How to Make Buckwheat Soba Noodles from Scratch
Serves 4 to 6
generous cups (280 grams/9 1/2 ounces) stone-milled buckwheat flour from Anson Mills or Cold Mountain
generous cup (70 grams/2 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup
(175 grams/6 ounces) filtered or mineral water
Buckwheat starch or tapioca starch, for rolling the soba
Measuring cups and spoons
Combine the flours: Weigh the two flours. Sift them through the strainer into a large mixing bowl.
Add the water to the flour: Measure the water and pour it over the flours.
Knead until a crumbly dough is formed: Work the flours and water together with your hands and then knead it in the bowl until it come together into a rough and slightly crumbly dough. If the dough feels dry or you can still see dry flour after a few minutes of kneading, then add water a tablespoon at a time until all the flour is integrated. Conversely, if the dough feels very wet and sticky, add all-purpose flour a tablespoon at a time until it becomes a workable dough.
Knead the dough on the counter until smooth: Turn the dough out onto the counter. Continue kneading until it holds together easily, does not crack while kneading, and becomes smooth. You should not need to add any more flour at this point. The dough will be very dense — use all your strength!
Shape the dough into a disk: Shape the dough into a pointed cone, like a mountain peak. Press straight down on the peak with the palm of your hand, squishing it into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. The bottom should be very smooth. This step helps ensure that the dough is even and in a uniform shape before rolling.
Roll out the dough: Sprinkle the counter with a little starch and place the dough on top. Sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with starch. Begin rolling out the dough, working from the center of the dough outward in long, even strokes. Gently tap the edges of the dough with your rolling pin to shape them into straight lines as you roll, gradually shaping the dough into as close a rectangular shape as you can make it. Use more starch as needed to prevent sticking.
Continue rolling the dough into a rectangle longer than it is wide and 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch thick (as thin as possible!). It's ok to move it around on the counter and flip it over as needed. Keep in mind that the vertical width of your dough will be the length of the final soba noodles.
Fold the dough: The next step is folding the dough in order to make it easier to cut straight, thin noodles. Spread a generous handful of starch over half of the dough. Fold the dough in half, like closing a book. Spread the bottom of the dough with more starch and fold the top down. Spread starch over the entire surface of the dough and fold the top down again. You should end up with a tidy rectangular package.
Slice the soba: Place a pastry scraper, ruler, or other thin, flat utensil over the top of the folded dough. You will use this as a guide when cutting the noodles. Using your chefs knife, begin cutting the noodles 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch thick — the same thickness as your dough. Move the pastry scraper back with every cut to help you cut noodles with an even thickness. Toss the cut noodles with a little more starch to prevent sticking. Cook or freeze the soba within a few hours.
→ Make-Ahead Moment: At this point, the soba can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before cooking.
Cook the soba: Set a strainer in your sink. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes, and set this near the sink. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and drop in the soba. Cook for 60 seconds, then drain through the strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under cool water, lifting and gently shaking the soba until the cooking film is rinsed away. Immediately dunk the soba in the bowl of ice water. Drain and serve with dashi, soy sauce, and sesame oil, or use the soba in any recipe.
Adapted from Sonoko Sakai's recipe for Ni-Hachi Style Soba Noodles.