Okay, it’s finally going to happen, because I’ve promised it so many times, but you have to know this is a little intimidating to a “cook by feel and looking at it” kind of cook. -lol- You know what I mean. I use recipes, but for the ones I use most often, the ones I have made tens or even hundreds of times, I “just know” how it should look coming together or how the dough should feel to have the right texture and moisture content. At that point, it is less about measuring and more about “when it’s right”. Homemade noodles are one of those things for me. People ask for the recipe and I have never actually written down a precise formula, so I can’t give them specific details. I’m happy to tell you that I made myself measure what I did as I went, last weekend, just for you! So, now I can show you the steps to what is actually a very simple process. Once you make noodles from scratch, it’s going to be hard to accept something from the pasta aisle, again, and the timing couldn’t be better, since you’ll be able to use them to make a FABULOUS turkey and noodle soup after the holidays.
I have to warn you that this is the recipe for the noodles only. I forgot to get any pictures of the finished dish, which is one of David’s all-time favorite meals – homemade chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. So, I will snap a few shots the next time I make this dish and post the recipe of how I use these noodles in a favorite meal that has been passed down for generations in our family. In the meantime, you can use these noodles in any of your favorite dishes, boiling them and using them just as you would store-bought noodles. You can also make them, dry them and flash freeze them in a single layer on cookie sheets. Then transfer them to ziptop bags and keep them handy in the freezer for whenever you want one serving or a dozen.
- 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Beat the eggs, milk and salt together. You can do this by hand or if you have a mixer with a dough hook, this recipe just got even easier for you.
- Add the flour and mix until thoroughly combined and a ball of dough is formed. It's a soft dough, but not sticky at all. It will clean the sides of your mixing bowl and come together as one mass.
- Dust your counter with flour and place the raggedy ball of dough in the center.
- Knead for 3 to 4 minutes by hand and form a smooth, round ball.
- Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes, after kneading, to allow the gluten to relax and make it easier to roll out.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about ⅛' thickness or even a little thinner. This will make a GIANT sheet of dough, but you don't want it to be to thick. The noodles will swell as they are cooked and end up thicker than they are on your counter. You'll end up with dumplings instead of noodles if you leave them too thick.
- At this point, I generally let the noodles dry on my counter for at least one hour, more if I am storing them. If I'm going to be using them right away, an hour is enough. They don't need to be 100% dry. If I were going to freeze them to use another time, I would completely dry them, before cutting them and then flash-freeze them in a single layers on cookie sheets. Then, once frozen, I transfer to zip top bags so I can pull out just a few or a really large batch, when I next need them.
- For this particular cooking session, I was making a big pot of chicken and noodles for a get-together with friends, so after a couple hours, we pulled out my pizza cutter to slice up the noodles. You can be very precise and even if you like, but part of the beauty of homemade noodles is the rustic non-uniformity in size and shape. I try not to make them too wide, but that is a matter of personal preference. I just like them to be about ½" or less. This was my 10-year-olds first time helping me with noodle making and she loved buzzing across the dough with the pizza wheel.
- As the pizza wheel whizzes across the dough, your lines won't always be perfectly straight or the same distance apart. I generally cut all one direction first, so I have a counter top full of long strips and then I cut them cross-wise to get the short noodle lengths for the dish I am making. If you have a crank pasta cutter, you could definitely feed sheets of this dough through it to get very precise noodles and that would work well when you want a specific shape, like spaghetti or fettuccine. For my homemade chicken and noodles, quick rustic cuts are perfect!
- Once the noodles are cut, I scoop them all into a pile, bringing the flour from the counter along with them. I toss the noodles with the flour, making sure they are completely coated. This helps with the drying process, too.
- Add your noodles to boiling water or stock, for whatever recipe you are using. Use them just as you would any noodles you have bought from the store. Cook them until they are tender and serve them with your favorite sauces or in casseroles and soups.
- For this particular meal, I made sure my noodles were heavily coated with the flour from the counter and even added any excess flour to my chicken stock, because my husband's favorite way to eat my chicken and noodles is over mashed potatoes. So, rather than being soup, with a thin broth, this batch of chicken and noodles was thickened more like a sauce or gravy. I actually add butter and whole milk to my homemade chicken stock, bring it to a boil. I add the noodles, bring it back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. The noodles cook up tender and lovely and the broth becomes deliciously chicken-y and thickened. When the noodles are done, a scoop of mashed potatoes in the bottom of a bowl smothered with the delicious chicken and noodles is David's idea of perfection. It is classic comfort food at it's best. Pure heaven! (I promise to get you the recipe and pictures for that yummy supper, very soon!)