Pasta makers simplify the process for making pasta immensely, allowing you to feel like a culinary genius with just a few steps. Once your pasta is made, cleaning your machine is of the utmost importance.
How do you clean a pasta maker? You cannot put a pasta machine in the dishwasher or even hand wash it along with the rest of your dishes. Every time you use your pasta machine you must take apart all the detachable pieces and polish them with a dry cloth or cleaning brush. No water or soap is required.
This may sound like a lot of work but once you get started, it’s not difficult. This article will walk you through all the steps of disassembling and cleaning your pasta maker.
What Is a Pasta Machine?
While it’s easy to grab a box or bag of pasta from any supermarket, there is something very satisfying and empowering about making your own pasta from scratch.
The dough is simple, requiring only a few basic ingredients. However, turning the dough into thin sheets that can be sliced into different widths, shapes, and sizes requires more skill.
Pasta makers allow you to roll your pasta dough to perfectly thin and even sheets, ready to be sliced any way you desire. Some machines even cut the dough for you.
Pasta Rollers, Cutters, and Extruders
Pasta makers are available in a variety of formats, ranging from simple rollers to combination cutters and extruders.
A pasta roller is designed to roll your dough evenly, usually allowing for a variety of choices in terms of thickness.
Similarly, a cutter is designed to cut sheets of pasta into varying widths for different varieties of pasta. Some machines are sold separately and others combine these two tasks into one.
Pasta extruders are either add-on appliances or manual devices that cut sheets of pasta into a wider variety of shapes than a basic cutter will provide.
The right extruders can help you create every type of pasta you can imagine, from penne to rigatoni and even the basics such as spaghetti and macaroni.
Manual Pasta Maker
Manual pasta makers are typically designed mainly for rolling out your dough. Though some can be upgraded with attachments, most produce simple sheets.
The maker will clamp onto a surface like a table or counter and the dough is then fed through manually, using a crank.
Manual pasta makers typically require 2 people to operate efficiently. One person turns the handle and feeds the dough into the roller and the other holds the rolled dough to carefully produce a long sheet of pasta.
Electric Pasta Makers
Electric pasta makers, as the name implies, are powered by electricity. Because they are self-powered, they can make pasta much more quickly.
Most machines will also have a variety of add-ons and upgrades that can be attached to produce a wider variety of pasta types.
As with most things, the more complex the machinery is, the more careful you have to be about taking care of it to prevent it from breaking down. Also, the more moving parts it has, the trickier the cleaning process can become.
How to Take Apart a Pasta Machine
Every brand and model of pasta maker will differ slightly, so it’s always a good idea to keep the instructions that come with your machine.
Traditional, manual pasta makers may require screwdrivers to get all the pieces apart. More modern models, especially electric machines, will likely have a variety of detachable parts.
If your pasta maker is electric, make sure to unplug the machine before trying to clean it!
Detach every removable piece you can and clean each piece individually. Even the most basic machines will require you to separate the rollers from the scraper plates.
More complex machines will have more pieces to separate, but this will be dependant on every unique model.
How to Clean a Pasta Maker
Once all the pieces of your pasta maker have been detached and pulled apart and any remaining bits of dough have been removed to the best of your ability, it’s time to clean the machine.
In nearly every situation, the best way to clean a pasta maker and all its attachments is to simply use a dry or barely damp cloth to wipe all the surfaces. You do not need to use a lot of soap or water and, in fact, you should try not to.
Never try to run a cloth through a pasta machine. Only wipe the surfaces carefully once they’ve been fully removed. Moisture near any of the moving parts can cause rust and ruin your machine.
Even if you’ve made egg pasta, you do not need to use soap. Bacteria cannot live on the metal components of the machine unless you leave physical particles.
Using a dry cloth to remove all flour is a perfectly sufficient way to clean your machine.
Can Pasta Makers Go in the Dishwasher?
No, pasta makers should never be put in the dishwasher, regardless of whether they are manual or electric.
Depending on the type of machine you have, some attachments may claim to be dishwasher safe, but it’s our opinion that carefully handwashing all parts of a pasta machine is the best way to extend its lifespan.
It’s also important that you never fully submerge a pasta maker, even a manual machine.
All pasta makers have small moving parts that would be impossible to dry quickly and may rust or retain soap that will contaminate future batches of pasta.
So how do you wash your pasta maker? Keep reading!
Pasta Machine Cleaning Brush
There are cleaning brushes that you can use to clean your pasta machine instead of a cloth. The brushes can get into the smaller nooks and crannies where a cloth may not be able to.
Suggested: DanziX 4 Pack Coffee Grinder Brushes
These wooden cleaning brushes for grinders and pasta makers have two different styles of brushes made from natural pig bristles.
They’re specially designed to remove fine particles without scratching or damaging sharp blades. They also have wooden handles to protect your fingers from those very same sharp blades.
How to Clean KitchenAid Pasta Roller
A KitchenAid stand mixer is one of the most popular kitchen appliances across North America.
The sheer number of attachments that this machine can be equipped with is impressive, to say the least. It is no surprise, therefore, that there is a pasta roller and cutter set.
Since the pieces of the rollers and cutters do not come apart like the majority of other pasta machines, KitchenAid recommends letting the parts dry for at least 1 hour before you try to remove the leftover pieces of dough and flour.
