Christine Burns Rudalevige prepares Asian noodles with flour she was trying to use up from her cupboard. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Christine Burns Rudalevige prepares Asian noodles with flour she was trying to use up from her cupboard. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

I was searching for the semolina flour I could have sworn I had in my cupboard. I use it when making pizza because the coarse grind of durum wheat helps the dough slide off the peel and onto the hot stone.

I didn’t find the semolina. But I did find 21 other flours stored in variously sized glass jars in the dark, cool cupboard. Yes, 21. And yes, I realize that is abnormally high. My staples are almond, all-purpose, cornmeal, white whole wheat, white rice, semolina (typically, that is) and unbleached cake flours.

Recipe development work has brought 00 (an Italian flour used to make pasta), acorn, buckwheat, bleached cake, coconut, bread, chickpea, einkorn all-purpose, gluten-free all-purpose, spelt, rye, whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flours into my kitchen, as well. I honestly can’t remember how I acquired either the barley or sorghum flours.

Even for someone who believes a well-stocked pantry is crucial to virtuous waste-not, want-not cooking, having this many flours borders on a (mostly) glutenous vice. I had to figure a way to use them or lose them to rancidity or flour moths.

I turned to noodles. Oodles of them.

DIY noodles differ from homemade pasta in that they require neither eggs nor a specialty pasta rolling machine. All you need is flour, hot water and a rolling pin.

To make interesting noodles using any of the flours in the cupboard, combine 1 cup of flavorful flour (acorn, buckwheat, barley, chickpea, coconut, rye or sorghum) and 1 cup predictable workhorse flour (all-purpose, spelt, einkorn all-purpose, or 00). The flavorful flours are tasty but don’t contain enough gluten to hold the noodles together, which is why you need another flour in the mix.

Combine the flours in a bowl. Stir in ¾ cup hot water and knead the dough in the bowl with your hands to get a rough, slightly crumbly dough. If there is still flour in the bottom of the bowl, add water one tablespoon at a time until all the flour is incorporated. If the dough feels sticky, add more workhorse flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is workable.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead by hand for 3 to 4 minutes until it becomes smooth. If the dough cracks at all, add more water to it by kneading it with wet hands. Once the dough is smooth, shape it into a flat rectangle. Sprinkle the work surface and the top of the dough with a dry flour like semolina or rice flour to prevent it sticking to the counter or the rolling pin. Roll the dough from the center of the rectangle outward, shaping the edges as you go until you get to a rectangle that is 1/16 of an inch thick.

Christine Burns Rudalevige prepares Asian noodles, far left, with flour she was trying to use up from her cupboard. The beauty of DIY noodles, she says, is that to make them, you need only flour, hot water and a rolling pin. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Rudalevige prepares Asian noodles, far left, with flour she was trying to use up from her cupboard. The beauty of DIY noodles, she says, is that to make them, you need only flour, hot water and a rolling pin. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Spread a generous handful of semolina or rice flour over the dough. Then fold the top third of the dough down over the middle of the rectangle and sprinkle the top with more semolina or rice flour. Fold the bottom third of the dough upwards, like you would fold a letter, and coat the top one last time with semolina or rice flour.

Work your way across the folded dough, cutting into ¼-inch strips with a sharp knife. Toss the cut noodles with a little more semolina or rice flour so they don’t stick together. At this point, you can freeze the noodles for up to three months.

If you want to use them immediately, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and drop in the noodles. If you want chewier, ramen-like noodles, add a tablespoon of baking soda to the boiling water before dropping in the noodles. Cook the noodles for one minute, drain them, and rinse them under cold water immediately to remove the starch and separate any that may have clumped while cooking.

At this point, pat yourself on the back because you’ve turned your excess flour into interesting noodles to be used in hot, cold and room-temperature dishes at will.

Christine Burns Rudalevige is a food writer, a recipe developer and tester, and a cooking teacher in Brunswick. Contact her at: [email protected]


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