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Making Hand-Pulled Noodles


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I watched that and the dough he took out of the bowl had already been worked. It was stretchy and sticky. I don't think they are telling the whole story. He just said the dough is made of flour, salt and water. I know that in China the noodle masters also add an alkaline substance which makes it more stretchy and less elastic. I believe they use the same in the UK too. I brought some of this alkaline with me back to the UK when I returned from China because I wanted to get hold of some and maybe import it. But there's a substance in there which isn't allowed for consumption under EU law. So that was the end of that. What I'd like to know is what was that dish in the middle of the table containing a yellow substance? Although the compound used in China is greenish in colour and added in very small quantities.

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As me dcarch? There are guys in China who make scores if not hundreds of hand made noodle dishes a day. It's not feasible to do it without a kind of 'conditioner' or 'relaxer'. I watched a guy make hand pulled noodles withought using this agent called Peng Hui. He took a long time to be able to get the dought to the required consistency and I'm telling you he was a master and one time chef if the Chinese military. I saw him twisting dought which must have been enough to make 30 or 40 dishes and like a lare python in length and thickness. That's how good he was. I have him on video somewhere on my HDD. He said, that if you don't use Peng Hui or similar, the noodles would disintigrate in boiling water. He also said that if they have La Mian restaurants in the UK, then they have Peng Hui. So, they are either importing it, or using a substitute. And it was obvious from that dough that it had been 'treated' somehow. I watched a programme once with a London La Mian chef on a tv show making a competition amongst tv chefs I think. The wonderful Ching He Huang won. But to the point, the dough was almost like heated chewing gum if you know what I mean. It almost 'flows'. There is no elasticity.

When in China, I was tempted to go and do this couple of hours course in Beijing on noodle pulling to see how they were doing it. I telephoned them and asked what did they use.....high gluten flour, salt and water was the reply. Oh good I said, it will be interesting to prepare the dough I mentioned. Oh no......I was told that we wouln't be preparing the dough but the La Mian master would be doing this at his home before-hand. Needless, to say, I didn't bother attending that course.

Edited by Ader1 (log)
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Whatever they do add from my understanding and believe me I've tried and read a lot about it.......the added chemical needs to be alkaline which adds and al-dente texture to the noodles and also gives it a yellowish colour. Japanese ramen have this colour and quality and also need alkalinity in their production from what I understand. I read somewhere that 'ramen' comes from 'la mian'. Is this true? I believe it (the alkalinithy) also stops the thin noodles from disintegrating in boiling water. The second important quality is for it to be able to relax the dough. I will pick up the quest again at some point.

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I read somewhere that 'ramen' comes from 'la mian'. Is this true?

I think the best answer is "probably". Most linguists say so, but a few have it going in the other direction, despite archaeological evidence suggesting China had noodles earlier.

The Oxford English Dictionary goes with it being "Jap., prob. f. Chinese pull, stretch, lengthen + miàn noodle."

The dishes have, of course, evolved into separate entities.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Hi,

I've uploaded few minutes of a documentary with Ken Hom on youtube

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Q6YvVgU9ms8

And from these pictures

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattebelletje/4850654428/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattebelletje/4850655110/

It appears you don't even need to mix flours, only skills :rolleyes:

T55 it's an all purpose cheap french flour.

Edited by sub (log)
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I read somewhere that 'ramen' comes from 'la mian'. Is this true?

They certainly share the exact same characters (at least when written in Kanji - which I admit is not as common as in Katakana). The different versions of chinese la mian are all alcaline as far as I can tell and so are the Japanese ramen. I've never seen anyone hand stretch noodles in a ramen shop though.

Thanks to eveyone here, I'm getting inspired to try my luck at stretching noodles again. My best past attemps did not produce better than udon-like noodles.

