Pasta Drying Rack
A pasta drying rack is an excellent addition to any kitchen. The primary reason why fresh pasta needs to be dried is due to the fact that it cannot be stored until it's dry enough, after which it has to be sealed in airtight ziplock bags. This guide will take you through the various types of pasta drying racks, why you need them, and where to obtain quality pasta drying racks.
What Is Pasta?
Pasta is an Italian dish consisting of dough that’s prepared using durum wheat and water. The dough gets extruded or stamped into the required shapes and can be cooked by boiling it in water.
Pasta can be divided into two major categories: dried and fresh pasta. Dried varieties are
produced and dried commercially via the extrusion process. Fresh varieties, on the other hand, are prepared by hand as per the traditional recipe. Further reading material: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasta
What Is A Pasta Drying Rack?
A pasta drying rack refers to any specially designed tool with flat thin surfaces that allow pasta strands to be hung on while they dry. Pasta drying racks vary in size, design, and materials used. As a result, there’s a rack for every pasta variety, allowing the individual strands to dry without sticking together and retaining the required pasta shape.
Do You Need A Pasta Drying Rack?
Yes, a pasta drying rack is required as the fresh pasta that's been shaped needs to be hung immediately in order to dry uniformly. As a result, the fresh pasta retains the desired shape instead of breaking due to inconsistent drying.
Reasons To Buy A Pasta Drying Rack
1. Dry Pasta Quickly
A pasta drying rack is well-spaced to ensure maximum airflow between the pasta strands allowing them to dry quickly. It's important to note that fresh pasta is more susceptible to contamination as it requires fresh ingredients. Therefore, it makes sense to dry the fresh pasta strands as quickly as possible to avoid contamination.2. Avoid Contamination
Hanging extruded fresh pasta strands on a pasta drying rack instead of laying them on a flat surface reduces the risk of contamination before they can fully dry. Hanging pasta on a drying rack also increases the rate at which the strands dry up, thus reducing the amount of time they have to remain exposed to the room air, which might contain bacterial and fungal contaminants. The probability of the ending up with dirt sticking on to the dried pasta also decreases when you use a proper pasta drying rack.3. Reduce Wastage
Hanging fresh pasta strands on uneven surfaces results in increased breakage even before the pasta gets moved into airtight storage.
How To Use A Pasta Drying Rack
- Gently drape the fresh pasta strands on to a pasta drying rack taking care not to leave them touching. Having space between the ribbons prevents them from drying up while sticking to each other and also increases the airflow allowing the strands to dry much faster.
- Allow the pasta strands to dry to a brittle and crispy texture. Transfer the dry pasta strands into an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 months in the pantry.
Considerations Before Buying A Pasta Drying Rack
The material used to make the pasta drying rack will determine just how easy it is to clean the rack after every batch of fresh pasta dried on it. Materials such as BPA free plastics are easy to clean compared to the wood, while stainless steel is aesthetically pleasing and can be cleaned more easily. The material used will also influence the longevity of the drying rack. Wooden and plastic racks will often crack under old age and exposure to the elements. On the other hand, stainless steel is much more durable. However, if you intend to dry large batches of fresh pasta regularly, you should opt for a commercial design, preferably one that’s sturdy enough to support regular use. It's important to remember that the large racks will also have more crevices that need to be cleaned, thus making the whole clean up job more complicated.2. Brand
When shopping for a pasta drying rack, choosing the best brand both in terms of rating and online presence will save you cost-wise and time-wise. This is because well-known brands tend to have a lot riding on the quality of their goods and customer reviews, and as a result, they cannot afford to ship low-quality products or fail to offer after-sale services. However, some brands tend to take advantage of this popularity and instead hike the prices of their best-selling goods, so it's still recommended to compare prices across at least the top 5 best-rated brands before settling on the product to get.3. Storage
After drying your fresh pasta you will have to clean the rack thoroughly before it can be moved into storage, whereby the design and shape of the rack will determine how much storage space it will require. It's recommended to get a rack that can be packed flat or one that's collapsible in order to save up on storage. Consider getting a storage bag to safely hold the pasta drying rack parts during storage to avoid losing parts of the contraption.4. Height (Can you hang long pasta?)
The height of your pasta drying rack will determine the length of pasta strands you can hang on it. Therefore, getting a tall pasta drying rack will come in handy when preparing fresh pasta and want to extrude it into long strands.5. Price
There is a wide range of pasta drying racks to fit each budget ranging from premium high-end ones that will cost a pretty penny to cheap imports that are almost always plastic or cheap wood, but they will nonetheless serve the purpose.6. Quality
The quality of the material used and the quality of the entire build will determine how long the pasta drying rack will be used before it starts breaking. It's important to note that fresh pasta is quite heavy and will thus require a sturdy drying rack that can hold all that weight without breaking apart, which would also spoil the entire batch of pasta hanging on it.
