RAMEN NOODLES – jak zrobić? [Teoria]

Hey, I’m Kamil and I’m taking you for a journey into magical world of ramen. Alkaline noodles are our first stop. Alkaline noodles originate from Inner Mongolia where natives used alkaline water from nearby lakes for making noodle dough. Chinese workers brought it to Japan in the beginning of 20th century. Addition of kansui (mixture of alkalines) causes noodles to have: Yellowish color Elasticity Springy texture in some way similar to Italian pasta made al dente Above all else limited water absorption in a hot soup Before I move on to ingredients I would like to say that there is a second video where I’m showing how to make ramen noodles from scratch and I provide two recipes, one basic and one advanced. Basic ingredient in ramen is of course finely milled wheat flour but you may encounter noodles with whole grain or rye flour. I’m going to talk about classic version which is 100% wheat. When it comes to choosing a right flour for ramen there are three factors we have to take into consideration – – percentage content of protein, starch and ash. We can compare ramen dough to a human body where protein (gluten to be exact) is a skeletal system, starch is muscles and ash is for example hair color. Ash content equals to mineral content in flour. For example if we reduce 100 grams of flour into ashes and receive 0,4g of ash it means our flour has 0,4% ash content. Higher ash content means better dietetic value of noodles but darker color. Using flour with as low ash content as possible will result in brighter and smoother looking noodles. Starch provides elasticity and mochi-like texture. Ramen flour should have around 60% – 68% of starch. If you can’t find that information on your flour’s package you can assume that if flour has above 70% of total carbohydrates it should at least cover the minimum starch content. Ramen noodles are elastic and chewy thanks to proteins – gliadins and glutenin. Those two become gluten after mixing with water. Handling the dough in a proper way guarantees strong protein complex. As gluten is usually 75% to 85% of total protein content, we can use overall protein content as our guideline for choosing the right ramen flour. On the graph you can see examples of different ramen noodles types and minimum and maxium protein content for respective type. First are pretty self explanatory, fourth means COLD and fith is DIPPED. In Ivan Orkin’s book we can find that overall protein content for ramen should be around 10% – 11% and both recipes in my second video use this range. Another important ingredient is water and proper dough hydration. Hydration means water to flour ratio in percentages. If you add 40 grams of water into 100 grams of flour you get dough with 40% hydration. We can divide ramen into three levels of hydration: Low – 20% – 29% – very dry dough, not possible to achieve in home kitchens Medium – 30% – 38% – still dry but achievable from around 35% High – 39% and higher, quite moist, easy to make on a pasta machine, level of 45% might be achievable without it if you are some kind of body builder Graph shows different hydration levels for the same noodle types as before. The lowest level of hydration I managed to achieve on a small pasta machine was around 35% but you have to take into consideration that it might break your machine. When noodles are boiling small amount of dough is transferred into the boiling water and that water is being transferred into the dough. Around 70% of boiled noodles weight is water so quality of water used for the dough and for boiling is quite important. Hard water interferes with exchanging process during boiling which extends time needed for boiling noodles. That leads to increased loss of ingredients during boiling and noodles lose some of their durability in a hot soup. That’s why if you have hard tap water just use distilled or demineralised water. Addition of kansui makes water more alkaline which is beneficial for our noodles in many ways: – Limited growth of bacteria while resting the dough – Changes to both taste and aroma of noodles – Noodles become slippery and elastic – Yellowish color – Reduced loss of ingredients during boiling – Shorter boiling time – Increased durability of noodles in a hot soup When it comes to choosing kansui we have 3 main options: – Sodium carbonate – You can either buy it or use a method developed by Harold McGee who found out that baked baking soda might substitute kansui for home cooks. Whole process is very straightforward – spread your baking soda on a baking tray laid out with baking paper and bake it for an hour in 130-150 C. . Baking evaporates water and removes carbon dioxide which results in clean sodium carbonate. Cool down baked baking soda, transfer to an airtight container and store indefinitely. Avoid touching the powder with your skin as it might cause serious irritations. – Lye water – alkaline solution that might have different ingredients depending on the country it originates from. Japanese solutions usually has 80% sodium carbonate and 20% potassium carbonate while Chinese might have sodium bicarbonate and potassium carbonate. – Mixing your kansui from sodium and potassium carbonates – the main advantage of that approach is total control over carbonates’ ratios. Potassium carbonate is said to enhance color and aroma and it also toughens and strengthens our noodles. Sodium carbonate softens noodles and has less effect on color and aroma. We can assume that the lower the hydration, the higher ratio of potassium carbonate and vice versa. In home kitchens we will use a ratio of 8:2 / 7:3 for sodium carbonate to potassium carbonate in most cases due to high hydration. Regardless of chosen approach, amount of added kansui should be around 1-2% of flour weight. I would like to say something about noodles’ thickness as it has direct connection between hydration, protein content and kansui. Graph shows the same types of noodles as before but this time you can see the thickness of noodles for each type. Let’s say that we want to make Hakata style noodles. They are very thin so we have to do something so they won’t overcook in a hot soup. We need to do 3 things: – increase protein content – more gluten means harder dough – lower hydration so our dough is dry, tough and doesn’t absorb too much water while boiling – increase ratio of potassium carbonate Doing all of the above results in thin noodles that boil in seconds and remain chewy. Due to their thickness their durability in a hot soup might be lower but their soup absorption is much better. It means that with every slurp of noodles we get more soup compared to thicker noodles. Common thing in ramen shops serving Hakata ramen is a possibility of choosing