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Hi,

I've uploaded few minutes of a documentary with Ken Hom on youtube

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Q6YvVgU9ms8

Thank you for posting that video. If you look at it the talk about alkalinity of the water to make the noodles. I didn't understand it but it was obvious from their use of a ph scale. And then at around 5.51 minutes you can see they guy with the packet of Peng Hui powder which he mixes with water and massages it into the dough. But Ken Hom is wrong, it doesn't allow the dough to become elastic but the opposite; it just stretches.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but from reading this thread, the general conclusion I'm coming to is that any flour can be used, but cake flour is preferred and the higher the gluten content, the more alkaline solution should be added and/or more resting before stretching

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wanted to share this video of Su filindeu a sardinian pasta made with durum flour

my husband keeps telling me that his grandfather, who was from the North of China, uses to eat a bread very similar to carta da musica and the way cullurgionis are closed is so similar to some chinese dumplings.

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my husband keeps telling me that his grandfather, who was from the North of China, uses to eat a bread very similar to carta da musica and the way cullurgionis are closed is so similar to some chinese dumplings.

There are many striking almost eerie similarities between Chinese and Italian cuisine that you almost have to wonder. For instance, in taiwan they dry and salt mullet roe similar to bottarga. Ham making in China (ala jinhua and nuodeng) is also very similar to Italian hams.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some clues from books, unfortunately those recipes are designed for pasta machines.



Momofuku by david chang and Peter Meehan:

Because they’re based on harder wheats, southern yellow noodles have a firmer texture than white salted noodles, and alkalinity (pH 9–11, the equivalent of old egg whites)

increases this firmness. The alkaline salts (sodium and potassium carbonate at 0.5–1% of noodle weight) also cause the noodles to take longer to cook and absorb more water, and

they contribute a characteristic aroma and taste …


alkaline noodles (aka ramen) MAKES 6 TO 8 PORTIONS OF NOODLES

Using a precise amount of alkaline salts is important when making these noodles, hence the metric measurements. If you’ve got a scale, use it.

800 grams bread flour or “00” pasta flour, plus additional flour for rolling out the noodles

300 grams water, at room temperature, or more if needed

7.2 grams sodium carbonate

0.8 gram potassium carbonate

salt 1.5%



Combine the flour, water, sodium carbonate, and potassium carbonate in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed for 10 minutes; the

dough should come together into a ball after just a couple minutes—if it doesn’t, add additional water by the tablespoon until it does. After 10 minutes of kneading, you should

have fairly elastic, smooth dough on your hands. Wrap the dough in plastic and put it in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted water at a rolling boil for about 5 minutes, until tender but still toothsome (slightly longer if they were frozen). Drain well and

deploy as directed.



Ivan Ramen by Ivan Orkin

I’m personally obsessed with the kaori, or aroma, of the noodles. Most shops use one type of flour that is specifically designed for ramen, with a protein level of 10 to 11percent.

These flours are inexpensive, but they don’t have the deep, fresh aroma that I’m looking for. At my shop, we combine soft udon flour (7 to 8 percent protein), with high-protein bread flour (14 to 15 percent protein) and a small percentage of rye or other whole grain flour, for a noodle with an irresistible aroma of fresh wheat. It’s a circuitous route to get to the 10 to 11 percent protein content that works for noodles, but we get much more interesting textures and complex flavors, and even a deeper color, with pretty little speckles of whole grain. Toasting the flour brings out more aromatic nuances, while removing some of the liquid in the flour and making for an even chewier noodle.

Powdered kansui adds the alkaline component of these noodles. As noted in numerous places by Harold McGee, the oracle of culinary science, a simple substitute for kansui powderis baked baking soda. Spread baking soda in a thin layer on a foil-lined sheet tray and bake for one hour at 275°F (135°C). Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid for up to a couple of months.

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

ASIAN WHEAT NOODLES AND DUMPLINGS

The most spectacular form of noodle production is that of Shanghai’s hand-pulled noodles, la mian, for which the maker starts with a thick rope of dough, swings, twists, and stretches it to arms’ length, brings the ends together to make the one strand into two—and repeats the stretching and folding as many as eleven times to make up to 4,096 thin noodles! Asian noodles are both elastic and soft, their texture created by both their weak gluten and by amylopectin-rich starch granules. Salt, usually at around 2% of the noodle weight, is an important ingredient in Asian noodles. It tightens the gluten network and stabilizes the starch granules, keeping them intact even as they absorb water and swell.

