I got it into my head that it would be fun to try to make hand-pulled noodles at home. There is a scarcity of information about this on the web, just occasional dough recipes accompanied by sketchy descriptions on the method and dire warnings about the difficulty of mastering this skill.
I gave it a try yesterday and confirmed the warnings.
Does anyone have any experience with this that could give me some pointers for improvements?
I managed to pull the dough out to thinner than udon-width, but only to 10 inch lengths and a single (whopping!) foot-and-a-halfer. I did this by gently and persistently twisting the folded strands around one another. This is decidedly not the proper method, and I resorted to it after trying and giving up on the folding, light twisting, swinging, slapping method I've seen followed or described elsewhere. I had a lot of trouble getting a uniform thinness this way and most of the noodles came out looking like squashed earthworms.
Also, even with a heavy oil coating, the strands stuck together half-way through so I dipped them in flour, as I've seen done. Why do some people use flour and some oil? Also does the type of oil matter? I used peanut oil instead of sesame; I thought sesame oil would impart too strong a flavor and saw peanut oil recommended elsewhere.
The noodles, cooked in a broth, came out tough- possibly because I replaced the recommended pastry flour with bread flour hoping to increase the protein content for more gluten formation at this practice stage. I'm not too worried about consistency at this point, just want to get the technique down, but would be curious to know how the type of flour affects the process. Does bread flour in fact make a more pullable dough?
Any advice on how I can do better? I'd love most to have a reliable recipe for the dough and detailed instructions on how to do the pulling. Tips, tricks and trade secrets for getting past the squashed worm stage would also be most welcome.
Thanks in advance.