Saturday, December 6, 2008

A New Noodle Recipe

UPDATE February 8, 2009 - I've put together a Hand Pulled Noodle webpage with all this info in one place.

So I went over the translations I got for a post I made about a chinese video I found (special thanks to Rusty), and I came up with another noodle recipe that's a lot easier than the two previous ones. I did two test batches (the first was too dry, and I botched it with too much baking soda). Here's what I came up with:

-158g cake flour
-26g regular flour
-110g water
-6g vegetable oil or sesame oil
-2g salt
-1g baking soda

UPDATE 2009-01-29 -- I've changed this recipe because it was a little dry.  The previous recipe had no oil.

Just combine all the ingredients together in a bowl until it's pretty well mixed. Then dump it out and knead it til it's smooth. Give it a short rest (10 minutes), and then the real work starts.

Put a little oil on your hands and knead start working the dough (follow the tips I give in my kneading video). If you knead it without oil, it will seem a little dry, but if you add oil it makes it feel like it could really end up stretching into some nice noodles. You'll notice a big difference. Try it if you like. You won't hurt the dough.

Anyways, if you spend some time watching the Chinese video I posted, you'll notice that the way they knead the dough involves twisting it. I found this to be really useful in giving the dough a little exercise. Basically, roll the dough into about a 10 inch hotdog, hold a section of it in place with one hand, and then press the heel of your other hand into the free part of the dough closest to the part that's being held. I made an illustration to help out:

I Hope that makes sense.  The goal is to cause a tear in the dough between your hands.  At any rate, I think this recipe is probably the best and easiest to understand. Flour for dough. Salt for flavor. Baking soda for texture. Oil for workability. Good Luck, everyone :)


  1. Hey Luke,
    Thanks for all the info. This is great. One quick question though. In your new recipe (dec 6th) what kind of flour is the 186g? Is that a mix of the cake and regular flour, or is it all cake flour? Thanks again


  2. @Will:

    Good catch. It's a mix of cake flour and regular flour. I completely forgot to mention that when I made the post. I've updated it so there's no confusion.

  3. Hi Luke!

    I've been trying to make noodle using your recipe lately. I'm from France and not sure about which flour to use. I've tried regular flour(*), regular flour with wheat gluten, and the mix of regular and cake flour(**). The problem might be that the cake flour I used had yeast in it...


    The mix of cake flour and regular one gave a very bad result. I've been kneading the dough for about 40 minutes, but didn't reach the good consistency. In all my tries, I obtained a dough which is far from being elastic enough. My best result though was with regular flour mixed with wheat gluten: I could at least obtain very thin noodles but only extending them on my kneading board. Other tries just tear appart to easily, or the elasticity was just like rubber (too strong to pull).

    Anything inspiring enough for a reply?... ;)

    But thanks for your recipes... I'm not done yet!

    Regards, ABE Lyu

  4. I tried three times to make noodle dough, and my last attempt was the closest. In the end, I always end up rolling out the dough and cutting the noodles with a knife. I see that you posted a new recipe and will try that one next. I did find the exact Korean wheat flour that you posted on you site (green lettering with the bear) at Panda's Pantry in Allentown, PA. What is your recipe using this flour and no lye water?

    Thanks for your help. I will not quit until I master the dough. I will not let the noodle beat me.



  5. Scott, did your dough spring back? I cannot figure out a point where the dough will not spring back after pulling...

  6. @Gorgo13:

    hmm, the flour at already has some baking soda in it. It may actually be too much. The composition is listed as:

    Wheat Flour: 97% - lift powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, wheat starch): 3%

    My recipe uses .3% baking soda, and just doubling that will ruin the batch. You'll end up with something you've described, where it just never loosens up. The same happens when you have too much gluten. You could _try_ using your regular flour without adding any baking soda, but if it was me I would try to find a different cake flour without the added baking soda.


    If you're using that Korean flour, you can just use that for all your flour needs. So instead of mixing cake flour and regular flour, just use 187g of the Korean stuff (for my new recipe). That's the flour I tested this recipe with, actually, and it works well.

    And for everyone, if you're having trouble getting the dough to relax, I suggest getting angry at it. Just beat the crap out of it, try to pull it, get angry that it doesn't work and beat it some more. It takes some serious working to get it loosened up. Knead it harder than you ever thought dough needed to be kneaded. You'll be rewarded in the end.

  7. I was just wondering- what temperature the water should be? If I don't get a response I'll guess room temperature. Thanks!

