Most pasta dough recipes call for either “00” or semola flour. These are the two types of flour that Italians use to make pasta from scratch, so they’re the authentic choice. You can find “00” or semola flour in many larger supermarkets, as well as in specialty food shops and online.
Here at Pasta Evangelists, we’re passionate about the art of authentic pasta – but we’re not pasta snobs. Even if you don’t have “00” or semola flour, Chef Roberta recommends a whole host of alternative flours you can use in their place. We’ve previously shared our tips for making pasta with plain flour, as well as a recipe for spelt flour pasta dough, but you can also make pasta from bread flour.
Chef’s tip: The only type of flour we wouldn’t use to make pasta is self-raising flour, because the baking powder in it can upset the dough – we want you to enjoy your pasta after all!
What is bread flour?
Bread flour, also known as strong white flour, is made from “hard” wheat. Bread flour has more protein than many other types of flour and makes a high gluten dough when mixed with water.
As you might’ve guessed from the name, bread flour is designed for making bread. It’s a key ingredient in crusty breads like ciabatta or focaccia, as well as pizza dough, pretzels and bagels. The extra gluten in bread flour gives these bakes their structure and signature chewy texture.
How to make pasta with bread flour
The gluten in flour is what gives pasta dough its elasticity and plasticity. Bread flour is high in gluten, so it’s also suitable for making pasta. In fact, there’s enough gluten in bread flour that adding eggs isn’t crucial – it’s actually more suited for use in a dough without egg (pasta bianca). This type of pasta has been made in southern Italy for hundreds of years. The region historically had limited access to expensive ingredients like eggs, which meant that sfogline (pasta makers) had to rely on the ingredients they had to hand. It’s still a popular choice in much of southern Italy today, as the lighter dough is better suited to the warmer climate.
Bread flour pasta dough
Here’s our recipe for making pasta bianca with bread flour. You can also follow Chef Roberta in the video below.
*Note: Chef Roberta uses semola flour in the video, but you can just substitute this for an equal quantity of bread flour, as we have in our recipe.
Serves: 4 people
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Calories: 232 kcal per serving (excludes sauce)
- 400g bread flour
- 200ml warm water
- Pinch of salt
- Wooden board
Make the dough
- On a clean marble or wooden work surface, pile your flour and pinch of salt into a mound.
- Make a well in the centre of the mound large enough to contain the water.
- Gently pour the water into the well.
- Gradually add the flour to the water, slowly incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. As the mixture thickens, start using your hands with a scraper to continue incorporating the flour.
Knead the dough
- Clean the work surface of any excess flour or dough bits that weren’t incorporated. Then lightly flour your clean work surface.
- Knead the dough by pressing the heel of one hand into the ball, keeping your fingers high.
- Press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you. The dough should stretch and roll under your hand to create a shell-like shape.
- Turn the dough over, then press into the dough with your knuckles, one hand at a time. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch.
- Roll the dough into a smooth ball.
Let the dough rest
- Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.
Once your dough is made, all you have to decide is what shape you want to roll it into. Here’s a few guides to making some of our favourite pasta bianca shapes:
- How to make orecchiette pasta
- How to make busiate pasta
- How to make trofie pasta
- How to make strozzapreti
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.