We would like to keep the answer to the question ‘ what is the best flour for making pasta?, as simple as possible. The simple answer is that it depends on the following:
- what style of pasta do you want to make
- are you making egg or eggless pasta
In the spirit of keeping things simple, we have compiled a simple list giving you the appropriate pasta dough you should be using for each pasta type (without getting caught up in too much detail – we promise).
What flour is best for ribbon pasta?
These are the types of pasta that you can achieve at home using a hand-cranking pasta machine or a knife:
- fettuccine, pappardelle, tagliatelle, lasagna
EGG PASTA: The best dough for this is an egg-based dough. Egg doughs are typically made using white flours such as Tipo 00, bread flour (including whole wheat), Swans Down cake flour (which is the same as Tipo 00), and although we don’t recommend it due to it’s quality – all-purpose flour.
You can also use durum flour (a finely ground version of semolina) for making egg pasta, which will give you the most gourmet of all pasta doughs and is considered quite a treat in Italy.
What flour is best for shaped pasta?
These types of pasta can also be achieved at home. Most budding pasta makers (known as ‘pastaio’, in Italy) will want to be making shaped pasta, some of which are great fun to make for the whole family (which is often how the Italians achieve an abundance of it).
- trofie, orecchiette, pici, lorighittas, cavatelli, farfalle (bows), fagiolini
EGG-LESS PASTA: The best pasta dough for making shapes is egg-less. The reason for this is two-fold. First of all egg-less pasta holds it’s shape perfectly and secondly, it cooks up much easier than if you made any of these shapes with an egg pasta dough.
The flour used most commonly for making egg-less pasta, is either durum (finely ground semolina – creamy in color), or semolina (coarse ground – yellow in color). Durum flour is softer to work with if you are making pasta by hand. Semolina is more difficult to work and you will get quite the workout with it. For this reason, we often use a machine to create our dough when working with either of these flours.
The water you use to make pasta is very important to the Italians who often use fresh mountain water. Here at Pasta Nostra USA, we do our best to emulate the Italian requirement for quality pasta and use Zephyrhills water.
What flour is best for filled pasta?
Filled pastas are extremely popular to have a go at making at home, ravioli being perhaps the most popular because there are so many styles, sizes and shapes to choose from.
- ravioli, tortelloni, cannelloni, cappelletti, caramelle, culurgiones, agnolotti
EGG PASTA: Because egg pasta is perfect for making ribbon pastas, and that all filled pasta begin with a sheet, egg pasta is the dough of choice. It also adds texture and flavor to the result. Also, if you are going to all the trouble of making filled pasta, then the best pasta is the way to go. Egg pasta dough is revered in Italy! Although you often find filled pasta made using egg-less dough.
So again, you will need white flour or durum flour as explained above.
Can I mix flours for making pasta?
Yes, you can mix flours for making pasta – apart from semolina (coarse ground). So, all those finely ground flours can be mixed.
Some people just don’t like the flavor of semolina or durum (it’s finely ground counterpart), and so like to mix white flour with them. Depending on the ratio of durum to white flour that you choose, will enable you to jiggle around with the amount of egg or water (or both) required. Remember, all of those white flours need egg to achieve pasta dough and the yellow stuff will work with water, so ratios count if you want to omit the egg.
When you mix your flours, choose your style of pasta mindfully. Remember, if your mixed pasta is heavily egg based, some pasta shapes will prove tricky to achieve.
Flour is important when making pasta and so too is egg and water. So this simple list of ingredients matters greatly when deciding to make pasta at home.
The other issue to mention is the kneading of the pasta. This too is important and takes some time and patients to achieve fabulous results. If you don’t have a machine to create a sheet of pasta and will be using a rolling pin, then we suggest you work with egg-less pasta as this is more manageable.
As a side note, our conclusion would not be complete unless we mention that there are particular doughs that are made for particular styles of pasta. You can peruse them at your leisure right HERE.
We hope this information encourages you to go forth into the kitchen and whip up some pasta dough. Just let us know when dinner is ready and we’ll be right over!