During this past years Star Chefs ICC Michael White and his team of chefs demonstrated his signature fusili with red wine, octopus, and bone marrow. What caught my attention was his pasta dough. It was a blend of durum and semolina flours hydrated with boiling water and kneaded in a Kitchen Aid mixer. The problem was the recipe. Michael makes the dough by feel. In fact, even in his tome of a cookbook he does not divulge a recipe, instead fe recommends using dry fusilli. At the end of the demonstration one of his chefs came up to me and said they use about 25% water to the 50-50 blend of durum and semolina. I wrote down the numbers and set them aside.
I was finally able to tackle this boiling water / hard wheat pasta dough today. It turns out that nether eyeballing the dough and nor using 25% hydration were exactly the right to make a beautiful dough. I ended up using 60% hydration. I put the two flours in the bowl of the Kitchen Aid mixer. I started out with 30% water and put it into a pot to boil. I added most of it to the flours and turned the mixer on. I had a dry crumbly mass. I added the remaining water which got me to 30% hydration, but still not to a smooth, cohesive dough. I continued to increase the hydration in 10% increments of boiling water. When I hit 60% we had created an exceptional ball of dough.
I removed it from the machine and then kneaded it by hand for several minutes. I put the still warm dough in a vacuum bag and vacuum sealed it to expedite the hydration of the flours. Then I rolled it out into sheets, cut it into ribbons, and attempted to make the Marea style fusilli. I came close. My ribbons were thinner than Michael's. I can adjust. Or maybe not. I like the the thinner noodles. Some more practice and some fine tuning on the boiling water hydration will improve the results. I believe if we had omitted the vacuum sealing step the hydration would have been right, but if you're going to seal the dough, 55% hydration may be a better ratio. The power of the vacuum sealer allows for a more efficient hydration. Take that into account if you play around with these noodles too.
And with the base dough accomplished, silky hard wheat noodles have exciting new possibilities.
Boiling Water Durum-Semolina Dough
250 grams durum flour
250 grams semolina flour
275-300 grams boiling water
Put the the flours in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Turn the mixer on low and pour the boiling water into the bowl. Increase the speed to medium low (#3-#4). Knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides and forms a mass around the hook. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead it by hand on a counter for 5 minutes, until it is smooth and silky. Put the warm dough into a vacuum bag and vacuum seal to complete the hydration. Or wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 30-60 minutes. For best results we recommend using a pasta sheeter to roll out the dough.
March 8, 2012
March 8, 2005