Monday, 20 December 2010

Homemade Sourdough Pasta!

I've wanted to try making my own pasta since tasting a sample of fresh pasta. For any of you keen to try, Jamie Oliver says to make your pasta dough with a 1 egg: 100g flour ratio knead into a ball, flatten and you can do whatever shapes you want after that. Sounds not too difficult, but not something you'll do when you're in a rush to just get food into your stomach, so I kept putting it off.

Then I found this recipe for sourdough noodles from Jenny and I just had to. It's a great way to use up extra starter and encourage yourself to not neglect your baby(: If it sounds weird, actually it's not that weird, it's inspired by the traditional Russian pel'meni, a stuffed dumpling.

Updates Dec 2011 (my 5th time making): I've decided to follow Michael Ruhlman's philosophy about how cooking is really about ratios. I followed the standard pasta ratio, weighed everything, replacing the amount of liquid egg with the liquid sourdough starter. This works every time!

Homemade Sourdough Pasta
80g (~ 1/4 cup) sourdough starter (100% hydration i.e. fed equal amounts of water and flour by weight)
60g flour (You can use any kind, as long as it's this amount by weight. see note 3 right below on what type I tried.)
about 30 ml water (You may not need all of it. This will differ depending on type of flour used.)

1. Mix wet ingredients together, i.e. starter and half the water.
2. Sift the flour, then make a little well in the middle for the starter , and slowly mix all in, adding more water if needed. But dough should feel kind of dry at first, see note 1 right below.
2. Knead into a ball, continue working it till it feels smooth and springy. Let it rest, covered, overnight.
3. Dump ball on a floured surface, roll out very thin, trim edges into a rectangle, cut into desired shapes.
4. Leave to dry for half an hour before dropping in boiling water, or dust with some flour and freeze in a sealed bag/container.

Images speak louder than words and I am studying graphic design after all heh, so:

For stuffed pasta
I love stuffed pasta, love biting into that little nugget of surprise wrapped up in the dough. There are so many things you can stuff them with! Get crazy!

I don't have a fancy pizza cutter so they don't have pretty edges, but oh well, rustic ;)
See my too-thick first attempt, Sourdough Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Basil Butter!

They're like mini pasta hugs! Oh if you're wondering about the odd pointed crown, I should have made them on circles of dough instead. But it's cute still, heh?

For ribbon pasta/noodles
Noodles have that reassuring "slurp" quality and I love them perhaps even more than the stuffed ones. Remember to flour the surface well, or the dough will stick!


For Linguini, cut thinner strips.
For Lasagne, don't cut (sounds good and lazy. will try it the next time I make extra mince sauce).

Or if you're even lazier, just tear into rustic mishapen pieces. See Sourdough Mee Hoon Kueh.

Verdict: Sourdough pasta has a deep, rich, yeasty flavour with a slight tang to it. Really really good. Texture-wise, there is less of an al-dente bite to it as compared to normal dried pasta made with semolina, but a more comforting toothsome quality to it than your usual 00 flour.   It comfortingly of a hearty handmade noodle. 

Updates (Feb 2011, June 2011, Dec 2011):
1. Very crucial to knead the dough well. Once you've made your dough, you need to work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, else your pasta will be flabby when cooked, instead of springy. You can tell, the dough will suddenly become smooth and slightly elastic.
2. The dough must be very dry at the start, don't be tempted to add more liquid!
3. I've tried this with spelt and with white whole wheat before, there's a slight difference in texture. 00 flour is the often recommended type of flour you should be using to make normal egg pasta.

This post is an entry for Simple Lives Thursday by GNOWFGLINS.


  1. This is terrific, another use for my extra sourdough starter! And, it doesn't sound too hard either.

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  2. Thanks for this recipe! I'm so excited to try it!

  3. Thanks! Let me know how it turned out (:

  4. Great idea for using starter. When I have it I have a lot left over. Unfortunatly my baby died when I forgot to feed him for a few days. :( I'm going to try to make my starter before I buy one again.

  5. I've never even made a sourdough starter, let alone use it to make pasta. So I think you're ahead of me here ;-). Usually, when I make fruit-based pasta like the dragonfruit one you saw, I simply just add the puree to the flour and that's it. If I want a richer pasta, I add an egg as well, but usually I make do without the extra cholesterol! LOL.

  6. I tried it today.:-)
    I made very thin layers. I used a lot of flour to avoid having sticky noodles. I cooked it 8 min and... well it was good to taste but I felt that I cooked it too long. Also as I floured the noodles a lot I put it all in boiling water and I got worried when I looked at the glued water :-(
    To make matter worse the pasta on the bottom burned...

    I am not going to give up though. The food was still very good. I made with that veggies (shallots, leeks, tomatoes, red pepper, green and yellow zuchinis, some spices...) and poached eggs.

    Hope the dish will be very very good next time.

  7. katie: my starter died too.. I had to start a new one a month ago ):

    foodiva: no egg? sounds like la mian! ahhh yum yum must try.

    coralyre: I'm so sorry that it didn't turn out well for you! Make sure NOT to cook it for too long, because fresh pasta cooks alot quicker than dried! If you're worried about sticking, you can also make sure you leave the pasta strands to dry separately first before cooking!
    I'm glad it tasted good in the end though! yum spiced veggies and poached eggs! let me know if it turns out better thenext time round! yes don't give up! (:

  8. when do you knead the dough? Before you let it sit overnight, or before you roll it out the next day and cut it?

  9. i knead the dough before i let it sit overnight, until it becomes smooth and elastic, don't overknead it! the next day, i just roll it out before cutting. hope this helps (:

  10. Hi Shu Han,
    Thanks for the interesting recipes.

    I have a pasta maker which is invaluable for getting the dough thin enough. I think it really needs to be wafer thin to get the right texture in the mouth. Otherwise it can taste heavy, clumsy and chewy. I prefer to use wholemeal sourdough and flour, but it makes the pasta more brittle and harder to get thin without breaking.

    All best,


    1. I think so too! I got a pasta machine for my birthday a few months ago, and it really made a lot of difference (: wholemeal is a bit trickier, so I do this now using a wholemeal sourdough starter, but white spelt flour, so it's a bit of a half-half, not too stodgy and difficult to roll out, bit with an interesting wholesome nutty flavour to it as well.

      Cheers chris! (:

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