  8. Sorry about the last post. Just read through your page again- you clearly say warm water is better. My bad.

    One thing that you didn't quite mention is that you're using bleached all purpose flour. It took me two tries to realize that, but I think I finally got this dough stuff under control.

    Just want to join everyone else with a thank you. I've always wanted to make these noodles!

  9. OK, still working on this. I'm at an altitude of 1,000 ft or so. Is that what you'd consider "high altitude"? I'm going to try another batch with just cake flour, since the batches I tried with your new mix are consistently breaking even after forty five minutes of kneading. (If I wasn't just watching television anyway I'd be a bit annoyed by now.)

  10. Thank you very much for the recipe! I tried it yesterday but then it had too much protein and didn't really work when kneading it. Most likely because we don't have cake flour here in Sweden so it got messed up.

    Though I have done some math now to get the right amount of protein in it. With the korean flour you used it had around 7.6 % protein and with the flour mix that you're using in this recipe it's around 7.2 %. So I calculated to mix some 12 % protein flour with some cornflour that has no protein, or gluten in it to get around 7.5 %. Though I'm not entirely sure because cake flour is bleached to not produce anymore gluten so I'll see if I need to lower the amount in my batch. Now I'm off to the store to get some cornflour.

    I'll comment later on how it went! :)

  11. Thanks for doing this legwork! I have been tinkering with the recipes and techniques and having success. Speaking as one who is highly experienced with flour and gluten development I find this dough very interesting. It is certainly harder to make than decent bread dough. Basically I find that getting the dough correct entails getting the right combination of all purpose flour, pastry flour, baking powder and mixing. Most of the failures I have had so far have been due to over mixing. At that point the developed gluten is completely torn and the dough will form thin spots and will tear.

    Has anyone here seen this article?

    "The TV show Glutton for Punishment from the Food Network had an episode in 2007 where the show host Bob Blumer had to master the art of making hand-pulled noodles in one week. One of the challenges that he had to overcome was that nobody would give him a recipe for the dough. After a lot of sleuthing, he saw a noodle chef preparing the dough and came up with a recipe consisting of pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and water. Pastry flour has 10-11.5% protein whereas all-purpose flour has 11-13% protein. A mixture of these two flours is lower in protein (gluten) than all-purpose flour and will make a dough that is easier to stretch. In addition, the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) increases the alkalinity of the dough. The alkalinity weakens the flour proteins, improves moisture retention by hydrating the starches, and produces a more pliable dough that facilitates pulling the noodles.

    Traditional Chinese noodle recipes used "Kansui" or alkaline water from wells in the preparation of the dough. Modern formulations use kansui powder, containing sodium and potassium carbonates, dissolved in water. 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).[1] Japanese ramen noodles are a variation of Chinese-style noodles made with kansui. "

    BTW I converted the measurements of the latest recipe to volume for those without a scale.

    160g cake flour = 1.6 cups
    -27g regular flour = .3 cups
    -110g water = .46 cups
    -2g salt = .4 tsp.
    -1g baking soda = .2 tsp.

    Everyone please keep posting your results so we can all get a better idea of how to make this dough!

  12. Another interesting tidbit.

    "To make a single serving (100 g) of instant ramen, 0.1 to 0.2 g of KANSUI is used. For non-fried noodles, the amount is 0.3 to 0.6 g.

    KANSUI dissolved in water forms an alkaline solution with a pH value of about 8, roughly the same as fresh egg white. "

    I don't have any ph testing equipment so I can't measure the baking soda water I am using so it would be nice if someone else out there could.

  13. Just finished my ninth try at this, first time using the Korean flour (also bought at Marina - I work in Cupertino).

    Still have yet to achieve pullable dough. Not giving up though!

    I just had a thought on the baking soda - I've been adding it to the flour - probably should dissolve it in the water.

  14. Watching that video on, notice how wet that dough is as he begins.

  15. @wheatgeneration:

    Careful when comparing your dough to the video. I've actually seen and pulled dough like that, and the only way to get something like that is to run it though a machine. It's impossible to knead dough like that by hand. It will just stick to everything.

    However, the wetness is a helpful note. Nick, on my Overview post, noted his success at pulling, with this note (among others): "The dough came together fine, but when it came to the pull it kept tearing. So I simply kept adding water, a bit at a time, until the ball became almost too sticky to handle."

    So if you're doing it by hand, you've got to knead the dough as it is, and once it's been kneaded for a while, THEN add some extra water to loosen it up.