Popular Pasta Drying Rack Designs And Styles
DIY And Homemade Designs1. DIY Bamboo Skewers And Water Bottle
Average Cost: $2- $5
How To Make A DIY Bamboo Skewers And Water Bottle Pasta Drying Rack
- An empty water/soft drink bottle, one liter or 2-liter bottle will do just fine
- 8 bamboo skewers- these can be bought cheaply in a 25 pack for less than $2. Check out our recommended bamboo skewers on Amazon.
- Lay the bottle flat on a table and pierce through it with the sharp end of a bamboo skewer taking care to get the entry and exit holes well lined up.
- Use more bamboo skewers to pierce two more sets of holes along the bottle length, ensuring that they are well spaced to avoid any contact that might happen between the fresh pasta strands that will be hung on the bamboo skewers.
2. DIY Dowels And Cereal Boxes Pasta Drying Rack
Average Cost: $7- $10
How To Make DIY Wooden Dowels And Cereal Boxes Pasta Drying Rack
- 3 wooden dowels- thin sized and at least 1 foot long. Check out our recommended wooden dowels on Amazon.
- Scotch tape
- 2 large cereal boxes- at least 13 inches tall
- Place the two cereal boxes at least 10 inches apart facing each other
- Lay the 3 wooden dowels on top of the boxes such that they are parallel to each other with at least 2 inches of space between them.
- Use the scotch tape to hold the dowels in place so that they don't move around while you hang the fresh pasta strands on your now complete DIY pasta drying rack.
Bamboo-based pasta drying racks are made using various sizes of bamboo, which can either be glued into place or designed to interlock and are often sturdy enough to hold up to 5 pounds of fresh pasta strands. As long as you clean the bamboo rack and store it well, it should serve you for a long time. Avoid storing the equipment in dump areas as the moisture will weaken the bamboo.
Average Cost:$10- $20
Where To Buy: Amazon sizes
BPA free plastic makes for a cheap and long-lasting material making it one of the most common materials in affordable pasta drying rack varieties. While plastic cannot withstand a lot of weight, most of the racks out there will comfortably hold more than 3 pounds of fresh pasta. It's important to remember that not all plastic varieties are safe - only go for FDA approved BPA free plastic pasta drying racks.
Average Cost: $10-$30
Where To Buy: Amazon
Commercial pasta drying racks are used in large pasta production facilities where multiple batches have to be dried every day. These are more specialized depending on the specific pasta variety that the business is working on and can even be equipped with heat and air redistribution mechanisms to hasten the process while also producing a more consistent job.
Average Cost: depends on the size of the operation
Where To Buy: ordering direct from the manufacturer
Wall-mounted pasta drying racks are much more economical in terms of space utilization as they can be mounted on the wall. They enable you to take full advantage of any unused area next to your kitchen walls to dry fresh pasta on the go. However, wall-mounted pasta drying racks will require professional installation to avoid damaging walls or end up with a substandard job.
Stainless steel pasta drying racks are by far the best in terms of cost-to-benefit ratio thanks to the sturdy nature of stainless steel. As a result, they can hold much more weight - up to 20 pounds of fresh pasta strands. Stainless steel does not rust and is much easier to clean after each batch compared to other materials.
Average Cost: $80- $150
Where To Buy: Amazon.com
How Long Should You Dry Fresh Pasta Before Cooking?
If you intend to cook the fresh pasta, you can simply dry it for as little as 15 minutes. However, if you intend to store it, ensure that the fresh pasta dries for at least 12 to 24 hours before sealing it in airtight containers.
How Do You Make A Pasta Drying Rack?
You can use items available in the kitchen to construct a temporary pasta drying rack such as cereal boxes and chopsticks.
Do I Need A Drying Rack For Pasta?
Yes, you will need a pasta drying rack to keep the individual strands of fresh pasta separated as they dry.
Is Fresh Pasta Healthier Than Dried?
Fresh pasta contains fewer carbohydrates and calories compared to dry pasta.
Why Is My Pasta Chewy?
Pasta can become chewy depending on the ingredients used and the storage method used.
What Is The Best Flour For Pasta?
The best flour for pasta is durum flour, as it produces the best taste and texture.
By Susan Grey
Written July 2023