Pasta machines are handy appliances that simplify the pasta making process. These gadgets save you the effort of hand cutting and hand crafting your dough.
The first rudimentary pasta maker arrived to the United States in 1789. President Thomas Jefferson brought it back with him after a trip to Europe. From there onwards, pasta makers have evolved considerably. There are a range of pasta making machines and related accessories on the market.
Like any kitchen appliance, maintenance is essential. Taking good care of your pasta machine at all times improves both performance and longevity. We’ll detail everything you should know about cleaning your pasta machine.
Types of Pasta Machine
There are two categories of pasta maker: electric and manual. The manual pasta makers are usually more simplistic than the electric versions.
Manual Pasta Machines
Manual pasta makers have existed for decades. Before they existed, preparing fresh pasta was done entirely by hand.
These traditional devices are operated by a hand crank. However, you will still have to knead the dough by hand. Once it is ready, you just feed it through the machine.
Certain pasta makers have rollers to flatten the dough into sheets of uniform thickness. You can then cut or form them into your desired shape, such as ravioli.
Other machines are built differently, to produce long pasta like spaghetti or angel hair. They have sharp rollers that segment the dough into evenly sized noodles.
There are even pasta machines that are handheld and portable. You insert the dough through the top and select the attachment of your choice for the desired type of pasta.
Electric Pasta Machines
Electric pasta machines are far more advanced than their manual counterparts. Some machines automate the whole ordeal for you. They can mix, knead, and process the dough, with minimal effort on your part.
These machines often come with numerous accessories and add-ons. You have versatile options for when it comes to preparing different sorts of pasta.
As expected, convenience comes at a cost. The electric pasta machines are usually much more expensive than the manual ones. They’re also more complex in terms of maintenance.
How to Clean a Manual Pasta Machine
You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, if you have them. If not, there are other techniques you can use to clean your machine.
Firstly, take into account your machine’s build. Some devices can be dismantled. Others cannot—and should not—be taken apart.
The next thing to consider is the materials. Manual pasta machines are typically made of wood or metal. They can include plastic components (e.g. the crank handle). One cleaning method might not be appropriate for the whole machine.
Before cleaning, remove any pieces or accessories that you can. These can be cleaned separately.
For machines of any type, start with a dough cleaning. Prepare a batch of dough with inexpensive flour. Run the dough through the machine repeatedly to collect leftover bits.
To get stubborn dough out, you can use brushes or compressed air canisters. Be sure that the brush is not abrasive, as it can scratch certain metals or woods.
You can also make use of a firm wooden stick. This can be used to pick out any pieces that a brush or air canister cannot reach. You can repeat a dough cleaning afterwards.
Stainless steel is the metal of choice for most kitchen appliances. It’s resistant to rust, incredibly durable, and easy to clean.
However, this doesn’t mean the whole machine can be submerged in water. Unless the manufacturer indicates this will not cause damage, don’t try it.
You can wipe down the machine with cleaning wipes, just make sure to avoid the rollers. Wash off residue with a clean, damp cloth. You can then dry and polish the machine.
Other types of metal, such as copper, can corrode if left wet. It’s important when wiping down the machine that you make sure it is completely dry afterwards.
If you’re using cleaning wipes on your machine, check that they will not react negatively with the metal. Plain water on a clean cloth is the best option for metals that are not stainless steel.
Dough cleaning is usually sufficient with wood machines. You can wipe down the exterior of the machine with a damp cloth if necessary. Still, dry it thoroughly afterwards. Wood and moisture do not mix well.
Plastic is generally amenable to cleaning, especially if it is food-grade plastic. Cleaning wipes can be used on the machine’s exterior and base. Do not run chemical wipes or products through the rollers, as they can leave residue.
Take care when handling sharp plates or attachments. If your pasta machine does not come apart, keep your fingers away from the rollers at all times.
How to Clean an Electric Pasta Machine
Electric pasta machines are built for convenience. Many of them have detachable accessories that can be washed separately.
Most brands will indicate how to wash their respective attachments. For example, stainless steel removable parts may be dishwasher safe. Most plastics can be washed with hot water and soap, by hand.
If you’re not sure if an item can be run through the dishwasher, err on the side of caution. A thorough hand washing will clean plastic or stainless steel just as well.
Always allow cleaned attachments to dry completely before using them again.
Do not unscrew or take apart your machine if the manufacturer advises against it. You could cause it to malfunction. This is dangerous with electronic appliances and permanent damage can occur.
For the machine body, you can wipe it down with a wet cloth. Do not soak or submerge the whole machine in water.
Take precautions not to wet the cord of your electric pasta machine while cleaning. Never clean the machine while it is plugged in.
How Often Should I Clean My Pasta Machine?
Pasta machines should be cleaned after each use. Now, this does not mean you should perform a deep clean every single time.
A little light maintenance will be enough to save you time later. Run a batch of dough through a manual pasta machine once you finish using it. For electric machines, wash the attachments and accessories.
Putting your pasta machine away dirty is not good for the machine. Additionally, trapped dough is more difficult to clean if it’s allowed to harden and stick.
A thorough cleaning should be performed every once in a while. This will vary, depending on the machine and the amount of time it is used.
If you’re using your pasta machine rarely, this might be every few weeks. For those who make pasta frequently, you might have to do so once a week.