After several successful recipes based only on buckwheat flour, it was time to try making buckwheat soba noodles. I never tasted ready commercial soba noodles, because I haven’t been lucky to find gluten free, only buckwheat soba in shops. I decided to use my dumplings dough recipe as a prototype, with eggs and water as wet ingredients. My only concern was about the absence of any gums and the reliance on binding capacity of buckwheat flour alone in soba recipe I was going to try. Traditional Japanese soba recipes often have some wheat flour to help the dough stay together and to be flexible. But I wanted to try the recipe with only buckwheat flour first, before adding xanthan gum or any other binding agents, to replace gluten from wheat. To my delight the recipe worked, and I have made soba noodles based on this recipe several times now.
To make preparation process more reliable and straight forward, I made some allowances to traditional shape of soba. It was possible to fold rolled dough and cut longer noodles, but I decided to roll each piece of dough flat, and only then cut each piece individually in the shape of pappardelle pasta. I used both freshly made or dried soba, and both were easy to cook. Soba noodles are obviously not as resilient as commercial gluten free pasta is, but they are strong enough to withstand mixing with any other ingredients, fresh or cooked, which are added to the dish later.
I liked both the taste and texture of soba noodles very much. They were very nice just with mild spicy homemade paste and some butter. We also enjoyed them with mushrooms, bacon, sweet red peppers and dill,
as well as with steamed broccoli, sweet red peppers and baby bocconcini.
I used 2 brands of buckwheat flour, both happened to be organic – Chef’s choice and Coles brand. With both flours the result was the same.
- 150g + 50g buckwheat flour
- 1 egg
- 50ml water
- 2g (coffee spoon) sea salt
Recipes for gluten free soba with different choice of ingredients you can find here.
I always make my pasta dough on a working surface, gradually mixing in wet ingredients into the flour. Please use any technique you are familiar with and like. I am also not sure that preparing soba by first making a soft dough, and later kneading the dough with extra flour to make it more dense, is the best way to go, but that’s how I like doing it.
- sift 150g buckwheat flour on a working surface, add salt
- make a well in the middle and add an egg
- working with a blunt knife or pastry scraper incorporate an egg into flour
- add water
- mix water with remaining flour
- gather all wet pieces of the dough, cutting them into smaller ones in the process
- press all pieces together, knead the dough and shape it into a ball
- spread the remaining 50g of buckwheat flour on the working surface
- dust your palms with flour
- work the dough, gradually incorporating the flour
- shape the dough into a “long brick”
- use extra flour if necessary to roll the dough (I used both buckwheat flour or its 1:1 mix with tapioca flour)
- roll the dough carefully, watching that it does not stick to a working surface
- cut the dough into 4 squares
- roll each square individually until the desired thickness is reached
- cut the dough into desired noodle shape, either one square at a time, or 2 put together
- cutting can be done with folded dough, but I do not recommend it
Soba noodles can be used fresh,
or they can be left to dry, stored in air-tight container and used later.
To make the dough more flexible, flaxseed flour can be added to buckwheat flour. I haven’t tried this yet, but will try in future.
It took several minutes to cook soba in salted boiling water, but they were not ready in 2 minutes, as is often mentioned as cooking time for fresh soba. Cooking time was the same for fresh and dry soba, around 5 min. I simply tasted noodles before draining them. I also did not rinse them in cold water, but returned to a pan with all the ingredients I wanted them to be mixed with.
Dishes with soba noodles are very light and filling at the same time. You can add anything, even with soft-boiled egg it is simply amazing. I am looking forward to try it in soups. I have to apologise for not offering Japanese style dishes with soba, but my experience in Japanese cuisine is very poor.