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In recipes for potato gnocchi (potatoes, egg yolk, flour) it is commonly pointed out that you should work quickly, because with time the potatoes expel water and the dough becomes thinner. I'd like to know how fast this process is and if it should make me concerned when I can comfortably finish the handling in ~30 minutes. Or would it only be a problem if you left the dough on the counter for say more than an hour?

  • I've never heard of this advice for gnocchi specifically (and haven't made gnocchi much), but from my experience with other recipes, when it says "work quickly", it means to do the mixing within 2-3 minutes, not 30-60 minutes. If this had been the case, it would have said "don't rest it too long", not "work quickly". – rumtscho Sep 22 '14 at 7:10
  • Fair enough, I'm just trying to figure out how quickly is quickly :-) – VoY Sep 22 '14 at 10:58
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If your potatoes are prepared correctly before adding the other ingredients, then excess water should not be a problem. After boiling your potatoes until tender and draining them, I recommend placing them on a sheet pan and drying them in a 300° F oven for 5 minutes or so before passing them through your food mill or potato ricer.

With properly prepared potatoes there should never be a problem with thinning. In fact, prepared gnocchi can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to boil without fear of disintegration. With most fresh pastas and dumplings, time delays in preparation usually pose the greater threat of allowing the dough to dry out.

The secret to delicate gnocchi is to use just enough flour for the dough to come together and to knead that dough only briefly. More flour and more kneading generates more gluten and that means tougher gnocchi.

  • Thanks! Does peeling the potatoes play a role? Would you dry them in the over before or after peeled? Should I wait for them to cool before mixing the dough? – VoY Sep 23 '14 at 7:36
  • For best results, use mealy potatoes like russets. Peel them first - then cut them into uniform chunks before boiling them in salted water (like 1" - 1 1/2" chunks). Drain and oven dry. Then process/rice immediately while still hot. Then allow the potato to cool until you can work with it comfortably - too hot and it will cook the egg yolk - don't cover with plastic for cooling or condensation will drip back into the potatoes. Many recipes call for a tiny bit of nutmeg to be mixed into the gnocchi. I like to make mine with Parmesan cheese in the dough. Non-standard? Yes. So...sue me. – Stephen Eure Sep 23 '14 at 11:41

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