Learn how to make udon noodles from scratch (with optional pink color using beet juice!). It’s easy & fun and you will be rewarded with delicious homemade noodles that are far more superior than store-bought ones!
Course: Main Course
Keyword: homemade noodle, udon
Author: Namiko Chen
7ozall-purpose flour (plain flour)(1 ½ cup + 3 Tbsp; I encourage you to use the kitchen scale; If you use a measuring cup, follow this method: fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. Otherwise, 1 cup of flour ends up with more than 120 g.)
3 ½tspkosher or sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)(different varieties of salt will vary in weight, so it's important to use a scale)
potato starch/cornstarch(for rolling and dusting; if you're going to freeze udon noodles, you need to use potato starch/cornstarch as wheat flour tends to be absorbed by udon noodles and stick to each other)
Gather all the ingredients. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure. Click the "Metrics" button above to get a precise measurement.
To Make the Udon Dough
Combine water and salt and mix until it’s completely dissolved. Important: The amount of salt may seem a lot, but some of it will be released into the boiling water while cooking. Also, you do not need to salt the boiling water when cooking udon noodles.
Place the flour in a large bowl. Gradually add the salted water evenly throughout the flour while mixing with hands. Important: Spread the salted water into all parts of flour.
Combine the dough until there is no dry flour left and form into a ball.
If there is some flour left, add only very little amount of water. Important: The dough should be really tough, unlike bread dough. Try your best to avoid adding water, unless you have a really hard time pressing them into a ball. Again, use only very little water as possible.
Place the dough ball in a large durable plastic bag (such as a 2-gallon Ziploc bag).
Close the bag leaving a small air gap and leave it for 30 minutes to relax the gluten.
To Knead the Dough
To keep your dough and the bag of dough clean at all times, place the bag between 2 kitchen cloths on the floor.
Step on the dough with your feet (heels) using your weight. Turn around and press from the inward to outward. You can do this step with your hands, but it will take more effort and time. Stepping udon dough with your feet is a common practice in Japan! Step on the dough until the dough is completely flattened.
Take out the dough and fold the edges toward the middle.
Collect the edges in the center and flip over so the seam is on the bottom.
Rotate the dough to form into a ball.
Place the dough ball in the bag and close the bag leaving a small air gap. Repeat the dough stepping again. You can see if you are stepping on the right location by lifting the towel sometimes.
Continue stepping on the dough until it is stretched and flattened.
Take out the dough and fold it into a ball again.
You will notice the dough is slightly pliable than the first time.
Repeat this process 3 more times (total 5 times of dough stepping), or until the dough is as soft as the ear lobe (that’s how we describe the texture of the finished dough in Japan).
After the 5th dough stepping, take out the dough and form it into a nice round ball. Put the dough back into the bag.
To Rest the Dough (2 Hours)
Rest the dough on the kitchen counter for 2 hours (3 hours in winter). You can also keep the dough in the bag and store it in the refrigerator overnight if you like to continue the rest of the process the following day.
To Stretch the Dough
Dust the working surface with potato starch and take out the dough.
Flatten the dough with your hand.
Using a rolling pin, stretch the dough into an oval shape first. Turn the dough 180 degrees and stretch it evenly.
Then roll out the corners to create a rectangular shape.
Dust the dough with potato starch in between to make sure the dough is not sticky.
Turn 90 degrees and roll out the dough more.
The dough should be 3 mm (⅛”) in thickness. Udon noodles should be about 10-12 inches in length.
Roll out each rounded corner to a more pointed tip so all the noodles will have the same length when you cut them.
Dust the potato starch on top of the dough and spread it thinly.
Fold the dough in half or thirds and sprinkle more potato starch on top
To Cut the Dough into Noodles
With a sharp knife, cut noodles into 3 mm (⅛”) thickness.
Pick up some noodles and fluff the noodles to make sure they are covered with the potato/corn starch to prevent sticking to each other.
To Cook Udon Noodles Immediately
Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil (DO NOT add salt to the water; the noodles will release some salt during cooking). Loosen up the noodles, leaving excess starch behind, and add the noodles to the pot.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your noodles).
Drain and rinse well under cold running water to remove the starch and give the noodles a firm texture.
For hot noodle soup, either you can heat up the noodles in hot water or quickly warm them up under hot running water.
Divide the uncooked noodles into small portions (150 g per person) and freeze in an airtight container/bag for up to a month. You can refrigerate for a few days but it tastes better when you freeze the fresh udon right away. To cook frozen udon, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the frozen udon for 12 minutes without defrosting. Drain and rinse well under cold running water to remove the starch. For hot noodle soup, either you can heat up the noodles in hot water or quickly them warm up under hot running water.