Chinese Wheat Noodles and Dumplings

The yellowness of the traditional noodles (modern ones are sometimes colored with egg yolks) is caused by phenolic compounds in the flour called flavones, which are normally colorless but become yellow in alkaline conditions. The flavones are especially concentrated in the bran and germ, so less refined flours develop a deeper color. Because they’re based on harder wheats, southern yellow noodles have a firmer texture than white salted noodles, and alkalinity (pH 9–11, the equivalent of old egg whites) increases this firmness. The alkaline salts (sodium and potassium carbonates at 0.5–1% of noodle weight) also cause the noodles to take longer to cook and absorb more water, and they contribute a characteristic aroma and taste.

Japanese Wheat Noodles

The standard thick Japanese noodles (2–4 mm in diameter), called udon, are descendents of the Chinese white salted noodle. They’re white and soft and made from soft wheat flour, water, and salt. Ra-men noodles are light yellow and somewhat stiff, and are made from hard wheat flour, water, and alkaline salts (kansui). Very thin noodles (around 1 mm) are called so-men. Japanese noodles are usually cooked in water of pH 5.5–6, which is often adjusted by adding some acid. After cooking, the noodles are drained and washed and cooled in running water, which causes the surface starch to set into a moist, slippery, nonsticky layer.

Edited by sub (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

This topic will just not die! It keeps on going!

Many thanks CeeCee. The video is very very good. yes, Ader1 the dough had been worked and was ready to go. They say in the video it is 'just flour and water'. However saying 'just flour' is a meaningless comment as flour can be highly processed and can be highly variable. That's why we have strong bread flours and soft flours. You would not want confuse them i.e. use bread flour for cakes or cake flour for bread.

The expert in the video has I believe his own restaurant in London. I looked up his web site and there are recipes on there. the recipes given use more than 'flour and water' though. Kleinebre (see posts above) visited a London restaurant making hand pulled noodles and gave the name of the flour brand they were using. I looked up the brand and found they were a UK flour supplier. they list a flour specifically for hand pulled noodles. I have no further information on it except that it would probably need to be purchased in bulk!

the most important thing I gained from the video and subsequent browsing of the website is that they are advocating the use of stand mixers. If you read my posts, I have a stand mixer but chose to process my dough in a food processor in an attempt to form the gluten in a different way. this was probably not the best option and in future, the stand mixer will be seeing some noodle action!

Keep noodling! If you succeed, don't forget to invite me round for tea!

Edited by Chelseabun (log)
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Takadi: Yes, many US recipes advocate the use of 'cake flour'. However, please note that cake flour has been bleached. Yes, this is as it sounds. For health reasons, it is prohibited in Europe. I did manage to obtain some bleached 'general purpose' flour and it certainly does have very different properties from unbleached flour. Also, the aroma is 'correct'. It smells just like ramen when worked into noodles. However, would you seriously want to eat noodles made from bleached flour? I would advocate using unbleached flour. The same goes for the other additives (please see my posts above). If the additive is normally used for cleaning drains or has been noted as 'highly corrosive', I choose not to add it to my noodles.

Keep on 'noodling' folks!

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Sub: Sodium Carbonate = Washing Soda!

I use Sodium Carbonate in my photography processing. Here is what is says on the packet of washing soda;

"Causes serious eye irritation, wash hands thoroughly after handling. Wear protective gloves / protective clothing / eye protection / face protection".

This does not sound like a very good food additive does it? Same goes for Potassium Carbonate. Furthermore, when I have used them, the dough has a 'chemical' feel and aroma to it. It was not 'appetising'.

I realise it is tempting to use highly processed flour and food additives such as sodium carbonate (which is a very common additive). Bleached flour is not available in the UK and I have been merely trying to find a way to make lamien hand pulled noodles without it because I can not regularly buy it. However, seeing that I am not using bleached flour, it makes sense not to use the other additive ingredients too.

Edited by Chelseabun (log)
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Ader1 post 178:

I agree. As stated above, Kleinaber visited a London restaurant making hand pulled noodles and found out the brand name of the flour. I looked it up and found it was from a UK flour supplier. However, it was specifically labelled as being for making hand pulled noodles. I don't know if this means it had additives or was otherwise processed to give suitable qualities.

