Udon: Stompin’ on the Noodles

walking on udon dough

THOSE are my favorite socks! Can you see that they are beginning to wear out? I only wear them for special occasions. Making dough qualifies as an event. Mr. Tess commented that making some real dough would be a good idea… hmm… if he’s so smart, why ain’t he rich… he’s good at bad puns…anyway, he’s a keeper.

Besides special socks, you’ll also need a large plastic bag. In the past, I’ve used a gallon freezer bag. Recently, I found a site that recommends using a plastic table cloth folded in half to enclose the dough. The advantage is that you can walk the dough out quite a bit bigger and flatter which means less work rolling the dough by hand. AND BEST LUCK for me: I found some really big (2 feet by 20 inches) heavy-weight food-safe bags just right for this project. By the way, don’t use a regular thin kitchen trash bag! I put a towel on the floor because ceramic tile is too hard for this project.

Note that you can use an ordinary 1 gallon bag to stomp your Japanese pasta to develop the gluten which makes the noodles chewy and not whimpy, and also note that you can roll and even cut the dough in a pasta machine.

Homemade Udon

Teuchi Udon
serves 4 or more

adapted from page 327

  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup warm water or a bit more
  • 4 cups flour (I have used bread flour or all purpose flour, but I’ve heard of references to udon flour though I’ve never found it.)

~In a measuring cup with a divot for pouring, dissolve the salt in the water. The water should be as salty as the ocean. Because I live in The Great Lakes State I’m not very familiar with sea water so I rely on the recipe.

~Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour about 1/2 cup of the salted water into the hole. Stir in one direction to spill the dry flour into the well. The dough should begin to look like a lot of clumpy bits. Drizzle in more water until you can press the clumps into a ball. And yes, the dough does stick to your hand, which is why I did not take pictures!
Cover the ball of dough with a dampened towel and let it rest for 30 minutes to one hour.

~Knead the dough by flattening the ball, folding it in half, flatten again by pushing and stretching the dough away from you, turn 90° and press to flatten, fold, turn, press, fold, turn…. for 5 to 10 minutes. The dough gets quite stiff and when it’s too difficult to continue kneading: stop. Don’t worry about it: it just needs some time to rest. At this point, I wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate overnight. Ms. Shimbo says that the dough needs to rest for only 3 hours at room temperature.

kneading noodle dough with feet

~I usually make this recipe over 2 days so that the dough has plenty of time to relax.

udon dough~Day two is the fun part. Remove the dough from the fridge, press it flat, and fold in thirds—a letterfold. Dust the dough liberally with flour and put it into your big bag. Place the bag on a towel on the floor and carefully step on it. Plastic on a towel can be slippery so be cautious.

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making udon~As your body weight is applied, the dough stretches and flattens then compacts when you are not standing on it to almost its previous size/shape. Use your whole feet, not just your heels, and gradually turn in a circular fashion using small marching steps.

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udon dough in a bag~Stop occasionally to turn the bag upside down. If you don’t, the dough stretching and returning to its more compact persona will make the bag wrinkled and the dough could stick.

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letterfold udon dough~When the dough seems to be as flat as it can get, take it out, fold it again, dust with flour and repeat the stomping.

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measure udon dough~After you march on the dough, fold, flour, and stomp a few times, the dough will be very stretchy and smooth. It should be about 12″ by 18″ and 1/4″ thick. (if you use a smaller bag, just fold, flour and stomp 3 to 5 times. You don’t want the bag to break!!!

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cut udon noodles~I cut the dough in half (small counter space) and rolled it to 1/8″ thick, dusting with flour as needed. Fold the dough in thirds and cut about 1/4″ wide.

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~Cook the noodles in a very large pot of boiling (not salted) water. Shake off excess flour before lowering them into the pot. Stir as needed to separate the strands. Boil for about 7 minutes. Begin checking for doneness every minute: Pull a noodle out of the boiling water and plunge it into cold water; they should look translucent and have just the tiniest core in the middle.

~Drain the noodles and rinse under cold running water to remove surface starch that would make the noodles sticky. The noodles will hold at room temperature for a couple of hours. If you are serving them hot, rinse them in boiling water to warm them.

udon dinner

I served my noodles with kakejiro and garnished them with tiny dried shrimp for color. The meal also included leftover pork with ponzu sauce (cold), and a mixture of broccoli and brussel sprouts with “Creamy Sesame-Vinegar Dressing.” (recipe to follow)

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Sweet Potato Cake, take 2 Creamy Sesame-Vinegar Dressing
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6 thoughts on “Udon: Stompin’ on the Noodles

  1. Pingback: Creamy Sesame-Vinegar Dressing « Tess’s Japanese Kitchen

  2. Hello! I found your blog via Obachan’s and am delighted to find another interesting site to visit.
    Thank you for the receipe and secret technique notes on making udon noodles. I also like your Sesame Vinegar Dressing.

  3. Thanks for the udon recipe. I often buy udon noodles at the Japanese market and they look very white and I like them. I’ve tried several times to make udon myself but the noodles always turn out yellow. Is there any way I can make my home made udon noodles white? Thanks for your help.

  4. When I used unbleached bread flour, the noodles were not so white as when I used bleached all-purpose flour. The noodles made with bread flour had a better texture, though. The picture of my cut noodles look a bit yellow, but I think I hadn’t properly set the white balance on my camera so I don’t know. In real life they certainly did not look like egg noodles!

    I have Japanese cake flour, and it is very white and fluffy, but I don’t think it has enough gluten to make noodles with. I haven’t found “udon-ko” but perhaps it is also whiter than U.S. flours?

  5. Pingback: Summer Udon « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

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