Traditionally, soba noodles are made of pure buckwheat flour.
But that kind of buckwheat flour requires a particular way of grinding process and a specific buckwheat grain.
So if you are using regular buckwheat from the market, you have to blend in a certain amount of flour, and the proportion of plain flour to buckwheat flour should be around 1:3 to 1:4.
First off, blend buckwheat flour and plain flour together, and then sift.
Slowly stir in warm water.
The amount of water needed here is about 45% of that of flour, and the warm water should be at 60C/140F, a little more than warm.
How To Make Soba Noodles For My Family?
Don’t add in water all at once, save about a tsp. for later, and adjust if needed.
Press the crumble flour mixture with your hand and then form into a dough.
The Japanese way of making it is using cold water in this step. Using warm water is my version.
Buckwheat is gluten free, so it won’t be that sticky and springy like that of a regular flour dough. This makes the dough a little loose during the kneading process.
Warm water helps to activate the stickiness in buckwheat flour, so that the dough will be softer and easier to work with.
Knead until smooth, and then transfer it to a clean working surface.
Keep kneading, and this takes some time, for about 10 mins or so because of the lack of gluten in buckwheat.
So we have to keep doing so to release gluten from only 1/4 of the plain flour among this flour mixture.
In this way the dough becomes springy, and it should be very smooth when it’s done.
Now divide the dough into halves.
Let each part rest for a while in a ziploc bag or covered with cling film.
Now let’s make the dipping sauce, a so called tsuyu.
We are using some basic Japanese condiments here, mirin, soy sauce, sake, and some bonito flakes.
Preheat a saucepan.
Add in soy sauce.
And bonito flakes.
Stir for a while.
Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat.
Cover with lid, and leave to cool.
Let’s go back to our dough.
Take out one of the dough, roll it over the working surface and make it into a cone shape.
Press it down from the top.
Press evenly to shape it into a round pie.
Roll out with a rolling pin, roll up from the center first, and then roll towards 2 and 10 o’clock.
Rotate the dough sheet for 90°.
Again, roll up.
Roll towards 2 and 10 o’clock for each side.
Flour the working surface if the dough begins to stick on it.
Keep rolling and rotating in this manner.
Keep doing so until the dough is rolled into a round dough sheet.
Now my rolling pin is too short, so I switch to a bigger one. Roll it up and down.
Try to form a rectangular dough sheet.
When it’s done , keep an eye on the width of the dough. Since we are going to slice it from this direction.
Now fold it, and make sure the width is shorter than the length of your blade.
At this point, this soba dough sheet is very fragile, so if you want to move it, roll it around the rolling pin first.
So then keep rolling until the dough sheet spreads into a rectangular shape, and it’s about 1-2 mm thick.
Flour the dough sheet with potato or corn starch.
Fold it, and then press.
Flour some starch again, and fold it lengthwise.
Flour your cutting board as well.
Transfer the dough sheet to the cutting board.
Flour for one last time with some starch.
Trim off those uneven edges.
Now let’s cut the dough sheet into noodles, and try to cut them into even stripes.
Be very careful to work with this dough. Since the buckwheat is gluten free, your soba dough sheet can be easily broken and cracked. So make sure you are using a very sharp knife here.
Be very nimble with your blade, and cut straight down.
If are feeling uncomfortable, just cut into thicker stripes and it will be fine, as long as they are equal pieces.
Once done, gently lift the noodles and shake off excess flour.
Now the dipping sauce is cooled down. Strain it first.
The sauce is very salty right now, so add in some water to balance the flavor.
Add in 2 tbs. of sauce into a cup or a small bowl.
Add in about 1-2 portions or cold water.
Just to balance the salty flavor.
Store the rest of the sauce in a bottle and put it in the fridge. You can keep it for a month.
This sauce is quite versatile. Besides serving with soba, you can serve it as a dipping sauce for Udon or other noodles.
Or, you can add it in the broth for a hot noodle soup.
Now let’s cook soba noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Add in soba noodles.
Gently stir with chopsticks.
Cook for 1 or 2 more mins after it boils. It depends on how thick your noodles are.
Rinse your noodles in ice water immediately.
Rinse off excess starch. Strain and transfer them on a zaru(sieve-like bamboo tray) or a plate.
Garnish with some shredded dried nori seaweed.
Serve a dipping sauce tsuyu, along with some wasabi and scallion.
Now this cold handmade soba dish is done.
Soba noodles have a very refreshing and light aroma, especially those handmade noodles, they are more tangy.
Pick up a little wasabi and add it into the dipping sauce, mixed with some scallion.
Dip the soba noodles into the sauce and then eat.
It’s fresh and flavorful, not to mention the sauce and wasabi with scallion. Together they make a very chilled summer dish.
It feels like chasing the hot summer away.
If you have time, give it a try and challenge yourselves with this handmade soba noodles.
Last but not least, freshly handmade soba noodles taste better, if you cannot finish all of them at once, divide them into small portions and store in your freezer.
You don’t have to unfreeze them the next time you serve, just boil them in hot water.
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