Basic Chinese Noodle Dough Recipe for Knife Cut Noodles?
Does anyone have an all-purpose recipe/method for Chinese noodle dough?
I started with one cup water and two cups flour. Mixed together, let it rest for a few hours, kneadded, and cut into strips and tossed in boiling water.
The result was okay, but far from being good enough to serve to anyone but myself. I'm not sure if I need to be using a higher gluten dough, kneading longer, adjusting the cooking time, or what. I just thought I'd see what others' experiences were making noodles at home.
I know I could try my hand at the long hand-pulled noodles, but I'm definitely not ready for that. I did think I'd be able to tackle the thick nubbly knife cut noodles (sort of like Chinese spaetzle) with rolled out dough and a pizza knife.
I cut the strips too thickly, and the texture's obviously not smooth enough.
I just finished reading the book, Serve the People: a Stir Fry Journey Through China. In it, the author who went to a Chinese cooking school and then apprenticed at a number of places, talked about her apprenticeship at a small noodle shop. This noodle shop specialized in hand cut noodles. In this chapter, the author goes into a lot of detail about her observations of watching the chef make the noodles, as well as her experience in learning how to make the noodles. At the end of the chapter, she gives the recipe.
I haven't tried this but at the very least, her description of the process is quite good. My arms were tired, just reading it.
I tried making noodles today and basically used a 1:4 ratio of water to flour though I was careful with the amount of water following the advice about using as little water as possible. The dough was pretty hard but not that hard to work with and I wrapped it up in Saran wrap and let it rest while I went shopping, came back and worked it again for the second time - then let it rest again for at least 15 minutes before I rolled it out on a floured surface, then cut it on top of a chopping board after folding it.
The results were ok although maybe it could use a little more texture.
Does the multiple kneading and kneading a lot give it more texture?
Does anyone know?
The key is to have very little water for the amount of flour. I don't know exact proportions, as i just add water as I mix it with flour (you add water into flour little by little as you would ad eggs into pasta dough). It's also advisable to mix it with hand so you get desired consistency. The dough has to be very tough - hard to knead. That way you don't have to use too much dry flour to roll it out and cut in pieces(if you have to much dry flour when rolling, you'll end up with thicker broth, not clear). After your first mix/knead, the dough has to be almost crumbly, then you leave to rest for a while and then knead. Repeat as necessary. Chilling also works for making dough more workable. Also, warm water makes thicker dough and cold water makes runnier dough.
Just read my old recipe for basic Chinese noodle recipe from which most noodles are made. The only thing it had was a litlle less all purpose flour with some cornsstrach in place of the flour. My notes said that add body and texture of the noodles.
Also if you add whole eggs to the mixture (more flour to make up for the eggs) and you cut them thin you can get Cantonese Egg wonton style noodles.
I do not have my recipe for making knife cot noodles on hand but I will look for it (the recipe is so old it did not make it to a computer). But I do remember that kneading and resting dough was as important as protion of flour to water. Also you should dust the dough with more flour if the dough is too wet to work. I do remember we had block of dough which we cut directly in a pot of boiling water. Another thing to try again.
As for hand pulled noodles it is a matter of pactice. It was not that hard if you make a lot of it. But if it is once in a while thing then it is tougher.
In case Chowfun reads this I ma not saying I can make hand pulled noodles.
I will post recipes for both later.
I think ramen noodles are easier to make with help of Italian pasta presses. May be a place to start.
I think you have too much water. Try using 3/4 cups of water rather than one full cup. Use well flour surface to knead the dough. I usually knead it for 5 min and let it rest for 15 min. You have to do it twice before rolling the dough out.
As for alkaline water (sodium carbonate) goes I know the Chinese name it is call "jian sui" or lye water. I don't think it's baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), it is used in jian zhong zi, wonton wrappers, ramen and other dough based products. I would omit it because it could be toxic if it's not used properly.
You only need to let it rest for 15 min. and re knead the dough again. You'll need to do this twice before rolling and cutting the dough. Looks like you didn't knead it long enough thus the little lumps I noticed in your pics after cooking.
I usually roll out the dough to about 1/4 thick round, then I'll fold it as if I am making a cheap paper fan (z formation, remember to dust a lot of flour to prevent sticking) I'll then cut it into fettuccini size (I like my noodles wide).
In China the cooks actually will add small amounts of alkaline water and work the water mixture into the mixed dough to give it that chewy texture people like so much.
Thanks! How long do you knead the dough each time, and how sticky is it when you're done? I admit the dough got sticky and I got lazy, hence the bumpy dough.
And just so I'm clear, you fold it into a "fan" shape, and then cut across the fan so each noodle is squiggly, right? That is, you do NOT cut along the folds you made, but rather perpendicular to them.
What is alkaline water? Any water with a base in it (bakig soda?), or something special?