Whatever happens during an Italian meal, chances are it will include a pasta dish. The pasta shapes and types used to make various dishes differ from one region to the next. Italian pasta dishes and types are as diverse as the flours used to make them.

Pasta is a staple food for South Africa’s families. A fresh pasta recipe with homemade goodness can round off a fun evening with family and friends. And you can enjoy an authentic pasta experience at Bruna’s  Italian.

There are so many flours to choose from. What is best for me?

If you want to make your own pasta, you may be lost about choosing between brown rice flour, white bread flour, buckwheat flour, semolina, cake flour, 00 flour, corn flour, white rice flour, and even coconut flour. Pastry flour and chickpea flour may not be suitable, but instead of guessing about what’s best, you can ask us, the experts. We will help you find the perfect flour for the type of pasta you crave!

A Successful Pasta Dish is About the Best Ingredients

Pasta making is an art and science combined. The love for fresh pasta goes well beyond the wonderful resulting flavours. With each unique shape, there is an appreciation of the craftsmanship.

To reach meaningful results, one should start with the right ingredients. Every pasta crafter has his or her own touch of magic. The best ingredient of all is the love that goes into the many homemade varieties.

How Does Making Pasta Differ from Other Flour-Based Bakes?

We make pasta using flour and eggs. The idea is to create a firm dough that withstands boiling while keeping its shape. A well-made pasta will not break apart when boiled.

The best pasta is one that is al dente when biting into the cooked pasta. This means that it is firm to the bite. Not too soft, and not too hard. However, home made pasta is not al dente, that is reserved for bought pastas..

A key to successful pasta is it is firm to the bite. Other baked products using flour like cakes and muffins focuses on tenderness and not firmness. Baking with flour and making pasta is completely different. The flour used is also different.

What Must Flour Contain for Successful Pasta-Making Results?

Flour contains gluten. This is necessary to give the right amount of plasticity and elasticity. For kneading, we need to get a certain level of elastic texture. But for the wonderful pasta shapes, we need the right levels of plasticity.

The key to successful pasta making is choosing a hard flour. This is flour with a high level of protein. With wheat flour, the protein and “hardness” we refer to is the gluten content. Gluten gives your pasta the pliability and the bite needed for a good result.

A higher gluten level gives your pasta that firmer deliciousness. That extra chewy texture we aspire to. The question is, will regular flour help you make the perfect pasta?

How to Release the Gluten in Your Pasta

All flour has gluten (except, of course, gluten-free flour). We develop gluten by kneading and mixing the flour. The secret to great pasta lies in the kneading process. The longer we knead our pasta dough, the firmer and the “stretchier” it becomes.

You can get great results from making pasta from all-purpose flour if it is kneaded and processed correctly. Letting your ball of dough rest after kneading will give you a nice, stretchy texture.

What Are the 3 Most Common Types of Flour to Use for Pasta Making?

There are 3 common types of flour we use for making pasta: semolina flour, all-purpose flour, and “00” flour. Using plain flour for pasta making can give a successful result. Many pasta dishes prefer 00 flour or semolina flour. The choice depends on what pasta you are craving.

When to Use Semolina Flour for Pasta Making

The most successful result for making pasta calls for using an Italian flour: semola. You can buy this from your local Italian food supplier. Or you can source it online.

Look out for the real thing. Semola di grano duro (semolina), or a medium-ground flour made from strong wheat, is a good choice. Or look out for semola di grano duro rimancinata. We refer to this as semola rimancinata (this is similar, although they grind it to a finer texture).

Using store-bought semolina outside Italy is fine. The only difference is you will need less water. This is because it has a lower gluten content.

What is Semola Flour and Where Does it Come from?

People also call semolina flour durum wheat flour, even though these are not the same thing. We derive the word durum from the word “durable”. This is because of the extreme force used during the grinding process.

Plasticity keeps pasta shapes. Pasta tubes such as those in macaron keep their shape. Semola ensures rigatoni maintains its grooves.

We often use plain white flour to make homemade pasta. This does not produce quite the same paper-thin results as semolina flour.

The most successful results for pasta making are on a dry day. Hot days could cause mushy pasta once cooked. The reason is the pasta won’t dry well on humid days.

How Does “00” Flour Differ from Semola Flour?

The key difference between Semola and “00” flour is the texture. The other key difference in the flavour. We classify the various flours by the texture and how finely millers grind the flour. “00” flour, for example, is a lot finer than “1” flour.

00 flour is a soft wheat flour, which is an ideal choice for baking. The flour is the brilliant for crumbly pastries and for cakes.