desired noodle texture. Apart from obvious impact on flavor, salt does something else: – slows down proteolysis – streghtens gluten structures which results in better elasticity – slows down development of bacteria while resting the dough Amount fo salt added should be around 1%-2% of flour weight. Time is one of the most important ingredients in our noodles and I don’t mean time needed for kneading or sheeting the dough. Resting time plays a crucial part in the whole process. We have three resting periods: – first after mixing ingredients – second after forming and combining the dough – third after cutting noodles Typical proportions for one portion of ramen noodles look like this: – 100 grams of wheat flour – Between 20 and 45 grams of water depending on hydration, in home kitchens we should consider 35 grams and more – 1 – 2 grams of kansui – 1 – 2 grams of salt There are 7 stages plus one prepping stage. Prep comes down to dissolving kansui and salt in water. It might take a while since sodium carbonate is hard to dissolve. If you have got a blender use one. 1. First stage – mixing. Mix flour for a minute so it becomes aerated, then add around 2/3 of kansui, salt and water solution and mix further for 3 to 4 minutes. Clean the mixing container, add the rest of kansui solution and mix again. Second mixing time depends on hydration level: low hydration mix for 11 minutes medium for 6 minutes and high for a minute. Our goal is to hydrate flour as evenly as we can and at the same time we don’t want to break gluten structure by mixing too long especially in higher hydration dough. Transfer pieces of dough into a bag, make sure there is as little air as possible and leave it closed to rest. 2. First resting effects: – water particles have a chance to evenly combine with flour – gluten has time to “relax” – enzymes that exist in flour start to do their job – degassing – air bubbles that got in during mixing can leave the dough. It has a positive influence on noodles’ structure. Air bubbles that didn’t leave the dough would “explode” during boiling and damage noodles’ structure which could result in worse durability in a hot soup and worse appearance. Our dough should rest in room temperature for an hour for low and medium hydration and around 2 to 3 hours for high hydration. Depending on used flour and room temperature those times can vary so I encourage you to experiment on your own to find the best solution for your case. It applies to all resting stages. 3. Kneading and folding the dough is the toughest stage as it comes to our work and machine’s strain. Rested dough needs to be kneaded and while hydration above 40% allows us to knead it by hand, lower hydration levels require applying greater force. We have to use our whole body and step on the dough repeatedly. Seriously, open the bag with dough inside so the air won’t tear it apart and step on it. Then fold the dough and step again. Repeat it a couple of times and you will get roughly formed dough which needs to be further kneaded on a pasta machine. Divide the dough into smaller portions and let it through the widest setting of rollers in your machine. Fold the dough and roll it out again, then fold it and roll out again. Repeat this process until you get smooth sheet of dough. Now we have to combine the dough. We need to thin out the dough, step by step, two to three times. In my case I’m rolling the dough from 0 to 1, from 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3. After last roll on 3 fold your dough and roll it out on second setting. Then fold it and roll out on 1. You can leave it like that or fold it last time and roll out on 0. Transfer that final sheet of dough into an airtight bag and leave it to rest. 4. Second resting is mostly for gluten to relax after what we did to it during combining. It also has a similar effect to the first resting stage. Times of second resting according to hydration: – 30 minutes for low
– 60 minutes for medium
– 120 minutes for high 5. Now we can cut the noodles. First we need to roll out the dough into desired thickness. If you need to dust the dough don’t use flour and use potato starch (corn starch might work too) instead. When choosing the right thickness of noodles we have to consider level of hydration. We can assume that the higher the hydration, the thicker noodles we should be making. For me the thinnest setting I use on my machine (Italian Marcato) is 3 but 4 and 5 are also acceptable with a good dough (don’t go that far if you are just starting your adventure with noodle making). For cutting noodles we should use a small cutter (1,5mm wide in my case). Dust cut noodles with starch and leave it covered to rest. If you want straight noodles try to catch them while cutting and lay them evenly on a tray. If you throw them carelessly in a bag like I did, you will get unevenly curly noodles. 6. The last and the longest resting period. Effects are similar to the previous resting stages. You should rest your noodles for at least 12 hours but it is advised to prolong this to 24, 48 or even as long as 72 hours. It all depends on used flour, hydration, kansui and room temperature so I encourage you to experiment on your own. After resting time we can boil those noodles or store them in a fridge for a few days. 7. Boiling is the quickest stage of the whole process. For medium thickness and hydration levels boiling time should be around 30 to 60 seconds. Use soft water for boiling if possible. To prevent water temperature from dropping too low after throwing in the noodles, amount of water you boil should be around 10 times greater than the noodles weight. After boiling we drain noodles thoroughly and transfer them into a bowl. If you want to use them cold, drain it and run it under cold water until completely cold. And that’s it for theory part! Thank you all for listening and watching, especially those who managed to stay with me till the end. You have to keep in mind that some of the conditions I mentioned in the video are not accessible in a home kitchen environment but knowing all the dependencies between ingredients you can experiment on your own and create the best recipe. More about practical side of view along with recipes in my second video – feel invited 🙂

One comment on “RAMEN NOODLES – jak zrobić? [Teoria]”

  1. Radziu says:

    Bardzo fajny i merytoryczny film!
    Możesz powiedzieć coś więcej o przechowywaniu makaronu? Czy zalecasz zamrożenie? Czy może lepiej ususzyć, albo zapakować próżniowo(jeśli tak to czy surowy czy ugotowany? i ile przy tych metodach można przechowywać?
    Jaki dokładnie model jest tej maszynki do makaronu? Co tam za nóż widnieje? 😛
    Ps. Fajny kot 😉

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