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thph2006

拉面 Hand-pulled Noodles Recipe

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thph2006

Does anyone have a reliable recipe for the dough used to make hand-pulled noodles (拉面)? I've been searching the web and have mainly just found posts and blogs talking about how no one can find a real recipe.

The closest thing I found was this:

"A published commercial recipe for Chinese noodles describes dough made from hard wheat flour with 45% added water and 1% kansui powder consisting of 55% sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), 35% potassium carbonate (K2CO3), and 10% sodium biphosphate dodecahydrate (NaHPO3.12H2O)."

Unfortunately "hard wheat flour" doesn't quite translate into the names printed on bags of flour found in the grocery store. I'm also having trouble finding kansui powder. I have found what seems to be the equivalent ingredients already dissolved in water (on the label it's called "雪鹼水") , but I have no idea how to translate between "1% kansui" and some amount of this liquid. Here's a picture of the bottle: http://lilyng2000.blogspot.com/2007/05/ban-jian-kuih.html

It also seems that some people who've tried using flour + water without kansui report that the dough breaks before it can stretch fully. At the same time some people who've used kansui claim it actually stiffens the dough rather than softening it, making it impossible to pull. No one I've found reports success.

Can anyone help with an authentic (and hopefully detailed) 拉面 dough recipe?

Here are some noodle pulling videos for your pleasure while you think about it!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1257564090380175636&q=hand-pulled+noodles&total=12&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=6

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3012819011328885122&q=hand-pulled+noodles&total=12&start=10&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3012819011328885122&q=hand-pulled+noodles&total=12&start=10&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1

Thanks!

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yonglin

Don't know helpful this is and I've never made 拉面 myself, but for your information, hard wheat flour is high in gluten. Gluten is the protein which makes dough "stretchy", so I would think that this is quite necessary to make good 拉面.

High-gluten flour is used extensively by bakeries and in the restaurant business, but rarely sold in grocery stores (ever wondered why the bread you bought from the bakery tasted better than the one you made yourself?). It usually comes in LARGE packs (say, 10-20 kg) and you would probably be able to find it from some bakery/restaurant wholesaler. Some kinds of wheat flour sold in normal grocery stores are fairly high in gluten too, such as durum wheat (this has become more popular recently, at least in Europe... for GI reasons I think?!)

Probably, finding some hard wheat flour is necessary but not sufficient to make good 拉面.

Best of luck. Upload a video on youtube when you manage!! :D

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imron

Yep, I had a local 拉面 restaurant teach me how to make these, and without that powder it doesn't work properly. In chinese it's called 速溶蓬灰 sùróngpénghuī but I have no idea what it is in English. I've tried several times to find out, but never came up with a definitive answer. A couple of websites I've seen seem to claim that if you let the dough sit for a long enough time, it has the same effect, but I have never been able to get this to work, and all the attempts I've made at making 拉面 without 速溶蓬灰 have failed.

I can't help you too much with a specific recipe as we used to make up big batches at a time (enough for 300-400 bowls of noodles), and we never used measured quantities, just adding more or less water/powder as needed. However the basic steps involved are:

1) Coat bench top in oil.

2) Place flour in a mound on the bench

3) Make a deep "volcano" hole in the top of the mound (i.e a hole going to the table and surrounded on all sides by flour.

3) Slowly add water to the flour by pouring it into the hole in the flour and then mixing the flour in on top of it. You basically try to use the minimum amount of water necessary to achieve viable doughy consistency, and so you should add a little bit of water then mix it in. Add a little bit of water, then mix it in, etc etc.

4) Once you have dough that you can knead, knead it out so that it is thin and flat (don't make it too thin, just as long as the surface area is reasonably even.

5) Sprinkle a small amount of the 速溶蓬灰 over the surface of the dough, and then fold the dough back in on itself and continue to knead it.

6) Knead, knead, knead (adding more oil to the table top as necessary).

7) After a while, roll the dough out into a thickish, cylindrical shape. Grab the ends and pull them out, and then wave your hands up and down, causing the center of the dough to bang on the table a little bit like a whip (it may take several attempts to get the correct technique for this). Then bring the ends together and give them a twist, causing the dough itself to twist up. This explanation is a bit awkward, but if you've ever seen someone making 拉面 you should understand what I mean.

