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Why do we knead pasta dough?

Just out of curiosity - I just read the F52 article "10 Tips from One Week as a Professional Baker" and it says:

"Here’s a good rule of thumb for conventional baking: Once the flour is in, handle the mixture as little as possible (unless your dough is yeast-leavened, in which case you’ll need the gluten for structure—that’s what kneading is for)."

So this got me thinking about pasta which is of course not yeast-leavened but is kneaded - it's obviously not conventional baking (or indeed baking at all) but I was wondering if somebody had some explanation as to how kneading affects the flour and the product etc in this instance. Cheers!

asked by Liam Fallon 8 months ago
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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 8 months ago

Kneading provides a good structure and springiness to dough. Your pasta would fall apart into mush without it. Here's a good article from Serious Eats...I may or may not be offended by the statement about "girls obsessing and maybe crying when experimenting with pasta". I haven't decided yet. Good info though.


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added 8 months ago

Pasta also needs a strong gluten structure to survive the rolling/ forming process. Besides which it takes a good deal of work to incorporate the ingredients. No knead bread is in fact a misnomer- any way you put it together you will have to work the dough just to get it mixed- whether you do it with a spoon, a mixer, your hands- it still constitutes kneading. Cake batters are quite liquid and come together with little work; pastry doughs tend to have little moisture (necessary to raise gluten), and are put together-usually- pretty loosely and with a great deal of care.

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added 8 months ago

By the way- with regards to that article, as I remember none of it was particularly proprietary to professional bakeries; home bakers of any experience should be familiar with all that stuff.

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