Have you tried making pasta with your children? It can be a bit messy and the children may need a little help, but it's worth giving it a go. I've seen pasta being made in Peta's toddler class! It's absolutely possible to make pasta with young children.
We use 250 grams of 00 flour, but all-purpose or plain flour will work, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 whole eggs, and 3 egg yolks. We use a little more flour to flour the table and the pasta machine. Sometimes we need extra flour on the pasta dough if it feels sticky. I pre-measure the ingredients and put them on Otto's (3yrs) baking table.
First, mix the dry ingredients and then make a well. Add the wet ingredients slowly and mix.
As the pasta dough gets firm, young children may need help mixing. I allow Otto to mix as much as he can and once he tires I give it a mix to bring it all together.
Mixing the dough is fantastic for strengthening the hand and arms!
Sprinkling the flour on the baking table is Otto's favorite part. Children's preferences change so quickly but as much as possible I allow Otto to take as much time as he likes on each part of the process. Some things he does quickly and others like sprinkling the flour, he takes a long time and does with a lot of care and attention.
We've been attending a playgroup where each week the children make bread. So Otto's kneading skills have increased significantly! Although the pasta dough is more dense than bread and I will also give it a little knead. Then we pop the pasta dough into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
We pause and clean up while the pasta is resting. Otherwise, there is too much flour and mess at the end.
Once the pasta has rested we cut the dough in half and put one half aside. We knead the other half a little then pass it through the pasta machine at the widest setting, for us that is at 7. Then we fold the dough and pass it through on the 6, and 5 settings. The dough looks a little rough but as it passes through the machine it gets smoother and silkier.
Otto could do this all day. He loves turning the handle and passing the pasta through the machine.
Now Otis is helping and the pasta dough is nice and smooth.
We tried the spaghetti setting but had better results on the fettuccine setting. So fettuccine it is! While it is possible to do this alone, a young child may need some help, perhaps someone to feed the pasta into the machine while they focus on turning the handle.
It's like magic. Flour + eggs + a little hard work = pasta!
Hanging the pasta is another step that children really enjoy.
This is a wonderful practical life activity!!