How to make udon noodles
- 2 tbsp. fine sea salt
- 1.1 lbs. Japanese kyorikiko flour* (3 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp.), Italian 00 flour* (scant 3 1/2 cups), or all-purpose flour (scant 4 cups)
- Cornstarch or potato starch for rolling and cutting
- Very large, heavy mixing bowl
- 2 (1-gal.) resealable bags
- 2 large kitchen towels
- 3-ft.-long, 1-in.-wide wooden rolling pin (you can use a dowel from the hardware store)
- 3- by 4-ft. rolling surface
- Clean kitchen or bamboo mat
1. Whisk salt in 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. warm water until salt dissolves; let cool to room temperature. Sift flour into a mound in bowl and set bowl on a damp towel to keep it steady.
2. Pour 3/4 cup salted water in a circular motion over flour. Mix immediately (see next slide).
* Find kyorikiko at most Japanese markets, and 00 at well-stocked grocery stores and Italian markets. Kyorikiko produces the springiest and whitest udon. 00 flour is the most similar. All-purpose works, too, but the noodles will be off-white.
Using a long, sharp knife and positioning it exactly perpendicular to the dough (otherwise noodles will have a bend at the fold), slice udon a scant 1/4 in. wide. Lift noodles to unfold, shaking off excess starch, and coil into 3/4-lb. bundles (each serves 4). To keep noodles up to 3 days chilled or up to 3 months frozen, dust them with potato starch before coiling and place bundles in a cloth-lined airtight container (no more than 2 layers, separated by a clean dry kitchen towel).