Did you know that you can make your own buckwheat soba noodles? We found that homemade buckwheat noodles taste twice as good as the 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles we’ve bought before, and cost half as much. Mild, tender, and delicious, they are the perfect foundation for a beautiful pasta dish, and you can even serve them to a gluten free guest!
I choose to make these buckwheat noodles out of 100 % buckwheat, so they are completely gluten free. Buckwheat, by the way, is not at all related to wheat. It’s not even considered a “grain”, but rather is a highly nutritious “seed”.
“While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens. Buckwheat flowers are very fragrant and are attractive to bees that use them to produce a special, strongly flavored, dark honey. ” WHfoods.com
But if you want to add a bit more strength to your pasta dough, you could add up to half whole wheat bread flour in place of some of the buckwheat flour, though obviously you wouldn’t want to then serve it to a gluten free guest!
As it was, I was surprised at how easy it was to work with. I was imagining the dough being completely unworkable. But it holds together quite well!
Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles
Makes 6 servings
This recipe uses the soaking method, which neutralizes anti-nutrients in grain, so start the night before.
2 cups of buckwheat flour *See notes above for adding in wheat flour for extra strength
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
The night before, place the flour in a medium size bowl. Pour the water and vinegar/lemon juice into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until you’ve combined it as much as you can. It will most likely be a crumbly mixture at this point. Using your hands, start kneading the mixture until the water and four starts turning into a ball (at which point you can knead a little on a clean surface outside the bowl). Knead for a few minutes until it forms into a firm ball. If needed, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of more water, or flour. You want a firm, but not dry, or wet ball. 1/2 cup of water to 2 cups of flour was perfect for me.
Clean out your bowl and place the dough ball back into it. Dampen a clean dish towel, and wring dry. Place over the ball of dough to keep it moist while it “soaks”. I also put plastic wrap over the bowl, just to make sure that everything stays moist. Leave the bowl out on the counter top overnight for 12 -24 hours.
When ready to roll out, first place a large pot of water to boil on the stove. While the Japanese don’t salt their pasta water, I like too, as the dough doesn’t contain any salt. So salt it generously.
Meanwhile, divide the dough into four sections. Using arrowroot powder, buckwheat flour, or even white flour (once again, only if you don’t have to be gluten free), flour the rolling surface well. If you have a large wooden cutting board, it’s nice to roll and cut directly on it. Flour the top of the dough and your wooden rolling pin. With gentle, but firm motions, start rolling out the dough. You want to roll it out to about 1/8 inch thickness or even thinner! During this process make sure that you are keep both sides of the dough well floured.
To make it easier to cut, I cut the dough into thirds (about 4 inches tall), and laid them on top of each other (just make sure they are lightly floured to prevent sticking).
Using a sharp knife, cut the noodles into 1/8 inch “slices” all the way down the dough.
Repeat this process with the rest of the dough and let the noodles rest for about 10-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, your pot of water should be ready. Make sure it’s at a rolling boil, then add all of the noodles at once, giving a gentle stir to make sure they don’t stick to each other. It should only take two minutes to cook. When done they should be tender, but still be slightly chewy.
Drain the noodles, making sure that you use a colander with fine holes so the noodles don’t fall through!
You can now rinse with cold water to cool them if you are using it in a cool dish, or keep warm for whatever dish you have planned for it.
P.S. We used a peanut sauce from this recipe, which was wonderful when tossed with the buckwheat noodles.
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