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Soup

Making Hand-Pulled Noodles

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The best noodles are made using flower with Protein levels above 12% . I am not at my computer now but I can give you a list of the names of the flours they use or rather believe are the best to use. This comes from information I received from people who emanate from Lanzo.....which is the home of La Mian. I've watched Lukerymarz 'make' 'noodles' and he's nowhere near creating what they should be like. I'm not sure if his recipe is any good. I may take a look at it this week when I've got some Lye.

I'd be interested in seeing that list as well as how you're getting on.

I've cooked for more than a few years but this is by far the most frustrating/difficult thing I've come across until now. If my experience with this is any indication for what others are going through, many of us are stuck not so much at the quality and authenticity of the noodles, but at finding a dough recipe that works well enough in the first place to get past that first pull. Even if my 1 cup flour/1 cup tapioca starch/mix/add 1 cup warm water/knead/rest/knead doesn't result in that ideal "bouncy" chewiness, at least it gave me something that in raw state seems to closely enough resemble the real thing that I can now at least do *some* work on my pulling technique. Perhaps what we noodle noobs need to get started is a recipe for beginners, before we can move up to the next level. If it's low-gluten instead of high-gluten as it should be, so be it. I like to imagine that the Italians ended up with their not-quite-authentic-Asian pasta cuisine because they didn't manage to make la mian ;)

Together we'll crack it!


Edited by kleinebre (log)

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As I said, the ideal for making noodles is 12.5 or above but noodles may be made with flour with lower Protein/Gluten levels. In a bowl, put some flour....around 1 kg. Add some salt......less than half a tsp. Add water into a hollowed out middle flour and mix with your hands. You are a chef so you will know to do this equally. No lumps of well watered dough and other dry flour.....as far as possible. Add more water. I read that water should be added 3 times but I don't think that is so important. Water should make up to around 50% of the dough. Put the dough on a flat surface....the bowl should be clean. And knead for a little while. Then add noodle agent. and knead some more. Leave for a while....maybe 20 mins. Knead some more and when the surface is really smooth and shiny.....start spinning.....first clockwise then anti-clockwise. It will take you a long time before you become proficient in 'spinning or is it 'twirling'? You will then reach a point when you can feel the dough will stretch. Then put some oil/four on the table and make your/roll your dough into a tube. Cut it into around 3 equal portions. Cut off both ends of your initial longer tube as they will be where you held the dough or where the dough folded back on itself at the half way mark.. Pull each one othe the smaller tubes.

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What is the 'noodle agent', and why isn't it addded in with the water? It seems that would be an more effective way to distribute it evenly throughout the dough.

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Noodle agent is 'Peng Hui' in China. This guy in the States told me that there they use Lye water but I've been told elsewhere that this isn't very good. I've ordered some to try. Bakins Soda does help but it's not a substitute. Maybe it would be ok if you had one of those commercial food mixers to work with. I'm telling you how this was done by myself in small quantities. I saw it done by a restauranteer in quantities of 25kgs and upwards. He put a little on the dough then left the dough to rest then just before eating time....he would put some more on a fraction of the dough and twirl it. It is a good question. I'm goint to try and get an answer to that question but I'm not in China now so we'll see if I can get the answer.

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Kleinebre -- Did you see this video / site / recipe I posted several pages up? He has very detailed instructions, recipes, and videos... His recipe uses some cake flour in the dough, specifically because he says that Chinese flour typically has less protein than ours -- suggesting less rather than more protein is important. And he talks extensively about the kneading process, which, in his words: "You have to knead this noodle dough many times longer than you would a bread of pizza dough. You need to destroy the gluten structure enough such that it doesn't resist when you stretch it."

Perhaps worth a try as an alternative to the recipes you've been using?

http://www.lukerymarz.com/noodles/index.html

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Kleinebre -- Did you see this video / site / recipe I posted several pages up? He has very detailed instructions, recipes, and videos... His recipe uses some cake flour in the dough, specifically because he says that Chinese flour typically has less protein than ours -- suggesting less rather than more protein is important. And he talks extensively about the kneading process, which, in his words: "You have to knead this noodle dough many times longer than you would a bread of pizza dough. You need to destroy the gluten structure enough such that it doesn't resist when you stretch it."

Perhaps worth a try as an alternative to the recipes you've been using?

http://www.lukerymar...dles/index.html

Maybe you could point out where in his video he actually manages to 'pull noodles'? I havn't been able to see him manage anything resemble this process./art....

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I don't understand Ader -- the second video on his Instructions page shows him pulling the dough into noodles -- from around minute 1 to minute 1:19...

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I don't understand Ader -- the second video on his Instructions page shows him pulling the dough into noodles -- from around minute 1 to minute 1:19...

Have you seen how thick they are after his final pull? Have you seen Chinese hand pulled noodle practitioners pull noodles? Luke doesn't (in his videos) show how to pull noodles which would be pleasant to eat.....in my impinion at least. I bet youv'e never eatern noodles as thick as the ones he produces....?

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Does anybody here know the chemical composition of Peng Hui?

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Ader -- I was offering that recipe and video to present a clear alternative to high protein recipes. Although he doesn't continue to pull the noodles, that dough certainly does not look prone to breaking, and I see no reason it could not have been pulled more. But now I see that in threads above you have already laughed off the very idea that this video / recipe could be useful.

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If you notice Emily.....it does break with him and he says that it's ok and to just grab the broken end and continue.....and the dough isn't at all thin. It is also uneven in thickness. That is no good. Have you seen real La Mian practitioners peform? They can pull noodles so thinly that you can thread several of the noodles through the eye of a needle. Ok....who needs to do that? But what this guy does in the video would certainly (in my opinion) not be pleasant to eat.

