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I have a very simple recipe for homemade pasta dough (one egg to 100g flour, some oil), and found this worked great on my first small batch. I mixed it in a stand mixer and immediately rolled it out, using lots of flour to keep things from sticking. It was a bit thick, but I chalk that up to inexperience.

On my second batch I made slightly more dough and split it into four balls before rolling each one out. The first two I rolled out almost right away, cut and shaped the pasta, and threw on a plate with some flour until I got around to cooking it.

I left the last two balls of dough sitting for 30 minutes or more before I got to them, and these were much, much harder to roll out. I've since discovered (from Google and word of mouth) is that this is the opposite of what should happen, I'm supposed to let my dough rest to make it easier to work with.

So was this an anomaly? Should I repeat this (tough) task with the understanding that my previous experience was a one-off?

Or is there a special technique to rolling pasta dough made with egg (as opposed to water)?

Any thoughts as to what went wrong? (Or, perhaps, confirmation that my word-of-Google-mouth rumors are incorrect?)

(Also, I'm not monetarily endowed right now, so I won't have access to any other rolling equipment besides my trusty rolling pin)

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Pasta dough has to be sufficiently moist to be rolled properly.

Rolling the pasta (in a pasta machine) aligns the gluten strands so they stretch out and become parallel to each other. If the dough is too dry, it is more difficult to align them. This is why it's a good idea to coat unused dough in a thin coating of oil and cling wrap if you're not immediately working with it (a damp tea towel over the bowl will work as well).

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Thanks for the suggestion, that's probably what made the later batches harder to roll - they were drier. –  Peach Jan 21 '11 at 14:10
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Did you leave the dough covered either with either a slightly damp cloth or tightly with plastic wrap? (I prefer the latter). If not, the surface will dry out and it will be very hard to roll.

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No, I didn't cover it. That's a great point. –  Peach Jan 21 '11 at 14:09
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