  16. Thanks I will keep that in mind.

    I have really been giving the dough a workout, mostly kneading out to about 12~18" wide then folding then repeating and even after 40 minutes of that I have been unable to achieve dough that pulls evenly.

    Another thought I had was the water. I live in Gilroy where the city water comes from wells and has a pH of about 7.8 or so. That is, mine is passing through a water softener, which replaces the calcium ions with sodium ions. I wonder if that matters?

    Ah well, I bought 3 bags of the Korean flour and will just keep trying. It is excellent exercise.

  17. Can't wait to try out the recipe. I watched Kung-Fu Panda last night and was amazed at the special feature that showed a guy making noodles by pulling them. Holy Cow! I had the hardest time finding a recipe. Thanks for sharing your hard work and making it easy to understand.

  18. I've tried this recipe twice, and even after ~40 mins. of vigorous kneading, and letting it rest overnight, I've come close to the putty texture, but still found that the dough pulls unevenly.

    So I wonder if any of these factors may have affected the dough:

    -Both times I used kosher (flake) salt. Do you have any specific salt recommendations?
    -It's been raining recently - any effects on the dough?
    - I have a bag of the Korean flour - how much am I supposed to be using? In your note above, you say that you should use 187 g of the Korean flour, and yet your mixed flour version only adds up to 184 g of flour. Is this correct?

    And yes, second on wheatgeneration's comment - the kneading is excellent exercise.

  19. I have tried mix all purpose flour with potato starch at ratio of 15:1 and I got pullable dough as a result.
    Since this is the first time I tried mix wheet flour with potao starch, I don't know if that's the best ratio.

    By the way, I am glad I found this site.

  20. @Ed:

    It sounds like you've got the dough correct. Getting even noodles just takes practice. To answer your questions, though:

    1. Kosher salt will work.
    2. The humidity might actually help you if it's raining, but if the dough gets cold that could make it a little harder to pull. The warmer you can keep it the better.
    3. Unfortunately I can't edit comments after they're already written. The comment you reference was for the recipe before I made some modifications. In short, follow the recipe, which totals to 184g for the Korean flour.

  21. I bought some "weak flour" which has 2g of protein for every serving (30 grams)
    which is 6.66%

    what i don't get is what is the point of mixing it with regular flour since that is just going to higher the gluten level if I'm not mistaken.

  22. when I'm kneading my dough it feels like it just builds up resistant and tightness in the dough.making it harder to pull. is there suppose to be a time when it will eventually feel looser and softer??

  23. when I'm kneading my dough it feels like it just builds up resistant and tightness in the dough.making it harder to pull. is there suppose to be a time when it will eventually feel looser and softer??

  24. @Adrian:

    There are a lot of flour types out there. It sounds like your "weak flour" might still have too much gluten in it if your dough never loosens up. Your best bet is to try to find some cake flour. Any change you have a link to a site selling this "weak flour"?

  25. Hi again Luke! I haven't tried again since my last post. I have been looking for adequate flour, but I recently saw this:
    It says it has 0.3% sodium and 10% proteins in it. It is a all-purpose flour... do you think this might do the trick?

  26. @Gorgo13:

    All-purpose flour generally has too much gluten in it, so I'm a little skeptical, but by weight that flour looks like it just might work.

  27. Luke -
    Fellow programmer/cook here... first off, thank you very much for sharing your work! It's awesome to go looking for something like this and find that someone else has already taken it on and deigned to post about it.

    I ended up with the same brands of (cake and all-purpose) flour you list... unfortunately, since my digital scale only reads in 2g increments (seriously, I don't know what these people were thinking), I had to make a double batch of dough to get any sort of accuracy.

    No problem there; the problem is that after kneading for a solid hour (at least) I'm still sitting with dough that resists being stretched past about 2ft. Which is obviously problematic. While I feel that I've just about made up for missing Friday's workout, I'm no closer to hand-pulled noodles (or at least the dough that would allow me to attempt it).

    I realize this is a really weak bug report, and it's most likely user error, but I'm a bit lost at this point. I've used the tearing method for kneading at length, as well as keeping it wet to the point where it's nearly sticking to the counter and my hands most of the time... a double batch seems a bit short of what you'd need to properly use the twirling method, from my results.

    I'm at a loss... do you have any further suggestions or alterations to the recipe that might help?

  28. @Phu (and everyone):

    joelruns on YouTube has posted a video that might help with kneading technique. Check it out at


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