Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post!
I have always been intimidated by making fresh, homemade noodles. For some reason, I thought that I could only make noodles with a pasta machine. But that’s not true, as I’ll show you in this homemade noodle recipe. You do not need fancy equipment to make Chinese noodles. It is all a matter of making the dough, rolling it out, cutting the noodles, and cooking them. That’s it!
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE NOODLES
MAKE THE DOUGH
Preparing the dough for the homemade noodles is very similar to the dough for my dumpling wrappers. You need to mix flour, water, and salt together and knead the dough.
The flour I am using in this homemade noodle recipe is Bob’s Red Mill’s organic unbleached white all-purpose flour. The flour is made from organic hard red wheat, and I love using it to make my noodles and dumpling wrappers. When I make dough for dumplings or noodles, I want the dough to be smooth and I want consistent results. Both Mama Lin and I agree that Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose flour makes great dough!
I decided to go with a 2:1 flour-to-water ratio (by weight) for the noodle dough. I tried several batches using slightly more water and I found the noodles stretched out too easily after I cut them. If I were making classic Chinese hand-pulled noodles (la mian, 拉麵), that stretchy quality would have been ideal. However, the homemade noodles here are akin to knife-cut noodles, so I need the dough to be stiffer.
When you first knead the dough, it will seem very dry (see photo 1 above). That is completely fine. Use your fingers to squeeze the dough as you knead it to work the moisture into the flour. After 8 to 10 minutes of kneading, the dough should feel evenly hydrated and the surface relatively smooth (see photo 2). Let the dough rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. When you knead the dough again after it has rested, the surface will look very smooth (see photo 3). You are now ready to roll out the dough.
ROLL OUT THE DOUGH
To make the dough easier to roll out, divide the large dough into 4 smaller pieces. Then, roll out each piece on a well-floured surface. Make sure to cover the other pieces of dough inside a bowl or under plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
Aim to roll out each small piece of dough into a rectangular shape, about 12 inches long and 5 ½ to 6 inches wide. In the beginning, the dough will be difficult to roll out because it will want to stretch back. Just be patient.
When I am rolling out the dough length-wise, I like to gently press down the dough on one end and use a rolling pin to stretch out the other end. Once you are done rolling it out, make sure to dust both sides of the dough with flour.
CUT THE DOUGH
Before cutting up the dough into noodles, fold the dough into thirds. Grab one short end of the dough and fold up about a third of it towards the center (see photo 2 above). Next, grab the other short end and lay it over the already folded dough (see photo 3).
Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the folds are on the top and bottom. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into noodles that are 1/2-inch thick (see photo 4). After you cut all the dough, you can unravel each individual noodle. Loosely bundle the noodles before rolling out the next piece of dough.
COOK THE NOODLES
Bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to boil. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, add the noodles. You can cook 1 or 2 bundles of noodles at a time. Make sure to stir the water right after the noodles go in to ensure that they don’t stick together. The noodles will float to the top once they are ready.
Freshly cooked noodles stick together easily. To prevent them from sticking into a giant block drizzle the cooked noodles with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and stir to incorporate.
If you are planning to serve the noodles later, submerge the cooked noodles into a bowl filled with ice water. The cold temperature of the water stops the cooking process and keeps the noodles apart. When you are ready to serve, you can heat the noodles in boiling water for a minute and then drain.
SERVE THE NOODLES
I think you’ll love the soft and chewy texture of these homemade noodles. That chewiness is something you only get from fresh noodles.
To make this an easy meal, I tossed the noodles with a mouth-watering spicy peanut sauce. In the photos, you’ll see that I also served the noodles with blanched baby bok choy and pan-fried tofu that I tossed with my teriyaki sauce.
SIDE DISHES TO SERVE WITH HOMEMADE NOODLES
Easy Homemade Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 320 g all-purpose flour, about 2 2/3 cups, spoon and sweep method
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 160 grams room temperature water, about 3/4 cup
For Cooking Noodles
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- sesame oil, to keep noodles from sticking together
Spicy Peanut Sauce
- rolling pin
- baking sheet
- spider spatula or large skimmer
Make the Dough
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the water and use a spoon or chopsticks to stir everything together.
