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I can't get the dough I tried to be good enough so that I can pulled it and make noodles out of it. What kind of flour exactly do I need? What are other things do I need?

I have used self raising flour as a base with water and yeast according to some random recipe on the net but it is not what I expected. I did a little research and found out that I should use a special flour for this but can't find anywhere what it is.

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@Arief - welcome to the site. As you can see in our FAQ (cooking.stackexchange.com/faq), this site is not for recipe requests. Instead you can ask a question that says "This is the recipe I have used. How can I fix it?" That helps us help you in a concise, objective way. –  justkt Nov 12 '10 at 21:23
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As justkt has mentioned, we don't do recipe requests here; however, if you would like to amend your question to include the specific recipe(s) you've attempted and what specific problems you are/were experiencing, then we can definitely help you. –  Aaronut Nov 12 '10 at 21:25
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The only thing is that we still don't know exactly what went wrong. Was the dough too loose to shape in the first place? Did the noodles end up too thick? Too brittle or crumbly? Every little bit helps; it's still kind of a mystery what "good enough" and "not what I expected" really mean. –  Aaronut Nov 12 '10 at 22:01
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I really do think it's important to know the specific recipe you tried as well, because there are so many, all with different kinds of flour. –  Aaronut Nov 12 '10 at 22:05
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Self raising flour is almost certainly the wrong thing to use for pasta, and the wrong thing to use in a recipe that uses yeast. (In all other ways, "pasta" and "uses yeast" are orthagonal.) In fact, unless you're from the American South, self-raising flour is the wrong thing to use, period. –  Marti Nov 12 '10 at 23:19
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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is the last write up on the topic, and it's much simplier:

For hand pulled noodles you need:
Bread flour (wet gluten 29-30%, protein 11%-12%)
45% added water
1% alkaline solution
kansui powder or (Lye Water + Baking powder) or Peng or Baking Soda

Ingridents (Alkaline solutions)
kansui powder
55% sodium carbonate (Na2CO3),
35% potassium carbonate (K2CO3),
10% sodium biphosphate dodecahydrate (NaHPO3.12H2O)

Lye Water
potassium carbonate (K2CO3) 74.5% in 100ml
sodium biphosphate (NaHPO3) 3.4% in 100ml

Instant ash Peng
sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) 90%
Sodium chloride (NaCl) 1.15%

It is highly recommended if you're going to use bread flour because of its wet gluten content you will need a high alkaline solution. This is why kansui powder is used, it has a ph of 11. If Kansui is not avaliable, use baking powder with lye water. If no lye water is around then use 1% of total mixture in sodium carbonate. If you're using a lower gluten dough like (all purpose flour) then baking powder will do just fine. If you're using cake flour then use baking soda.

(Remember to put the kansui/baking soda/baking powder/sodium carbonate mix it in with the flour before adding water. When pulling a LITTLE bit of the above can be used if the dough becomes too tight.

The reason why you see soo many receipes on the net is regarding different types of flour wet gluten level. For the receipes that use (cake flour) they use baking soda to break down the gluten within the dough and it will work. Though for plain flour, or regular flour you need to use a higher ph level, but not as much as bread flour, high gluten, hard flour.

sodium carbonate vs potassium carbonate:
I have not has success with bread flour, plain flour, all purpose flour with potassium carbonate. Even though it increases the ph of the dough it still does not give the dough its stretchability. The Chinese main land uses Instant ash Peng, or Peng. It contains mostly 80% sodium carbonate and 2% sodium chloride (stabling agent). This is the missing ingrident you will need to make hand pulled noodles within sufficient time.

Why use alkaline solution in the first place?! The reason for this is, alkaline solution increases water absorption and break down gluten faster. Though if left for longer periods of time will become MORE resistant to stretching over time.

There currently exists two way to break down gluten. Either leave the dough to rest for 20minutes to 1hr. Or use a alkaline solution eg.. kansui to increase the speed of the dough development and building/breaking down of gluten.

So its a measure of economy. You don't want to be waiting 20 minutes for the dough to be ready. Instead you want it asap. So thats why Peng or kansui in Japan mostly use sodium carbonate with hard wheat to speed up this proccess.

For a non alkaline solution use this tutorial, it will cover all the basics that you will need to learn and you WILL need to use all purpose flour or plain flour. Noodle flour works best: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbmuix_making-traditional-hand-pulled-nood_tech

In conclusion: Without sodium carbonate it's possible to have hand pulled noodles with any flour. The down side with using (bread flour) is you will need to kneed the dough for 45 minutes and leave to rest for 2hrs.

Without sodium carbonate the noodles are harder to pull and I had most success with cutting each strand and going from there from the video.

