Last Updated on 11 months by Tim
Name me one person who doesn’t love noodles. It’s impossible. There’s hardly any week where I don’t eat any kind of noodle dish. Part of their success is that noodles are super versatile. They can be sauced the Italian way, stir-fried the Chinese way, or eaten inside a broth the Japanese way. The most common way to eat noodles nowadays in Germany is in the form of Italian pasta. In the old days, however, noodles tended to be consumed mostly as part of a soup. And that’s why I’m going to share with you today how to make your own soup noodles.
The Building Blocks of German Cusine Series
This article is part of my basics series, which will introduce you to key ingredients and preparation methods. You can find all these articles in the ‘Basics’ category of this blog. Listed below are the articles that have yet been published in this series:
- Swabian Soup Noodles (‘Schwäbische Suppennudeln’)
- French Fries (‘Pommes frites’)
- Swabian Pretzels (‘Schwäbische Laugenbrezeln’)
- Kratzete, Eierhaber
- Duchess Potatoes (‘Herzoginnenkartoffeln’)
- Ribbon Noodles (‘Bandnudeln’)
- Muesli (‘Müsli’)
- German Bread Rolls (‘Weizenbrötchen’)
- Potato Puree (‘Kartoffelbrei’)
- German Potato Dumplings Bavaria-style (‘Bayerische Kartoffelknödel’)
- German Potato Dumplings Thuringia-style (‘Thüringer Kartoffelklöse’)
- German Bread Dumplings (‘Semmelknödel’)
- German Potato Pancakes (‘Reibekuchen’)
- Potato Noodles (‘Schupfnudeln’)
- German Boiled Potatoes (‘Kartoffeln’)
- Homemade Beef broth (‘Fleischbrühe’)
- German Pancakes (‘Pfannkuchen’)
- Homemade Semolina Soup Noodles (‘Hartweizen-Suppennudeln’)
- Chicken Broth (‘Hühnerbrühe’)
- Spaetzle (‘Spätzle’)
What makes soup noodles special?
Most fresh noodles nowadays are prepared using wheat flour mixed with eggs and a little pinch of salt. And as great as these noodles taste, they have one big disadvantage: They tend to be on the softer side. So if you put them inside a broth, they will quickly get soggy. And if there’s one thing the Italians have taught the world about pasta, it is that it should always be served ‘al dente’.
The way to get firmer noodles is to use semolina flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. Semolina flour is coarser in texture, which helps the noodles to retain a good bite. In my soup noodle recipe, I, therefore, substitute half of the all-purpose flour with semolina flour. The basic ratio for my noodle dough is 1 part of semolina flour to 1 part of all-purpose flour to 1 part of water. There’s no egg in my soup noodles, which happens to be pretty common in Germany. That way the noodles will lack that deep yellow color, but the dough, on the other hand, will be incredibly easy to handle. So if you’re new to making pasta, this is a beginner friendly recipe.
How to make great pasta
The process for making noodles is quite simple and will quickly become second nature to you. You start by mixing the dry ingredients, add in your liquid, in this case, water, and then knead the dough until smooth. Wrap the dough up in foil and let it rest in the fridge for one hour. This step is crucial so that the gluten inside the dough has time to relax. Dough that hasn’t been rested will be tense and impossible to roll out thinly.
The ‘hardest’ part of making noodles is rolling out the dough. I highly recommend you to use a pasta machine for this task. They’re cheap and can be used to produce any kind of noodle or dumpling. So if you’d like to get into making your own pasta this is an absolute must-have tool. You will never be able to achieve the same results in such a simple manner when rolling the dough out by hand.
As much as I’d love to produce video content for this blog, I don’t have the resources to do so yet. In the future, I hope I’ll be able to demonstrate some video recipes to you. But until then, I’ll have to use external sources to illustrate my writing visually. So in the two videos below you can learn how to roll out your pasta dough either by machine or by hand. Notice that the dough in both of these videos is made with eggs. Eggless dough is easier to roll out and less dense. So you might not need to pass it through your pasta machine as often as the first video shows to achieve your desired thickness.
Cooking your noodles
Once you’ve got your noodles cut, it’s time to cook them in boiling salted water. As always when cooking pasta, be liberal with the salt. The water should taste like the sea. You don’t want to make yourself all the effort of making your own homemade pasta and then end up with bland noodles because you didn’t season your cooking water sufficiently. Fresh pasta cooks quickly, usually no more than 2-3 minutes are required until the noodles are ‘al dente’. Once cooked, drain them and rinse them with cold water so they don’t stick as much.
Before using the noodles in your soups, quickly blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds until warmed through. You can afterward ladle the hot broth on top of the noodles. If you’re preparing a large batch and have some leftovers it’s best to store the noodles separately from the broth. Even ‘al dente’ semolina soup noodles will lose their bite when soaked in broth for too long.