PREPARE FRESH PASTA WITH ANCIENT GRAINS: WHAT CHANGES?

Flying over corn or chickpea flour, the same wheat flour hides a world that goes beyond the candour we are used to. It can be wholemeal or wholemeal seeds, soft wheat or durum wheat. It can even be the fruit of ancient grains, that is, varieties produced before the Second World War.

In this article we will see the difference between common flour and ancient grain flour, focusing on the variety of Senatore Cappelli. Above all, we will see how this changes the yield of fresh pasta and the taste. Who knows if the subject doesn’t appeal to you and push you to open a fresh pasta franchise store.

What is the difference between ancient grains and common flour?

Ancient grains are not always as “ancient” as the name suggests. Some varieties date back to the 1960s, not so long ago. What distinguishes ancient and modern grains, in fact, is the purpose for which they were selected. Modern grains are those grown for industrial purposes, with characteristics designed for mass food production.

Modern grains must be productive so that more flour can be obtained from less cultivated land. However, they must also be resistant to industrial processing and high temperatures to shorten production times. This results in a more glutinous flour, which allows the drying temperature to be raised from 40°C once to 120°C today. In this way, industrial pasta dries in less time and more can be produced.

Unfortunately, one of the once-essential selection criteria has been lost: taste. Ancient grains were selected on the basis of productivity and taste since today’s industrial processes did not exist. This is why fresh and dry pasta made from ancient grains is tastier, even if it is more delicate in terms of processing.

Senatore Cappelli, an old but “new” flour

We have already talked about ancient grains, in reference to one of our baking courses. Some of the varieties already examined could also be interesting for our school of fresh pasta, but there is one essential missing: Senatore Cappelli. It is one of the oldest grains most appreciated for pasta, because of its organoleptic properties.

The ancient grain Senatore Cappelli is not so ancient: it was created at the beginning of the twentieth century by the geneticist Nazareno Strampelli from the Marche region, who gave it the name of a senator of the time. Having an excellent yield and an excellent taste, it was the most widely grown wheat in southern Italy throughout the first half of the century. It disappeared around the 1960s and was replaced by better grains for industrial production. Senator Cappelli has two defects:

  • is high, therefore more difficult to cultivate and more sensitive to atmospheric agents;
  • has relatively little gluten, so it is more difficult to work.

These two defects, however, translate into as many qualities:

  • does not need herbicides, as it suffocates weeds thanks to its height;
  • is well tolerated by those who suffer from gluten sensitivity, although not suitable for celiac disease. Remember this if you want to open a business based on fresh pasta.

 How does the exclusive license of Cappelli work?

Senatore Cappelli’s fresh pasta has a great taste, it is rich in proteins and micronutrients. Although it is not suitable for industrial production, therefore, it is a grain loved by those who decide to open a fresh pasta franchise store. In recent years, however, a problem has arisen regarding the licensing of this grain and the designation of products based on hats.

The Council for Research in Agriculture holds the seed of Senatore Cappelli in purity. In 2016, it published a notice for the exclusive license of the rights of multiplication of the grain, won by the Italian Seed Society. Those who cultivate Senatore Capelli must buy seeds from the SIS. Once the wheat has been harvested, they must sell the crop to the SIS at an agreed price. If they don’t, the flour obtained from that wheat is to be considered generic “durum wheat flour”.

Let’s say you want to open a business based on fresh pasta. Among your products, there is also some wonderful tagliatelle by Senatore Capelli, produced with flour bought from a trusted consortium. If the flour does not follow the above procedure, it is not Senatore Cappelli “official”. Consequently, you cannot sell your product as “Senatore Cappelli wheat pasta”.

The Antitrust Authority is evaluating how legitimate this is.

Senator’s Noodles Homemade Hair

To learn how to use ancient grains in a workmanlike manner, we recommend our school of fresh pasta. In the meantime, you can start with this simple recipe.

  • 350 grams of Senatore Cappelli flour;
  • 3 medium eggs;
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil;
  • cold water, if necessary.

All you have to do is knead the flour and eggs, adding the oil and – if the dough is very hard – the water. Work the dough until it becomes smooth and silky; it will probably take longer than usual, given the small amount of gluten. Let it rest for 30 minutes and roll it out with a rolling pin. At this point sprinkle the dough with a layer of flour, roll it up and cut it into slices.

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