has many varieties of gnocchi -- the potato gnocchi are the most tender I've ever made and just call for potato, flour, and salt. She also has versions that incorporate parmesan cheese, ricotta, farrow, buckwheat, etc...
Shuna L. May 10, 2015
Hello Marco.

Your question is excellent. I especially love that you make this over and over, critiquing it lovingly each time! I do the same with everything I bake, and while it drives some people crazy, I believe that to understand a recipe or a food well, one must continue looking into its soul.

I apprenticed a gnocchi maker once, and this is what I remember being really important:
1. Bake a pieced russet potato naked - no aluminum foil.
2. Have eggs at room temperature for at least an hour before making dough.
3. AS SOON AS POTATO is ready, you have about 12 minutes max. to make the dough.
4. Have a "ricer" or a food mill, at the ready. Put potato in tea towel and peel quickly, without burning yourself too much.
5. Drop peeled potato in ricer and process DIRECTLY onto surface you will be mixing dough - preferably wood.
6. Quickly season potato shavings with salt, crack whole egg(s) right into potato, and using a sharp bench scraper, "cut in" egg. Do not knead in any way shape, or form.
7. Sprinkle less flour that you think you will need over your mixture this far, and, using a sharp bench scraper, "cut in" flour, using its blade to lift outer edges of mixture, into center, until it looks slightly less messy, and then roll it into logs.

At the point that you are making logs, dough should be warm to the touch.

That "doughy" taste is not necessarily from too much flour, although that could be the issue too. It could be about the temperatures of all the ingredients. Or it could be that the potato is starting out too watery.

Remember that a russet potato changes. It sounds silly, but the chefs I know who make a lot of gnocchi and too many french fries or mashed potatoes to count, know the time of year best to make these things. It's very easy to over exaggerate the starch in a potato, and that, coupled with the raw taste of flour, makes for dreadful eating.

Did this help? I hope so. I loves me some light and pillowy gnocchi, too!

Marco M. May 11, 2015
Thank you for the reply! This was exactly the advice I was looking for. I'll have to get right on all these steps. The main difference is how I'm treating the potato. I'm compressing it instead of keeping it crumbly and fluffy
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