Handmade Udon Noodles

Recipe adapted from Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking, by Harumi Kurihara

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
Four Servings
4 teaspoons salt
8 ounces (1 cup) warm water
2 ½ cups unbleached bread flour
bread flour, for dusting (in step 6)
     Single Serving
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces warm water
¾ cup unbleached bread flour
bread flour, for dusting (in step 6)
   My Variant - 4 servings
4 teaspoons salt
8 ounces (1 cup) warm water
2 ½ cups unbleached bread flour
1 teaspoon Vital Wheat Gluten * (see note)
6g baked baking soda * (1.5 t) (see note)
bread flour, for dusting (in step 6)

*NOTES for My Variant
Baked Baking Soda - If you heat baking soda, its molecules react with one another to give off water and carbon dioxide and form solid sodium carbonate, which is proton-free.
Spread a layer of soda on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake it at 250 to 300 degrees for an hour.

I added Vital Wheat Gluten for more chewiness.
I also added 2 teaspoons Hondashi soup stock powder to boiling water when cooking Udon noodles
Unlike with the other recipes, after kneading the dough in this variant, I ran it through a Versos Noodle Maker  
First, I passed the dough through the rollers working from widest to narrowest
I then ran the sheet of dough through the noodle maker's 4mm cutting attachment
Finally, I boiled the noodles for 3 minutes in water to which I added the Hondashi powder

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General Directions
1. Add the salt to the warm water and stir until it has dissolved. Put the bread flour and all-purpose flour in a large bowl, and whisk the flours together.
2. Pour the salty water into the bowl with the flour.
Using your hands, mix the flour and water together lightly until the mixture is crumbly.
Pull the dough up from the bottom of the bowl and press down, and repeat until the flour and water are well combined and a rough ball is formed.
3. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it forcefully on a board for 5-10 minutes until the dough has smoothed out and a lumpy ball is formed.
4. Transfer the dough to a large plastic ziploc bag, and then wrap the bag in a thick towel. Put it on the floor and walk on it with flat feet (not just the heel).
Turn as you walk, so that all the dough gets flattened. When the dough feels flat, remove the dough from the bag and roll it out.
Then fold it up, put it back into the bag and repeat the process. The should become more and more smooth with each repeat.
Repeat 3 or 4 times. On the last repeat, leave the dough in the bag, wrapped in the towel, and let it rest for 3 to 4 hours (during the winter, leave it in a warm place).
5. When the dough is done resting, take it out of the bag, reshape it into a ball, then return it to the bag and walk on it one last time.
Try to spread the dough with your feet, turning around 360 degrees.
6. Dust your work surface with a bit of bread flour, then place the flattened dough on top and roll it out, working from the middle out.
Rotate the dough 45 degrees and repeat until the dough is about 1/8-inch thick, and approximately a rectangle measuring about 1 foot wide by at least 1 1/2 feet long.*
7. Dust the top of the dough with bread flour and then fold it into thirds. Using a long sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch thick ribbons.
If the dough gets very sticky, dust it again with bread flour. Dust the noodles with bread flour before moving them from the work surface.
8. Cook the noodles: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rapid boil. Lightly shake any excess flour from the noodles and add them to the boiling water.
Using cooking chopsticks, or a wooden spoon, stir the noodles to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Cook the noodles for 6 - 7 minutes, or until they are translucent and firm without a hard core. Drain the noodles in a sieve and rinse under cold running water so they cool rapidly.
9. Once the noodles are cool enough to handle, separate them with your hands and rinse them again in cold water to make sure that all of the starch is removed.
*Rolled out dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Bring the dough to room temperature before sprinkling it with flour and continuing on with step 7.

Other Notes

Instead of slicing the dough with a knife, I use a pasta maker. First I flatten the dough by running it through the rollers of an Atlas 150 Pasta Maker   Atlas 150 Pasta Maker beginning at setting 0 and continuing to Setting 3 I then use the Chitarra Attachment   
running the thinned dough through it to create the Udon Noodles.

Kale Udon

Yield: Makes 4 servings

For the mentsuyu sauce:
1 cup water
2 cups soy sauce
1 1/2 cups mirin
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1.8 ounces katsuobushi (dried fish flakes)
6 3/4 cups dashi
1 batch udon noodles (recipe above, or enough store bought noodles for 4 servings) finely sliced scallions, to taste
shichimi togarashi or chili powder, to taste (optional)

1. Make the mentsuyu sauce: In a large pot, combine the water, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, and add the katsuobushi. When the mixture comes to a boil again, turn off the heat and let the mixture stand for 2 minutes.
Then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, or a sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, and discard the katsuobushi.
Pour the mentsuyu into a sterilized container. (It will keep for approximately 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.)

2. Separate the udon noodles into 4 separate deep bowls.

3. Mix the dashi with 1/3 cup of the prepared mentsuyu and heat over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat off and pour it over the udon noodles. Sprinkle with scallions and shichimi togarashi, to taste and serve. -->

My Variant - UDON NOODLE SOUP

I use an Atlas hand-crank pasta machine to form the Udon noodles.
The pasta mix consists of bread flour, one egg and water. Keep the masa dry, sprinkling it liberally with flour.
Proceed through the thickness settings starting at 0 and stopping at 2.
Then run the pasta strips through the Chitarra attachment. It creates a square noodle.
Coat the noodles with flour and keep them flat as you drop them into a pot of boiling water.
Boil for 7-12 minutes in low boil. Cooking time really depends on how thick your noodles are. Check at the 7 minute mark

ANOTHER UDON BROTH RECIPE (serves 4)
4 cups dashi broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin

Add ins
Garnish with any/ all of the following
sliced green onion.
Shiro Miso
Snow peas
Carrots (sliced thinly or use julienne carrots)
Fresh mushrooms
Corn kernels
Hard-boiled egg (already hard boiled, just cut in half)
Thin, roasted seaweed slices (nori)
Fresh bean sprouts
Spinach
Daikon sprouts
aside to cool completely. Store in a mason jar in the fridge.

Notes
If you're unable to find sake, you can use a dry white wine such as vermouth.

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