4The dough

Behind the simplicity of two ingredients like water and flour, lies the complex art of the dough. The search for perfectly balanced raw materials is key. During the early years of Pastificio Columbro, Iris had a simple method for checking the consistency of the pasta. She would pinch off a small piece from the ball of dough to carry out an initial analysis of the toughness and consistency of the dough after the kneading process, performed entirely by hand.

If it passed this first test, she then evaluated its firmness after cooking. The time necessary was estimated, after which the pasta was cooked and then tasted. If it was well cooked both inside and out (and not, as commonly expected, “al dente”, in other words like plastic outside and raw inside), then she could start to believe that the entire process had achieved the minimum quality to pass the test of whether the pasta was fit for their children. Quality tests in the form of “mechanical pinches” and empirical tests are still carried out cyclically to improve the elasticity and the toughness of the pasta dough. Achieving total harmony between flour and water and then combining them with the different specialities of egg pasta or other local flavours is still for Pastificio Columbro one of the basic secrets to distinguishing a high-quality pasta from a merely edible pasta.

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