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Does anybody here know the chemical composition of Peng Hui?

It's mugwort potash, so I assume potassium hydroxide (basically, the older form of lye, which these days is more often sodium hydroxide from what I understand).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potash

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I've spent a couple days working on pulling noodles. I still need to work on my technique to even out the noodles. From what I understand, this is an issue of pulling the noodles at the ideal timing and technique, hopefully I'll get there. At the same time, I am slowly adjusting the recipe to better fit my goals. That said, these were delicious.

Not the most best shot, but it shows the noodles well.

A0ofgQCCYAAjleV.jpg

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Some of them noodles are quite thin. Well done. Are you lifting the noodles off the table completely? I've seen some noodle pulling where the puller allows gravity to do it's work to some degree. This is not correct. Noodles should be made by pulling alone and kept on the table.....bench.

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Does anybody here know the chemical composition of Peng Hui?

It's mugwort potash, so I assume potassium hydroxide (basically, the older form of lye, which these days is more often sodium hydroxide from what I understand).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potash

Please do a lot of research. Sodium hydroxide is very very VERY corrosive.

Is your stomach made of stainless steel?

dcarch

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Does anybody here know the chemical composition of Peng Hui?

It's mugwort potash, so I assume potassium hydroxide (basically, the older form of lye, which these days is more often sodium hydroxide from what I understand).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potash

Please do a lot of research. Sodium hydroxide is very very VERY corrosive.

Is your stomach made of stainless steel?

dcarch

Noodle recipes contain about 0.1% NaOH which is well below a lethal dose.

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I don't believe these are made with potassium hydroxide but rather with potassium carbonate.

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This is what I found regarding the composition of Peng Hui....The chemical composition of instant Peng ash is Sodium: 8% ~ 40%, and potassium: 0% ~ 18%, and chloride: 6% ~ 50%, and sulfur: 0.08% ~ 2%. This cam from a Chinese book written about La Mian 'Hand pulled noodles'. I can't tell you how accurate that is but the translation is correct. A friend of mine telephoned the company which makes Peng Hui and they wouldn't tell her what was in it. I wanted to find out if I could take some to Europe with me. They didn't seem interested and said that it would not be possible because it's a white powder and rather difficult to do these days with the tightened security of the last few years.

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Some of them noodles are quite thin. Well done. Are you lifting the noodles off the table completely? I've seen some noodle pulling where the puller allows gravity to do it's work to some degree. This is not correct. Noodles should be made by pulling alone and kept on the table.....bench.

The noodles were stretched by my pulling motion alone, not gravity.

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Kleinebre -- Did you see this video / site / recipe I posted several pages up?

Yes, I have seen those videos and the site as well. The main problem is that that the specific kinds of flour that Luke uses aren't for sale here, so ultimately it was down to coming up with a recipe of my own.

Will: With regards to sodium hydroxide / potassium hydroxide mentioned above... Those will be neutralized nicely into salt and water by stomach acid (NaOH+HCl -> NaCl + H2O and likewise KOH+HCl -> KCl+H2O), so in small enough doses nothing at all to worry about.

DCarch: Notice that the fellow with the red kitchenaid in the video above (okay, I've got to be more specific... The one with the glasses. I mean, not the Oriental guy) uses Luke R's noodle dough recipe.

Andrew: Looking good! The most successful try I had so far was definitely pulling alone as well - just on a tabletop. Less chance of breaking that way.

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What is the 'noodle agent', and why isn't it addded in with the water? It seems that would be an more effective way to distribute it evenly throughout the dough.

I asked my friend in China this who asked this guy running a noodle restaurant. This is what he said in reply:

"Penghui has very strong corrosivity,if add Peng Hui to the water when making the dough at the beginning,it a long time between finish making the dough and use dough to make noodle ,Penghui's corrosion can take gluten cut very short,the dough will become very soft,you know,then soft dough is very difficult to make noodle,so when the customer come in, do noodles add Penghui is right time. "

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Will: With regards to sodium hydroxide / potassium hydroxide mentioned above... Those will be neutralized nicely into salt and water by stomach acid (NaOH+HCl -> NaCl + H2O and likewise KOH+HCl -> KCl+H2O), so in small enough doses nothing at all to worry about.

I think you mean dcarch? I never expressed any worry about consuming small amounts of lye in food - strong alkaline solutions have been used in making noodles and pretzels for ages.

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Just look at the dough in this video. It just shows you what effect Peng Hui or whatever they are using has on the dough.

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What is the 'noodle agent', and why isn't it addded in with the water? It seems that would be an more effective way to distribute it evenly throughout the dough.

I asked my friend in China this who asked this guy running a noodle restaurant. This is what he said in reply:

"Penghui has very strong corrosivity,if add Peng Hui to the water when making the dough at the beginning,it a long time between finish making the dough and use dough to make noodle ,Penghui's corrosion can take gluten cut very short,the dough will become very soft,you know,then soft dough is very difficult to make noodle,so when the customer come in, do noodles add Penghui is right time. "

Okay, I almost understood that.

I'm starting to feel some proper scientific experimenting or at the very least a systematic approach is in order. Preparing dough with varying amounts of alkali and measuring what stretches best; Preparing dough with equal amounts of alkali, and see which amount of time yields the best result after different amounts of time; Trying different kinds of flour to see what gluten starting percentage gives the best results. If I'm bored during the holidays, I might spend a few days just to draw up a small table with the results.

Will: Yes, I did mean dcarch.

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