8)Knead, roll, bang, twist. Knead, roll, bang, twist. (add more oil to the table top as necessary).

9)Continue until the dough reaches the correct look and feel. I imagine it would be really difficult to know what this is unless you have someone to show you, and you've practiced it a few times. Basically it should have a yellowish-tinge, and feel slightly elasticky. The dough itself should also be smooth. Kneading too little or too much will result in noodles that don't pull.

10) Break off enough dough for one bowl of noodles.

11) Roll into a thin cylindrical shape.

12) Grab the ends and pull them out.

13) Bring the ends back together, holding them with just one hand, and making a sort of triangle (the base of the triangle will be on the bench, and the tip will be made by the two ends that have come together.

14) Insert fingers into the middle space made by the triangle.

15) Pull up with the hand that is holding the tip of the triangle, and then pull both hands out. (Pulling up rather than out at the beginning is the key to getting an even and smooth pull).

16) Use a lighter version of the "bang" technique mentioned above to bounce the noodles up and down.

17) Repeat steps 13-16 in quick succession 5-6 times (depending on how thick/thin you want the noodles). Doing it too slowly will cause the noodles to sag and break.

18) Bring the ends of the noodles together a final time, and then break off the top.

19) Place noodles in boiling water, and boil for 2-3 minutes.

20) Take the noodles out, add whatever topping/sauce/flavouring you like

21) Eat and enjoy.

As you can see, making 拉面 is far more involved than just having the correct recipe. There is also a reasonable amount of technique required. Steps 7-9 and 12-17 took me quite a few attempts before I got them right, and I had someone there with me showing me how to do it. I also had plenty of fresh dough to practice with. Unfortunately, you can't just take a piece of dough and practice and practice with it until you get it right, because this will cause the dough to become over-kneaded. Each time I was practising with a piece of dough, I was only allowed to use it for a few minutes before the person teaching me would take it off me and give me a new piece. The piece I had been using would then always be used to make the next bowl of noodles. Occasionally, if it had be worked too much, it would snap when pulled (usually after the 4-5th pull), and so the cook would gradually cut that dough back in to fresher dough, small pieces at a time.

For the reasons listed above, I imagine it would be quite difficult to learn this just from following a recipe you find on the internet/from a book. Your best bet would be to try and find a place that makes them, and then ask the cook if he can teach you.

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flameproof

Have you tried to google for "速溶蓬灰" (Prompt dissolve beef noodle additive)

One link is this:

http://item.eachnet.com/prd/detail_prd.do?prdId=1183664425649612

ZMZC1006406224322841U27b.JPG

Also:

http://weiri-china.en.alibaba.com/offerdetail/200672311/prompt_dissolve_beef_noodle_additive.html

The read here about Kansui:

http://www.instantramen.or.jp/english/outline/outline12.html

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

The key sentence: Eggs may also be substituted for kansui.

I would not use any chemicals in food, specially chemicals from China which may or may not be tainted. Just use eggs.

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imron

Yes, google was the first place I went when trying to find the English name for it.

As for scary looking chemicals in bags with Chinese lettering, how about this one for Sodium Chloride

powderiodizedsaltql3.th.jpg

Yes, Sodium Chloride AKA table salt.

Ok, some people will point out that salt is also not necessarily that good for you, but my point is that just because it's a white, powdered "chemical" (and yes salt is a chemical), doesn't make it somehow bad.

That being said, I really don't know how safe 速溶蓬灰 is as an additive, I just know that almost every 拉面 maker in China will use it. To a noodle-cook it's no different than adding salt to a meal. True, China doesn't have a great track record with foods and food additives, and MSG is still used in most dishes cooked over here, so that's not to say 速溶蓬灰 is healthy or good for you, but I don't think it's any more a cause for concern than say salt, MSG or any other "chemical" that is routinely added to foods.

Of course, if you can find evidence to the contrary, then I'd love to hear it.

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flameproof

It's a chemical that is used to save cost (I presume) and to make the dough safer (fresh eggs may go bad fast). If I do it at home I would stick to eggs. Same for MSG, it's used to cut cost and skill.

If you can't get the stuff I would try eggs first. If I really need that stuff I would probably try Metro first.

