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I mixed equal parts of semolina and bread flour. Then I kneaded it for about 2 minutes. I flattened it out as well as I could, then passed it through my pasta machine on the widest setting. I did this 5 times by folding lengthwise after every pass through the rollers.

The noodles had great bite when cooked al dente and still held together wonderfully when cooked a little more. Cheese sauce nicely coated them, they were great! Could have been the best pasta I had ever tasted.

I didn't let it rest...not even a little.

Chefs and home cooks alike tell us time and again that you must rest your pasta dough for at least half an hour. Some say 2-3 hours.

So... Does pasta dough really need to rest? Please educate me.

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If the pasta is only flour, why is there an 'eggs' tag for this question? –  Joe Sep 12 '12 at 15:12
    
@Joe because the flour is mixed with eggs. –  ash Aug 12 '13 at 0:11
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2 Answers

You didn't knead it enough in the first place. 2 minutes is too short even with the pasta machine afterwards.

Pasta, especially the classic semolina pasta (which is mae with durum semolina), is a high-gluten product. To make it correctly, you need to develop that gluten. I don't make semolina-water pasta, but knead my flour-egg pasta for around 8 minutes. It makes a great dough, and you can feel the change in texture while kneading. Of course, dough with that much Glenn is way too tight to work it. Very hard to roll, resists cutting. That's what you need resting for: to relax the gluten. Else, shaping becomes a heavy chore.

There is no food police which will come to arrest you if you make noodles with underdeveloped gluten, but most people prefer the slightly resilient texture of developed-gluten noodles. You describe yours as "having a great bite", and apparently they didn't fall apart in the boiling water. So you could make both side-by-side and decide which is more to your taste. I you stay with the ess kneading, you will need less to no rest.

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The pasta machine process @Theorian used is sufficient for developing the gluten. I use the same approach- just knead enough for the dough to hold together and then do the rest of the kneading with the machine. –  Sobachatina Sep 12 '12 at 14:41
    
I can see that it will provide good alignment, even better than hand kneading, but 5 passes doesn't sound enough. Also, if it does develop the gluten enough, then resting should ensure easier handling during shaping. –  rumtscho Sep 12 '12 at 14:51
    
I'll have to do an experiment with resting vs not. I agree that it should be easier to work with after resting. 5 passes is definitely in the right range. It comes together pretty fast. –  Sobachatina Sep 12 '12 at 14:53
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If I had a pasta machine, I would experiment with different numbers of passes. My own dough certainly feels "come together" after 3 minutes of kneading, there are no lumps or anything, but the texture changes a lot after longer kneading. –  rumtscho Sep 12 '12 at 14:56
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Pasta is a relatively low moisture, very high protein, bread dough.

The gluten strands that are developed during kneading are very elastic. When kneading by hand it can be very difficult to work the dough enough when it has tightened up.

As with bread dough, a short rest after kneading is not to develop the gluten further but to let the gluten relax so you can shape the dough without it springing back.

I use the same approach as you do and do most of the kneading of my dough in my pasta machine. No rest is required. I can't say what happens on a molecular level with the gluten that makes it easier to work with. I suspect that it is due to being much more thoroughly kneaded and with perpendicular sheets of gluten.

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