Making buckwheat soba from scratch

buckwheatThis expression (and I swear it was something close to it) is what spread over my face when I found a curious recipe for Homemade Soba Noodles. A sudden craving for soba led me to discover the above link, which, by the way, is dated more than a decade ago! The unusual thing about the recipe is that it calls for the kneading process to be carried out on the floor with bare feet.

Usually my success rate at trying unique recipes is pretty good. Unfortunately for this one, the noodles didn’t come out perfect and thin like I had hoped. I halved the amounts to get a smaller yield and it was obvious from the beginning that there wasn’t enough water for the flour to come together. So I kneaded in a little more liquid until I was able to push together a solid dough mass.

Following the steps for working the dough was easier to accomplish. This was fun – even the westie lended a paw. The dough seemed to develop after maybe the 4th cha-cha but in the end I kneaded it by hand for a few minutes before letting it rest.

kneading_soba1.1
kneading_soba2
Okay so I cheated and used toe socks instead of going barefoot.

The final step: Rolling the dough out thinly was a pain as it became more fragile the thinner it got. At this point I was ready to give up, knowing that if the noodles were so difficult to work with, then it was possible they would fall apart when it was time to cook. Cutting them with a pastry wheel was easier. Trying to handle them without breaking was not. I managed to get some decent strands out of the whole mess and put them in a pot of boiling water. They held together well enough and after 3 minutes, I drained and drizzled the noodles with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a sprinkle of furikake.

The taste test: The buckwheat flavor and texture came through nicely but…eating broken soba lost a lot of points. I think the problem could be with the buckwheat flour. The type that I find in Italy is macinata a pietra – stoneground. If soba requires a much finer-milled grain, then no wonder I ended up with stuff that looks like kindling.

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