You can get excellent results from plain flour in any pasta recipe. The texture is powdery and is the ideal choice for soft pasta shapes.

Circles and tubes, twists, and folds and patterns – pasta comes in hundreds of shapes, each with its own piece of history, beauty, and spot on the dinner table. For centuries, these shapes have developed alongside Italy’s cornucopia of local ingredients.

Should I Use Durum Flour or Semola Flour?

We make Semola flour from durum wheat. It is not the same as durum flour. Although they come from the same source, millers grind the two into different flours.

Semola flour comes from the endosperm of the grain. They separate the nutritious parts from the durum seeds during milling. They make durum flour from the left-over fine powder. Durum powder, like 00 flour, is well-suited to spaghetti and lasagne sheets.

Why Making Pasta is Such a Creative Art Form

There are so many ways of making different types of pasta using different flour types. Although the above are the best choices, you can make pasta from almost any type of flour you have in stock. It’s about letting your imagination run wild.

Add more liquid as needed. Your dough should not be too dry. Your dough needs to be malleable and easy to work.

For sealing filled pasta, add a little more water before sealing. This will help the dough will “glue” the pasta pillows together.

The one type of flour not good for making pasta is self-raising flour. Pasta-making is a joyful experience. Once you have made your own pasta, you will always want to make your own.

What Makes Italy a Successful Durum Wheat Producer?

Italy boasts being the largest pasta-makers worldwide. This is because of the Barilla, De Cecco, Pasta Garofalo, and Divella enterprises. There are hundreds of others. Italy exports almost 50% of the pasta it produces annually to the rest of Europe and across the globe.

Successful pasta production depends on the protein, gluten, and strength of colour content. Of all the countries on the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is the major durum wheat producer.

Pasta Production in Italy Per annum

Italy produces almost 4.0 MMT on average. Turkey and France follow with averages of 2.7 & 1.7 MMT respectively.

Other smaller producers include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia. These are successful pasta-making countries. Successful results are directly connected to dry climatic conditions.

Local durum wheat producers and exporters are paying attention to quality targets. Higher protein content of wheat goes to Europe, where the pasta industry is the main user.

Are Pasta Types & Makes Related to Geographic Location?

Yes, they are! We find spaghetti and rigatoni more in the south of Italy because of the dry and warm weather. The climatic conditions in the north are colder and wetter. It is more difficult to dry pasta under these conditions. Here fresh pastas like pappardelle and tagliatelle are more popular.

Stuffed pastas like ravioli are also popular up in the northern regions. Climate also affects food growing. Plants like olive trees grow well in the warmer regions. Where the climate is a lot colder, olive trees do not do as well.

Italians in the south use more olive oil. In the north, Italians lean more towards using butters and lard instead of olive oil. The curing of pork products on the sloping hills of Parma is the perfect location for curing pork.

Here you find the famous Prosciutto di Parma. The weather in the south is perfect for growing chilis. It is also ideal for growing vegetables that thrive in hot climatic conditions.

Unpack the Secrets of Stone Ground Flour in South Africa

Like craft beer, stone ground flour is an exclusive niche product. Stone ground milling holds a small niche market in South Africa.

Why is Stone Ground Flour a Healthier Option?

Health-conscious consumers prefer food that is not genetically changed. Local flour producers are aware and grow their crops environmentally consciously. They grow their crops without tilling, sowing, and crop rotations. They grow crop varieties in seasonal cycles, thus enriching the soil.

The protein percentage in stone ground flour stays intact. As does the dietary fibre. Conventional flour mills grind the flour at high speeds, which causes starch damage. The result is the transformation of the proteins in the wheat from its natural state. This allows baking to absorb more water and depletes the overall quality of the flour. Conventional flour has more nutrients and vitamins added. This is to make up for the shortfall.

Stone ground flour grinds the wheat at slower speeds. The protein remains intact, and the result is a healthy, digestible result. The earthy flavour makes a world of difference to a basic recipe using authentic stone ground flour. Nowadays, “00” flour is available from selected local mills.

Everybody Loves Pasta

Simple or complicated, pasta varieties and the flours used are endless. You can create different dishes every day!

Pasta is not only food. It is a lifestyle and a culture all on its own. Each creation holds tales of the unique traditions and territories. Pasta is a product and combination of nature and love. It’s about hospitality, families, and happiness.

Pasta is much, much more than beautifully fashioned dishes. It is a symbol of Italy showcasing the simplicity, sustainability, and goodness. Discover the world of Pasta with Bruna.