Once the dough has hardened, it should come off easily by simply tapping the rollers or using a toothpick to nudge out any remaining particles.
Polish the pieces with a dry cloth to the best of your ability. Don’t use water on these attachments, but do consider lubricating them after approximately 50 uses.
How to Clean Attachments for Pasta Makers
If the manufacturer explicitly states the detachable pieces are dishwasher safe, you can place them in the dishwasher.
Even if they’re stainless steel, however, the high temperatures in a dishwasher will deteriorate the finish of your attachments much more quickly than simply handwashing with soap and a cloth.
As with the pasta machine itself, it’s incredibly important that you don’t allow any moisture to remain on the attachments which can cause them to rust.
Cleaning the attachments in the same manner as the rest of the machine is sufficient. Allowing the attachment to dry for an hour or more before you try to clean it helps immensely.
Simply use a toothpick or skewer to remove any visible pieces and give the attachments a good tap to remove any leftover flour. You can also blow compressed air through the holes if you feel it needs more force.
How to Remove Rust from a Pasta Machine
If your pasta machine has been exposed to water and has started to rust, you may be able to save it.
The first step is to lubricate your machine. Add a few drops of mineral oil to the roller, using a brush to distribute the oil.
Next, make a batch of scrap dough to run through the machine. You only need to use flour and water and run it through as many times as it takes to work off as much of the rust as possible.
If you’re still seeing discoloration on your dough, you’ll need to disassemble the pieces and try to scrub off the rust using very gentle steel wool. This will work better on stainless steel parts than chrome, which dulls much more easily.
Add a small amount of rubbing alcohol or white vinegar to a cloth and rub any remaining rust dust off. Vinegar and alcohol will evaporate much more quickly and thoroughly than water.
If the rust is more than just superficial or cosmetic and these steps have not solved the issue, you may have to start looking for some replacement parts.
Dough Stuck in Pasta Machine
When you’re taking your machine apart and getting ready to clean it, it’s handy to have some wooden skewers and toothpicks on hand, as well as a few pieces of scrap dough.
If there is any dough stuck in your machine, you will want to remove it before you try to wash the piece.
Easily accessible pieces of dough can usually be collected by rolling a piece of scrap dough over the stuck bits.
You’ll need to be sure your scrap dough is not too dry to pick up the remnants but also not sticky or wet, which will just add to the mess.
If there seems to be a large amount of dough stuck inside the machine, you may want to run a large enough piece of scrap dough through the pasta maker to collect any broken off bits and pieces.
Adjust the thickness so that the scrap dough has enough pressure to collect what is stuck. You may need to do this a few times.
If there is dough stuck inside the machine or any of the attachments, use the wooden skewer or toothpick to poke it out. Using a bit of flour can help dry the stuck pasta and make it easier to crumble out of the machine.
Mineral Oil for Pasta Machines
If you notice your pasta is slightly discolored when it is run through your machine, it may need some good lubrication. Another sign that it’s time to give your pasta maker some extra TLC is if you hear squeaking when the wheels turn.
Lubricating your pasta maker is something that should be done once or twice a year, depending on usage, but certainly not every time you use it.
It’s not difficult or expensive, but it can keep your machine running smoothly and make it easier to clean once you’re finished with it.
Start with a clean, dry machine and pull all the pieces apart. The only part of the machine that needs to be lubricated is the cutting rollers. Add just a few drops of oil to each end of the rollers. You can use a brush to distribute the oil evenly.
You can now put your pasta maker back together and not only will it operate more smoothly, but it will be easier to clean once you’re finished rolling and/or cutting all your pasta.
Can I Make Pasta Without a Pasta Maker?
You can make pasta without a pasta maker!
Pasta makers are wonderfully efficient at rolling dough evenly and thinly, but with a good rolling pin, some patience, and a careful touch, you can achieve the same results without a machine.
To cut your pasta, you can simply use a sharp knife. Depending on the type of pasta you’re making, using a straight edge will likely come in handy.
When you’re rolling pasta dough by hand, it’s crucially important to let your dough rest. The gluten needs to relax or it will continuously snap back, causing frustration and potentially leading you to overwork your dough.
Why Is My Pasta Machine Not Cutting Properly?
If your pasta machine is not cutting through your dough properly, there are several potential culprits.
These are the possible reasons:
- Your pasta dough or sheets may be too wet
- The cutters on the machine may be misaligned or dull
- The sheets or dough may be too thick to cut through or the thickness setting on your machine may need to be adjusted
- The blades may have a build-up of oil and/or moisture and need to be cleaned
- You may have dough stuck between the rollers
This is not an exhaustive list of possibilities, but they are the most common reasons your pasta machine might not cut properly.
Can You Use a Pasta Roller for Cookie Dough?
Pasta rollers can be used for a wide variety of foods that begin as a dough, as long as that dough isn’t overly sticky. This is as true for cookies as it is for pastries or craft dough.
Most pasta rollers offer a variety of thicknesses but it may not work for all types of cookies; it will depend on what you’re baking.
Rolling cookie dough through a pasta roller will work best with smooth dough, rather than cookies that include crunchy bits like nuts or chocolate chips.
If you want extras in your cookies, you can press them into the dough once it is rolled and cut.
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