BTW, I also would not oil the table and rather use flour to prevent dough getting stuck to the table top. Oil will just end up in the noodles and increase the calories count. I haven't done noodles but I do pizza frequently (with no eggs in the dough).

PS: you may come to the conclusion that eggs don't work. But don't judge that quick. I think the noodle making skill is quite special and needs some experience.

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imron

I'll give eggs a try next time I get around to making them. Although my technique isn't great, it's good enough to tell if the dough will work. I can actually get a few pulls using just normal dough from flour and water, but noodles from that kind of dough will just break during pulling if you want the noodles long or thin.

I used to always use flour to prevent the dough from sticking, but since learning to make 拉面 I tend to prefer oil and the texture it gives to the dough, even when making other foods. I'm not bothered by extra calories.

Regarding 速溶蓬灰 I'm guessing it's probably the same as kansui. I should add, that the powder is also often added to water, and it's the water that is sprinkled instead of the powder itself. The wikipedia article mentioned that it gives a yellow-tinge to the dough (just like 速溶蓬灰) and also that it's alkaline (same as 速溶蓬灰). The other article mentions it's been in use in China for 2000 years. Now obviously I'll take that number will a large grain of salt (har har), but that would suggest it's not just some modern, cost-saving expedient.

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RaKku

Hmm, this thread seems old, but I'll post it anyways :)

I recently came back from Beijing and I have been dying to make my own hand-pulled noodle. Currently, I have gotten to about 4 pulls (8 strands) before the dough just rips apart. I was wondering what type of flour did you use Irmon? I have been using a mixture of cake-flour and all purpose flour found at this site (http://ratingpending.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-to-make-hand-pulled-noodles.html) but it seems like the whole process of getting the right ingredients just seems too complicated. The author points out that kansui could actually be lye water *shrugs.* I tried it anyways and I didn't notice anything different.

Anyways, any help would be appreciated - thanks!

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imron

I didn't use any special flour, but without the magic ingredient, the noodles always seem to break.

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OTrader

I use all-purpose flour and potato starch with ratio 15:1 plus some baking soda and salt.

It works.

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Gnome

OTrader, just to verify. You used 15:1 (All Purpose Flour:Potato Starch)? I just picked up a bunch of Wheat Flour and other flours from Uwajimaya in Seattle in hopes that it would work but no matter what recipe I've tried nothing works. But if you're saying Potato Starch works I might have to make another trip. What recipe did you work from?

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a_foxie_smile

This has some brand names in it, but is still rather technical and Japanese:

Chinese Noodles

To 2000 g of semi-hard wheat flour (“Toku-Number One”, by Nisshin Flour Milling), added was a solution in 800 g of water of 20 g of edible salt, 10 g of powdery, edible potassium carbonate for noodles (“Funmatsu Kansui”, by Nippon Colloid), gliadin-containing composition (“Glia A”, by Asama Chemical), and transglutaminase derived from microorganisms of Streptoverticillium mobaraense OF 13819, as in Table 4. This was kneaded, using a mixer, at 76 rpm for 15 minutes. Then, by using a noodle-making machine (by Shinagawa Menki Seisaku-sho), this was roughly stirred, compounded and rolled into dough according to an ordinary manner. The resulting dough was kept at 200° C. for 60 minutes, and cut, using a #22 cutter, into raw Chinese noodles.

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imron
10 g of powdery, edible potassium carbonate
Aha, I wonder if this is the magical missing ingredient!

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imron

In the video they talk about adding 碱 which I guess serves the same function as the 速溶蓬灰. A quick search reveals that in English, this is alum, which although used as a food additive apparently may not be that good for you.

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xiaocai

蓬灰 is not alum. Alum in Chinese is usually referred as 明矾. They have quite different chemical and biological properties. That being said, there will always be trace amounts of impurities in any of the 食用蓬灰 available on the market, including alum and other salts. Consuming too much of these salts including potassium carbonate itself is obviously not very good for anyone, but that is only when you take it in large quantities. However, with that amount used in making 拉面 dough, it is unlikely to be a health concern. And there is very little cumulative toxicity of these salts as far as we know.

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imron

Just to clarify, I meant that 碱 was alum (found after a quick web search, so maybe not entirely accurate), and they were using 碱 instead of 蓬灰.

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