Cold water soak for dry pasta instead of par cook

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Joined Jun 14, 2002
Anyone try this method for production?

I was just reading about this method in Ideas in Food.

They soak the dry pasta for 1 to 4 hours, depending on shape and water temp, in a 4:1 water to pasta ratio. The soaked pasta has a similar texture to the parcooked. The main advantages of the method seem to be, that it doesn't stick together as much when cooked, much easier prep, and it's harder to mess up compared to parcooking. Additionally, they've flavored the soaking water on occasion to good results. Cooking time seems to be the same.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Don't understand the advantages

If you use enough water and stir every now and then, it won't stick either.

Still have to fill a container with water, add in the pasta, and drain it off, albeit after 4 hrs

You can flavour the water any way you want to when you cook with it as well.
 
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Can't see any real advantage. Only thing I would ask is "Does it make it better/"  If not  then why do it.
 
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"cooling" pasta is dead simple, and if any true Italain caught you doing it any other way than what I describe below, well then watch out.  I didn't "invent" this method, but it makes a whole lot of sense, and it is the best thing for quality pasta.

Drain off pasta, spread out on a cookie sheet, drizzle lightly with oil, toss a few times, and forget about it untill cool. 
 
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The only advantage I see is that it's more pliable. I see what the OP is saying, it saves time with making sure all the pasta is in the boiling water at the same time, there is no time for bull**** on a front line.....................
 
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1,103
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Joined Jun 14, 2002
I just figured it would cut down on prep time.

It also improves quality of pasta's like penne, which have a tendency to split with improper parcooking.
 
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
I personally think this will not work.  When those puppies hit the boiling water the starch expands. It keeps expanding until it explodes

and starts to exude the starch. Yor know, like a pimple.

  I have to believe that if none of the starch leaves it will make for a soggy dense pasta not to mention the sauce won't stick.

I might be wrong but I do know that if you cool your pasta nothing is going to stick.

Ah screw it, I'm home and I'm going to dump a pound. Check back in 4 hrs. although I think I already know the results.

As I think more about it, when that soaked pasta hit heats it is then going to release starch and probably ruin the dish.
 
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When I first got into this industry back in '92, we soaked our pasta in cold salt water and left it in the cooler until the morning. It never turned out al dente and was very expanded. We drained and portioned it and at service when it hit any sauce, the sauce became watered down.
 
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Ahh, gawd...

Life's too short for cheap pasta.

Stay away from that supplier/bargain brand stuff and cook off some real stuff.
 
1,103
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Joined Jun 14, 2002
When I first got into this industry back in '92, we soaked our pasta in cold salt water and left it in the cooler until the morning. It never turned out al dente and was very expanded. We drained and portioned it and at service when it hit any sauce, the sauce became watered down.

Well, all night was probably the issue. The authors of the book soaked it for no more then 4 hours for the thickest.
 
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Ahh, gawd...

Life's too short for cheap pasta.
Maybe, but personally I draw the line when the pasta is more expensive then what you're putting on it.

From the prices differences for top of the line pasta, I refuse to believe that bronze dies are THAT inefficient.
 
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I tried it for dinner tonight with regular thickness spaghetti with a 1 1/2 hour soak in unsalted tap water. It's certainly no worse then parcooking it. It cooks differently then parcooked, more evenly. The center of the noodle is already hyrdrated in the soaked version, so you're pretty much just waiting for it to heat up. In the parcooked noodle, the center is a little drier then the rest of the noodle. Subtle difference, especially if you're cooking softer then al dente as per many American tastes, but I think I like the texture of the soaked noodles a bit better. Served it with a very light tomato sauce.
 
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Originally Posted by panini  

Ah screw it, I'm home and I'm going to dump a pound. Check back in 4 hrs. although I think I already know the results.
And...???

Regardless of what anyone says, I have to try this myself.

Y'know, just for kicks. 

Tincook, what was your h2o temp? just cold?
 
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