Alkaline Noodles

Monday, February 1, 2010

Alkaline Noodles
Yellow alkaline noodles are essentially made from flour (100 parts), water (32 – 35 parts), and a solution of alkaline salts known as kansui or lye water (1 part).

These salts are usually a mixture of sodium and potassium carbonates (typically 9:1) or sodium hydroxide in some cases.

The alkaline salts confer a unique flavor and texture to the noodles and are responsible to the noodles are responsible for imparting the typical yellow color by detaching the flavones from starch and allowing their natural color to manifest.

Flours from hard wheat, with protein content in the range of 10-12%, with mellow gluten quality, is recommended for fresh alkaline noodle.

The desired textural characteristics are a bright, even light yellow appearance; free of any darkening or discoloration; a firm clean bite; a chewy and elastic texture with some degree of springiness; and a satisfactory al dente reaction on biting.

The basic procedure for making alkaline noodles is similar to that of white salted noodles, and lab scale method is described here below:

The ingredients (300 g flour, 96 ml water, Na2CO3 - 2.7 g and K2CO3 -0.3 g) are mixed in a mixer for 1 min at slow speed, 1 min at fast speed m and then for 3 min at slow speed.

The crumbly dough is sheeted between steel rollers, 2.75 mm apart, in a Ohtake noodle machine.

The dough sheet is folded and passed between the rollers twice and then allowed to lie at rest for 30 min in a plastic bag.

The single sheet of dough is then passed between the rollers, with the clearance successively reduced to 2.5, 2.0 and 1.5 mm.

After standing for 3 h at 25 degree C, the noodles are placed in wire mesh and cooled in boiling water until the uncooked core has just disappeared (about 5 min); the cooked noodles are used for sensory testing.

The principal factors governing the eating quality of yellow alkaline noodle are protein content, dough strength and starch paste viscidity.

In the interior of alkaline noodles, the inherently low swelling starches of hard wheat are further restricted from swelling by the carbonate salts.

The resulting starch gels are hard and strongly elastic which together with the high protein and relatively small voids, produces chewy noodles.

Addition of alkaline salts to the formulation not only alters the pH and color, but also improves the water absorption properties of the final product.

It also improves the texture of the cooked product, making it chewier and with less tendency to soften and paste after cooking.

The flavor of the cooked product is typical of an alkaline odor and influences its acceptance to consumers.

The yellow color is associated with naturally occurring flavones in flour, which are colorless at acidic pH but turn yellow at the high pH of alkaline noodles.

The hue and the intensity of the yellow color is affected buy the alkaline salt used, the length of time after sheeting, the protein content and the degree of refinement of the flour.

A highly refined flour is a primarily quality requirernent for alkaline noodles to maximize noodle brightness and minimize visible bran specks.
Alkaline Noodles

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