I've seen many videos regarding how to knead the pulled noodle dough. The one recipe I used for this is:

For hand pulled noodles you need:

  • Bread flour (wet gluten 29-30%, protein 11%-12%)
  • 45% added water 1%
  • sodium carbonate (soda ash)
  • 0.2% sodium chloride (salt)

sourced from here.

I believe I've done the kneading right because the dough is smooth and elastic. I can pull & twist it a few times. Then I made a mistake and the dough broke and then it failed. After a few attempts to re-knead the dough using fold and knead techniques, it seems the gluten structure is messy. I can see the dough is rough. Seems like it's too alkaline or something.

Anyway, the question is can I fix the dough? because no matter how long I kneaded it, it seems not to realign (the dough is coarse and lacks the plasticity and flexibility, and tears easily if you tried to pull it, revealing the gluten mess).

Can anyone make any suggestion or recommendation from experience?

  • This sounds like overkneaded dough, but I have never had it happen with hand kneading. If it is really overkneading, there is no way to save it. I am still not sure this is the case, as you would have to work it a lot, maybe more than an hour in total, if you are doing all your kneading and pulling by hand.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:34
  • @rumtscho, according to the site I link to in my original answer, overkneading is impossible. Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 12:11
  • @BaffledCook according to Corriher, overkneading is very possible. If you remind me, I'll post you a scan in chat sometime.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 8:16

4 Answers 4


I'm new to the site and I wish I could make this a comment, not an answer, but I don't know how.

Hand pulled noodles use cake flour with less gluten and baking soda to reduce the gluten even further.



If you are hand kneading, it's unlikely you are over-kneading because the dough will become very hard. The issue is very likely the soda ash overreacting with the wheat. But if you did over-knead, there is nothing you can do to save it

If you did break, there is no way of fixing it. Maybe to save the dough, change the strategy: Add eggs and more flour and make egg pasta. I have over-kneaded egg pasta many times in my KitchenAid mixer and it still turns out alright.

  • 1
    You need reputation to add a comment, after you have it you will see a link below each question and answer. But what you wrote is good enough as an answer by itself, no need to turn it into a comment.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 17:46
  • 1
    Interesting. My first attempt at hand-pulled noodles also used low-gluten flour. However here at the Tiny Urban Kitchen blog she posts a recipe from a class she took, which calls for only high-gluten flour, water and salt.
    – JoeFish
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 21:45
  • 1
    In fact, it was the recipe from another of her posts here that I used. One of the comments on the other link noted all the recipes I see on the internet written by people outside of China say to use low gluten flour, however all Chinese sources say to use high gluten flour
    – JoeFish
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 21:54
  • That is funny. Did you see my videos? One of them if from the tiny urban kitchen. I wonder what came first.
    – Melara
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 21:56
  • There is no cake flour ( low protein ) in my country. I did some research and talked to an agronomist friend and he believes that cake flour must be soft wheat without the semolina. He explained that gluten has 2 proteins glutenin and gliadin. He thinks that cake flour must have a lower content of gliadin which gives firmness. Glutenin on the other half is elastic. Semolina which is part of the endosperm of the wheat contains gliadin ( that's why it used in pasta and pudims where firmness is more important ). But he said he is working that assumption and still needs to research. It makes sense
    – Melara
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 13:24

The recipe you have is for ramen, not hand pulled noodles. Your gluten levels are way too high and the carbonate is not helping. If you are adding sodium carbonate, your noodles should be turning yellow. Look at examples of professionals pulling dough, all the dough is white, therefore no sodium carbonate was used. I have been working on hand pulled noodles recently, with success, but I have not nailed down all the parameters. A gluten content of 7.2% seems to be a requirement. Yes, the decimal place is important.

If you use softasilk and all-purpose flour you will get close enough to be able to make noodles for dinner. www.lukerymarz.com has a recipe to follow.


No personal experience, but

Dough Wetness

The wetter the dough, the easier it is to pull. If you are having trouble getting the dough to be stretchy, add some water. You'll want the dough to be wet enough such that it will stick to the counter or your hand if you let it sit for 10 seconds or so. After that, if you add more water, it will make it too difficult to handle and it will stick to everything.


Warmer dough is stretchier. The warmer you keep the dough as you're trying to pull it, the better off you'll be. It isn't necessary to pull proper noodles, but it can make the difference if you're just getting the hang of it.


You can practice with the same piece of dough for hours. If it gets too dry, just wet your hands or dip the dough in some water to rewet it.

Source: www.lukerymarz.com

  • 1
    He also had some other comments about tearing : "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."; "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"
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 12:49

That recipe is gaslighting you. It cannot possibly work. Hydration is way too low. Adding alkali alone will not help pull. In practical restaurant applications penghui is added which is a mix of salt, alkali, and IMPORTANTLY dough relaxers. Without penghui, you need to tweak hydration very precisely to have any chance at success. Then you have to acquire the skills to actually pull. It's a fun but long journey.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.