what is the food science explanation for the way pasta is mixed? why make a well in the dry ingredients and mix the wet ingredients from that well? why don't other doughs get mixed that way also?
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Love the question and don't know the science. In my experience making the well gives me control of the consistency of the pasta. Can't wait to hear from the Food52 experts in this question.
Pasta making is centuries old; pre-machine. The well method enables one to make lump-free dough by incorporating the liquid ingredients gradually into the dry without having to make precise measurements or account for differences in flour, moisture, egg size. It also lets one stop the process when the dough is perfect. Realistically, you don't "need" to make pasta dough this way; mixing the ingredients in a food processor works just fine, but, frankly, is not as enjoyable. As for other doughs, Jamie Oliver used the well method on one of his shows to make bread dough.