Keep Calm and carry on making noodles!

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Sub: Many thanks for posting the 'on food and cooking' extract. I do not have a copy and many people believe this book to be excellent. There may be a clue in this extract. For Asian wheat noodles it says they use flour which is (develops) weak in gluten (low protein?) and amylopectin rich.

I am not able to do any 'noodling' for a while but will try out some new things when I eventually get back to it and I will keep you all posted. Many thanks to everybody who has contributed to this topic. One request though please, can we have some videos of you all making hand pulled noodles?

Best Regards and keep noodling!

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Two things:

1. the act of folding is very important based on the law of the "weakest link" theory to even out weakness in any strand of noodle. You want to end up with noodles with identical strength, end-to-end.

2. Protein may not be a factor. Considering the "Dragon's Beard" candy, which has zero protein.

dcarch

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Hi Dcarch,

Agree totally. If you remember, I posted some videos of my technique. it was poor to say the least but I was improving. Agree with the protein comment as well. I tried the high protein flour approach but didn't particularly have a lot of success. As above I will be trying again but later in the year. Next time I will use lower protein flour and try some new ideas as well.

Remember, practice makes perfect (noodles)!

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Sub: Sodium Carbonate = Washing Soda! Are you trying to clean the inside of your body as well as your clothes?

I use Sodium Carbonate in my photography processing. Here is what is says on the packet of washing soda;

"Causes serious eye irritation, wash hands thoroughly after handling. Wear protective gloves / protective clothing / eye protection / face protection".

This does not sound like a very good food additive does it? Same goes for Potassium Carbonate. Furthermore, when I have used them, the dough has a 'chemical' feel and aroma to it. It was not 'appetising'.

I realise it is tempting to use highly processed flour and food additives such as sodium carbonate (which is a very common additive). Bleached flour is not available in the UK and I have been merely trying to find a way to make lamien hand pulled noodles without it because I can not regularly buy it. However, seeing that I am not using bleached flour, it makes sense not to use the other additive ingredients too.

Hi Chelseabun,

Don't worry, I'm well aware.

I've asked Meechun directly about the dosage and they replied this

We are delighted to learn that you are supporter for our Mee Chun product.

Our Lye Water is commonly use in the product for making hand pull noodle. The amount of usage would be different for everyone depending on each recipe. Therefore we do not usually provide the using instruction or recommended amount.

For your kind reference, please refer to the below link which provide a tip for using our Lye Water,

http://everydaynoodle.blogspot.hk/2012/11/diy-noodle-secret-ingredient-lye-water.html

I saw this video on youtube with Andrew Wong

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSSVON91NwE

After some search I found his blog: Pulling noodles, very interessing read, no need for chemicals, just knead over the point of dough and do a long rest ( 6 hours )

From all the videos I saw the dough was always very hydrated !

Edited by sub (log)
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Hi Sub,

Many thanks. Cee Cee also posted a link to this video (post 175). It is very very good. I read mr Wong's blog too. That is why i will be using a stand mixer next time (as above). I spoke to my local Miller (we have a working windmill nearby) and he said to rest the dough. This concurs with mr Wong's blog. Klienebre (previous posts) deleloped the dough by resting too. if you read the previous posts, he put quite a lot of effort into it and obtained edible hand pulled noodles! Some of my attempts received rests (sometimes very long rests unintentionally!). I would say it makes a difference too. In his blog, mr wong also says they use a different recipe. I cant remember what it was exactly but i remember it was more than just flour and water - i think he could have been advocating using some semolina in the recipe but to be honest cant quite remember so i stand to be corrected.

Keep calm and make more Noodles!

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Oh sorry, I forgot I saw it.

I've managed to get a strechable dough with Caputo Pizzeria flour (12.75% protein W280-310) and some lye water

25 minutes of kneading in my Bosch MUM, few hours of rest, but I suck at pulling noodles, It's very hard to get them the same size I look so easy on the videos. . .

Maybe you can try to found pizza flour in Uk. (Caputo, 5stagioni,Spadoni, divella, san felice)

Next time I try without the lye and tell you if they where stretchable.

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      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
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