well kneaded to ensure sufficient development of a gluten network.
The sticking together of pasta
During cooking, if the protein network is formed before the starch gelatinises, pasta holds its shape
well and will not stick because the starch molecules do not have enough time to leak out. However, if
the gelatinisation occurs before the protein network is formed, some of the starch molecules that have
leaked out of the starch granules from one pasta strand might get tangled up with a surface starch
molecule from another strand of pasta, causing the two strands to stick together. Starch molecules
that have totally leaked out will rise to the surface to form the foam often seen on cooking pasta.
For pasta containing eggs, stickiness can be reduced by increasing the proportion of egg in the dough
– increasing the proportion of egg increases the amount of proteins present in relation to the starch
granules, so an improved protein network is formed, which prevents the starch from having enough
time to leak out.
How to prevent pasta strands from sticking together during cooking
The cooking water
1. The risk of non-egg pastas from sticking can be reduced by using a large quantity of water
when cooking the pasta, to prevent the contact between neighbouring pasta strands and
reduce the overall quantity of released starch in the cooking water; and by boiling it vigorously
– the strong convention currents on vigorous boiling will help prevent the pasta strands from
2. Occasional stirring also helps to keep the pasta pieces separate (but excessive stirring may
encourage damage to the pasta structure which may encourage the leakage of more starch.
3. If oil has been added to the cooking water, although it will not mix with the water but stay on
the surface during cooking, when the pasta is drained, the oil will be distributed evenly over
the pasta surface, covering the pasta and preventing the pasta pieces from sticking together.
4. Equally, cooking in slightly acidic water, (ie by adding a little vinegar or lemon juice) keeps the