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Great tips. Caution Lye water is a strong alkaline (caustic) solution, a much safer alkaline for kitchen use is baking soda –  TFD Feb 26 '11 at 19:34
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The dough needs plenty of kneading, not yeast, knead in one direction (the pull direction). It's similar to pulling sugar

Use regular (low to medium gluten) flour and water, let it rest so the flour is fully saturated. Some cooks will use baking soda to help with tough dough

It's is probably wetter than you might expect too

It can takes a while for the dough to be good, so be patient

It can take years of practice to pull noodles well, it's probably not an ingredient problem

One technique is to pull and bang (gently bang the "pull" onto a floured bench), so that you are continuously resetting the "pull" into an even shape. This sets up a rhythm so that the dough has time to relax between pulls and wont break so easily

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I missed it the first time around, but I noticed the OP said "self raising" flour. That sounds like a terrible error to me, but now that I see you mention a use for baking soda above, do you think maybe that's why his recipe called for it? –  bikeboy389 Nov 13 '10 at 18:12
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Yeah, this isn't your Mothers pasta. The baking soda (or self raising flour) makes the dough "softer". If the dough is too hard it will break –  TFD Nov 23 '10 at 0:52
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This is the best hand pulled noodle tutorial I've found out there. Enjoy!

Edit: (quotes copied without asking permission (what's the policy for that?)

Ingredients for making hand pulled noodles are relatively simple. You need flour, water, some oil, and a little salt. In addition, you can add some lye water or baking soda.

Since most U.S. flour is really high in gluten, we'll mix a little bit of it will something that is really low in gluten: cake flour.

The recipe is 300g total. Flour for dough. Salt for flavor. Baking soda for texture. Oil for workability.

-156g cake flour -25g regular flour -110g warm water (the warmer the better) -2g salt -1g baking soda -6g vegetable oil

Notice this is a formula, not a recipe.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Take a heavy spoon and stir it a bit. When you're ready, pour the mix onto a kneading surface and begin working it with your hands. Once it feels relatively smooth, you need to start the real kneading process. You have to knead and stretch the dough until the gluten structue starts to break down. If you've ever made bread, you know you have to work the gluten by kneading the bread ball. With noodle dough, you have to take it PAST that bread stage. It will end up feeling a lot like clay, and when you stretch it you'll notice it doesn't tear.

Pulling 1. Be careful with the way you hold the dough. Make it a point to not grip the dough too tightly or it will tear when you pull it. Also try to hold the dough with anything BUT your fingertips (instead, hold the dough between your knuckles, for example), as your fingertips can apply too much point pressure and cause the dough to thin out and break. 2. The dough will resist long stretches. To get around this, it needs a rest here and there. You can provide this by stretching the dough like you're playing an accordion; many short, quick pulls. The dough also gets a rest when you fold it. 3. Speed helps if your noodles are uneven. The faster you stretch, the less the noodles will stretch under their own weight (which is the primary cause of unevenness). 4. Your first pull should be a full arms length. Pulls after that should be less than a full arms length. Otherwise you will end up with tears, especially with a smaller amount of dough.

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Links go away eventually. Could you include a brief summary of the relevant information? (e.g. no yeast is involved, you want soft flour...) –  Marti Nov 13 '10 at 14:51
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It would be really helpful to know the recipe, as I'm not sure what technique you're trying to do--"pulling" noodles isn't familiar to me.

In general, if you can't get your noodles rolled out, these are the issues I'd look at, in order of likelihood:

  1. Your hydration is too low (too much flour and/or not enough water). When this happens, the dough just breaks up instead of stretching.

  2. You need to knead longer or let the dough autolyze (fancy word for let it sit for 20-30 minutes). Having more gluten makes the dough more stretchy and it'll hold together better.

  3. Your dough is too cold. Don't heat your dough, but let it come up to room temperature (70f/20c) and it'll be easier to work.

  4. Your flour is too "hard" for your application. This is not that likely to be your problem, though. Hardness is a measure of how much protein is in the flour, and harder flour will make a stiffer dough with the same amount of liquid because more gluten is formed. Cake flour is very soft, as is Italian 00 flour. All-purpose is harder, and bread flour is quite hard.

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pulled noodles are totally different than Italian rolled pasta. It's a different technique entirely. –  justkt Nov 13 '10 at 20:08
    
yeah, I looked that up afterward (maybe I should have done it beforehand). It looks cool, and definitely requires a completely different dough--though I suspect that problems with dough are problems with dough. It's a fairly standard set of issues. Thanks for the heads up, though. –  bikeboy389 Nov 13 '10 at 20:22
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