How to Make Soba Noodles from Scratch

Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from a combination of buckwheat and other type of flours (e.g. wheat flour). The buckwheat gives the noodles a slightly nutty taste. In Japan, it is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup.

Soba noodles only have about half the calories and carbohydrates as compared to typical white flour pasta.

Soba contains all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in wheat flour. It is also a good source of nutrients like manganese, lean protein, carbohydrates and thiamine. Since buckwheat does not contain gluten, buckwheat noodles are a good choice for people following a gluten-free diet.

Commonly Asked Question: Why is my soba dough so crumbly and doesn’t come together?

The crumbly texture is quite common when working with an all buckwheat dough since it is gluten-free. That is one of the reasons why many homemade soba noodle recipes uses a combination of  wheat flour to make the dough easier to work with. It needs a binder, and using wheat flour for example helps it stay together a bit better. In traditional wheat breads, the binder is gluten, which is formed as the dough is being worked – it is that formation which makes the mixture a dough, rather than a wet paste or grit.

A dough made from just buckwheat flour and water will crumble easily. The binder produced this way is very weak and the noodles becomes very fragile, dries out and prone to coming apart easily. Making authentic soba noodles is an art form requiring years of experience to perfect.

Cooking with Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat flour can be used to make pancakes, noodles and biscuit. In my earlier post, i mentioned about buckwheat being gluten free so it’s safe for those with gluten intolerance.

However some buckwheat flours sold in stores may have been mixed with other flour, so it’s important to read the labels carefully. Because there’s no gluten, it will not rise. Gluten is the substance that makes dough “doughy.” So for baking, it will have to be mixed with other grains that contains gluten (e.g. store bought buckwheat pancake mix containing wheat). So do look out for the “Gluten Free” label on the packaging for those with gluten intolerance or if you are on a gluten-free diet.

Buckwheat flour found in stores are mostly from unhulled buckwheat flour (darker color) which is not the same as raw buckwheat flour (lighter color). Raw buckwheat flour are made by grinding raw whole buckwheat groats without the hull. The darker flour will be higher in dietary fiber.