- Once the water has been absorbed into the flour, use your hands to start gathering all the loose flour into the dough. The dough will seem very dry in the beginning, and that’s normal. Use your fingers to work the dry flour into the dough.
- When you get a large lump of dough, knead the dough on a dry surface. You do not need to add additional flour the surface. Continue kneading the dough for about 8 minutes. Again, the dough may seem dry for the first few minutes. Just use your fingers to squeeze the dough to hydrate it more evenly. After kneading for 8 minutes, you should have a relatively smooth ball of dough.
- Set the dough inside the bowl and cover it with a damp towel, a silicone lid, or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Roll Out the Dough
- Once the dough has rested, take it out of the bowl. Knead it for a minute or two. The surface of the dough should now be very smooth now.
- Sprinkle some flour onto a large baking sheet and set it aside.
- Generously flour your work surface. Divide the dough into 4 smaller pieces. Keep 1 piece out and cover the other 3 pieces of dough.
- Shape this piece of dough into an oval and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 12 inches long and 5 1/2 to 6 inches wide. The dough will be difficult to roll out in the beginning because it will want to shrink back. Gently press down on one end of the dough as you use a rolling pin to stretch out the other end. Do the same on the other side. If at any point the dough is sticking to the rolling pin, brush some flour over the dough. You may need to brush flour underneath as well.
Cut the Noodles
- Once you have rolled out a rectangle, lightly brush flour over the dough. Then, fold it into thirds.
- Grab one short end of the dough and fold up about a third of it towards the center. Then, fold the other short end towards the center so that you now have 3 overlapping layers of dough. Use the photos in the post for reference.
- Next, rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the folds are on the top and bottom. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1/2-inch pieces (see Note 1). Make sure your cuts are perpendicular to the folds. Unravel each individual noodle. Then, gather all the noodles and make fold them in half into a small, loose bundle. Transfer the noodles to the floured baking sheet.
- Continue rolling out and cutting the remaining dough into noodles.
Cook the Noodles
- Mix all the spicy peanut sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set it aside.
- Add 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a pot, and bring the water to boil. Add 1 or 2 bundles of noodles into the boiling water. Use a wooden spoon to stir the noodles a little to keep them from sticking together. Let the noodles cook for 3 to 4 minutes. The noodles will float to the top when they are done cooking. You’ll notice that the noodles expand once they’re cooked.
- Use a spider spatula or skimmer to remove the noodles from the pot. Transfer the noodles to a bowl. Drizzle about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sesame oil over the noodles and stir everything together. This will help keep the noodles from sticking together into a solid block(see note 2). Continue cooking the remaining noodles.
- Once all the noodles are cooked, toss the noodles with the spicy peanut sauce. Add more chili oil if you want more spiciness. I served these noodles cold. I shocked the noodles in ice water for several minutes and drained them. Then, I tossed the noodles with the spicy peanut sauce. It’s up to you whether you want the noodles to be served hot or cold.
Make it A Meal
- I served the noodles with baby bok choy that I blanched in boiling water for about a minute. I also pan fried extra-firm tofu pieces until they were golden brown (about 3 to 4 minutes each side). Then, I tossed the tofu with my teriyaki sauce.
- You can garnish the noodles with pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and sliced scallions if you like.
- The first few times I made the noodles, I used a bench scraper to cut the noodles. Because the bench scraper wasn’t as sharp as a knife, the dough squished together as I cut the noodles. This made unraveling the noodles much more difficult.
- If you are planning to serve the noodles later, submerge the cooked noodles into a bowl filled with ice water. When you are ready to serve, heat the noodles in boiling water for a minute. Then, remove the noodles.
- FREEZER DIRECTIONS: To freeze the noodles, dust them with rice flour so that the noodles don’t stick together. Then, place the noodles on parchment lined plates and let it freeze for several hours. Transfer the frozen noodles to a freezer bag. When you are ready to cook them, add the frozen noodles directly into boiling water. There is no need to defrost them before cooking. The noodles will need an extra minute or two to cook.