Our journey to creating this whole-wheat pasta recipe took many years and different iterations. My husband has always been an avid pasta consumer, and we used to buy copious amounts of plain white pasta.
After several years together we obtained our first pasta rolling machine, which allowed us to hand-make our pasta at home as a once-in-a-while treat. We also switched over to store-bought whole-wheat pasta as our usual purchase when I was pregnant with my oldest.
Another step that helped moved the needle was when my husband got a Philips Pasta Extruder as a Christmas gift. This meant homemade pasta was much more accessible, but still wasn’t our standard.
When we decided to participate in a Pantry Challenge (two whole months where we didn’t buy any groceries!) our pasta machine got its workout. We also decided to use our own home-ground flour for our whole-wheat pasta recipe.
Can I use store-bought wheat flour?
You certainly can. You may want to reduce the ratio of all-purpose flour included in the recipe. Also, start with slightly less liquid as home-ground flour can absorb more liquid than most other flours
Using whole-wheat flour from the store will, obviously, not provide the nutrition benefits of home-ground flour.
We have been very impressed with our kitchen wheat grinder, but it is an sizable investment for anyone who is interested in whole-food cooking.
Can I use a traditional pasta roller for this whole-wheat pasta recipe?
Yes. A typical hand-crank pasta roller is a more-affordable option, and can be a fun way to get into pasta making. If you have a KitchenAid you may want to get an automatic pasta roller that attaches to your mixer.
However, if you want to be able to make this whole-wheat pasta recipe on a larger scale, as we do, a pasta extruder makes the entire process much quicker and simpler. We make nearly 5,500 grams (over 12 lbs) of pasta per batch and freeze it in little nests.
You will need a kitchen scale for this recipe. measuring with a cup is not an accurate way to make this whole-wheat pasta recipe. Additionally, home-ground flour does not measure the same way as compact bagged flour.
If you find you love homemade pasta then consider investing in an extruder.
What kind of wheat should I use?
We have been using hard red winter wheat. It makes a wonderful mild-flavored and hearty pasta, which we thoroughly enjoy.
Durum semolina would be the traditional wheat berry to use in this recipe. We also have friends who have used Khorasan with good success.
Please let me know in the comments if you have experimented with some of these other wheat varieties. I will report back in this post if we try other varieties in the future.
Is homemade pasta cheaper than store-bought?
Let me quickly break down the math for you using our local home-ground pasta recipe. Prices, of course, are subject to change.
Also bear in mind that these are Amazon prices—we are able to make home-ground pasta for far cheaper than plain pasta at our grocery store because of where we source our ingredients. Please shop around for your whole wheat berries and find what is the cheapest quality product available to you.
At time of writing, it costs a minimum of $0.12 per ounce for bulk white pasta. You can find whole grain spaghetti for roughly the same cost, although the price quickly goes up depending on brand/quality/source.
We use locally grown organic wheat berries in our whole-wheat pasta recipe, which is optimal. However, for purposes of this equation let’s use this bulk Amazon wheat, at $0.15 an ounce ($0.53 per 100g). You can then get organic all-purpose flour for $0.16 and ounce ($0.56 per 100g).
The water in the recipe is free, and one egg will cost about $0.40 to create almost 9 ounces (250g) of pasta.
In the end, your fresh pasta works out to about $0.19 per ounce.
Now, that seems a little more expensive than the cheapest store-bought pasta, and it is. However, bear in mind that you have created a much higher-quality product using organic ingredients and whole, unfortified ingredients.
Here, we actually spend significantly less using our wheat from a local farmer, compared to buying even cheap pasta in our grocery store. This makes our home-ground pasta recipe cheaper than anything available in the grocery store. The difference is enough to justify our ownership of a Philips pasta machine.
I suggest doing a cost and personal-value analysis to decide what is right for you.
Can I use 100% home-ground wheat flour?
So, technically you can. We did start out using fully home-ground flour in this recipe.
The noodles were tasty, and they did hold their shape. However, they didn’t quite hit all the points my husband looks for in a good, satisfying bite of pasta.
Additionally, the bran in the fully home-ground pasta recipe caused a build-up in our pasta extruder after several rounds, and we had to pause the operation and pull our lumps of dried dough from our machine. It did not feel healthy to our machine, but this new iteration with all-purpose mixed in has solved all these problems in our whole-wheat pasta recipe.
Can I preserve this whole-wheat pasta recipe?
You can, and you should.
Freezing our home-ground pasta has made this recipe wonderfully functional for our household.
We wrap the raw pasta into little nests, that we freeze in freezer bags. Each bundle of pasta can be thrown directly into boiling water where it cooks up in several minutes.
You can also hang the pasta to air dry, and store in the pantry as dry pasta. However, this can be a messy and somewhat difficult process. You can buy a pasta rack to make it simpler.
For us, freezing is a simple and accessible solution.
Use this whole-wheat pasta recipe in a way that works for you
As you go forward in your whole-wheat pasta recipe adventures, feel free to experiment and find the best solution for you and your family’s pasta needs.
For us, making large batches with a pasta extruder means we have fresh home-ground pasta on hand whenever the hankering hits.
It takes my husband an hour and fifteen minutes to make over 12 lbs of these whole-wheat noodles. We always enjoy some fresh out of the machine, and tuck the majority into freezer bags to enjoy over the coming weeks.
- 150 grams whole-wheat flour
- 100 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- Additional water to bring liquid to 95 grams
- Using a kitchen scale, measure 150 grams of whole-wheat flour. We use home-ground flour made from hard red winter wheat. Substitute bought whole-wheat flour or fresh-ground Khorasan or Durum wheat.
- Once your whole-wheat is measured, add in 100 grams of all-purpose flour, again using a kitchen scale.
- If using a hand-pasta roller or a mixer accessory roller, make a well in the center of your flour. If you are using a pasta extruder, add the flour directly to the hopper of your machine.
- Tare you kitchen scale with a cup or small bowl. Add one egg to the bowl, and then slowly add cold water until the scale reaches a total of 95 grams of liquid.
- If using a pasta roller, pour the liquid into the well in the flour. Mix together with a fork, until the dough starts to pull together and become stiff. Use your hands to knead the dough until the liquid is fully incorporated. If you're using an extruder, turn on the machine and slowly add the liquid through the holes in the lid.
- If you are using an extruder, follow the machine's instructions. (Ours extrudes finished pasta from this point.) If you are using a hand or mixer roller, portion out quarter of the dough and flatten/roll it into a narrow strip. You will then follow the instructions with your roller and begin putting the dough through the roller until you slowly reach the desired thickness. Then pass the the length of dough through the cutter to achieve your noodles.
- Fresh noodles cook quickly in boiling water, only taking about three minutes until floating. Alternatively, dry them on a pasta rack or roll them into small nests, which you can freeze in a freezer bag. Remove the needed amount of pasta and add to boiling water to cook.
We multiply this recipe many times over to make multiple batches in our pasta extruder. This way we always have fresh pasta on hand in the freezer.