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!

Liam Fallon


Smaug November 10, 2016
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.
Smaug November 10, 2016
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.
Susan W. November 10, 2016
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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