Drying Durum Pasta

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Before the invention of mechanical driers, manufacturers held the new pasta at ambient temperatures and humidities for days or weeks. Early industrial driers operated at 100–140°F/ 40–60°C and took about a day. Modern drying takes only two to five hours and involves rapid predrying at or above 185°F/84°C, and then a more extended phase of drying and resting periods. The modern high-temperature method rapidly inactivates enzymes that can destroy the yellow xanthophyll pigments and cause brown discoloration, and it cross-links some of the gluten protein and produces a firmer, less sticky cooked noodle. However, proponents of slow drying say that high heat also damages flavor.