As I was researching how to make homemade pasta, I discovered there were quite a few ways to accomplish the task. A person could go with the more expensive route and buy an automatic machine that did the work for you. You could go cheap and simply mix the ingredients together and then slice the created product in to wide noodles. Or you could go middle of the road and purchase a hand crank machine to create pasta.
I decided to go for the middle of the road option. I am not much in to buying a machine that is over one hundred dollars or something cheap that will be junk in a few years so I decided to go with one of the more expensive hand cranked units. Of course I could have went the cheap route but I wanted to have something that I could be a little more creative than simply slicing dough in to one style of pasta.
The unit I decided to go with was the Atlas pasta machine. This unit looked pretty heavy duty and most of the reviews I read were really good. The machine will allow you to make a few different varieties of pasta and looks like it will last a long time. I am happy with my purchase. Even though it set me back 60 bucks, I feel confident I will get many years of use out of it.
One of the only drawbacks I see with the Atlas pasta machine is that the instructions are not really that clear when it comes to making the pasta. I could see this being frustrating for somebody that purchased the unit that lives under a rock.
However, for somebody like myself that can access Youtube, the lack of instructions is not a big deal. There are 20 plus videos on Youtube that describe step by step how to use similar machines or the same machine I have. After watching a few of these videos and looking up some recipes on-line, I was ready to tackle my new hobby.
Making the pasta for the first time was challenging for me. The recipe I looked up called for 6 eggs and a pound of wheat flour. I have a 50 pound bag of flour so for some reason I tried to look up how many cups of wheat flour make a pound instead of weighing some myself.
I made a mistake when I did that because I found out on-line that all flour does not weigh the same. I picked one that I thought my flour was similar to and went with the calculation on the site. It was not right. I ended up with a mixture that resembled globs of egg mixture instead of a ball of dough.
To correct this situation, I could of added more eggs to make a bigger batch but of course I was out. I was not about to run to the store so I added water until my ball of dough was formed. This seemed to work well at the time but ended up leading to issues later I believe.
Once my ball was created, I started running individual portions through the flattening part of my machine. This took a little trial and error but was pretty simple once I got the hang of it. Once I had a few sheets of what could have been lasagna noodles, I tried running the sheets through the top attachment of the machine. Unfortunately once I tried to do that, I did not have much luck.
When I ran the sheets through the attachment, the pasta kept bunching up. I am pretty sure this was because of the water because it has not happened the other times I have used the machine without adding water to my dough. After a few unsuccesful attempts, I decided to let the sheets dry out and then I would slice them.
Again, I found out that this was a mistake. I should have sliced the sheets right away in to the size pasta I needed. I didn't realize it but this stuff dries fast. When I checked on my sheets of pasta drying out after an hour, they were almost as stiff as store bought pasta.
Oh well, I sliced the sheets of long lasagna the best I could and made pasta with the end result. The pasta strips did not look that great but they tasted good. Making homemade wheat pasta is definitely something you need to experience a little trial and error with but if I can figure it out you can!
Pics from my first attempt
|Getting ready to make the pasta ball|
|The pasta ball|
|Once slice ready to run through the machine.|
|My first attempt at running the dough through the machine. Not acceptable.|
|Drying out the sheets.|
|Attempting to slice the pasta after it dried.|
|The end product. It doesn't look great but it tasted good!|
Even now after a few attempts, I am still not ready to post a Youtube video as an expert but I feel confident feeding my family my fun to make, better for you, cheaper than store bought pasta.