The udon master uses a more complicated method but it is very difficult for a beginner like me. I altered some steps to suit home cooks without special equipment. It still takes hours to make but fresh udon gives you a very different texture than store-bought versions and is worth the effort.
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 250cc lukewarm water
- 25g salt
- corn starch
- 1 large bowl
- 1 heavy duty garbage bag
- 1 rolling pin
Dissolve salt in water.
Sift flour in a large bowl and add 2/3 (about 200cc) of water. Mix quickly with your hands. Grab flour from bottom and rub it with your hands to distribute water evenly. The dough should resemble course meal. If it is too dry, add the rest of the water and continue the process. I used only 200cc because I live in a very humid place. The amount of water depends on the season and the location.
Gather dough and make a mountain in a bowl. Then press it down to flatten the dough. Make sure to press well so that there are no cracks in it.
Cover with a garbage bag and leave it on a counter for one hour.
Put the dough on the floor still covered with the bag and start stepping on it to flatten it evenly. Using your heels makes it easier. Once it's flat, remove the dough from the bag and fold it in thirds and put it back into the bag. Repeat this step 7 times or until the dough is very smooth and shiny. You don't have to fold in thirds at the very end (leave it flat) and leave the dough in the bag. Rest the dough at least 1 - 3 hours (1 hour in Summer, 3 hours in Winter).
Remove from the bag and put some corn starch at the bottom and top of the dough and start rolling into a 3 mm thick square.
More corn starch on the top and fold the dough like a fan. Do not overlap the folding. Also make sure not to press the dough. Fold them gently.
Use a large, sharp knife (if you have clever, that is better), start cutting the dough into 2-3 mm thick strips. Loosen the cut udon and remove the excess corn starch. You can keep the finished udon in an air tight container for 5 days or you can divide it into one serving portions (150 g) and put it in freezer bags and freeze until you use. When you use the frozen udon, just boil it directly in boiling water without defrosting.
To cook, boil water in a large pot and add the udon. Stir gently and boil about 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and serve udon cold with dipping sauce or put it in a hot broth. My favorite way to eat homemade udon is called "Kamatama Udon". Take the unrinsed hot udon out of the pot and put directly in a serving bowl and top with soft boiled egg, chopped scallion, sesame seeds, wasabi and dipping sauce. Right before you eat, mix it all well to coat the egg yolk around the udon. Japanese carbonara, it is.
Zaru udon (cold udon) with dipping sauce (top);
Kamatama udon (hot udon out of boiling water serve with soft boiled egg)