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What's the net result of adding more vital wheat gluten? Is it a type of chewiness that isn't desirable?

BTW you should do an AMA! You're such a great wealth of knowledge

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Original Poster1 point · 20 hours ago

It's contingent on the total amount of gluten you want in the noodle. Some flours don't have enough gluten in them normally, so it helps give you that chewy texture.

Hey, so chicken bones are essentially a no go for me to buy because they are almost impossible for me to find or ridiculously expensive. I however can buy a whole chicken for just $4 and I saw a recipe of someone actually using a whole chicken in the broth. Is it okay to do that? Should I just debone it and add that to the broth? Thanks!

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Original Poster1 point · 13 days ago

Sure, go for it. You could also remove the meat and use the carcasses. Take off the wings and legs and breasts, use those for other cooking, and freeze the carcasses.

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Couple questions:

  1. Are you adding the tare to the bowl? Or directly to the broth?
  2. What temp is the broth being kept at? Is it rolling boil? Simmer? Sub simmer?
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/R/Ramen just hit 100k Subs!

Wow guys, I am honestly so shocked and in awe. I remember when I joined the sub 5 years ago, we barely had 15k subs, and maybe just one post a day. Look at how this community has grown! Look at how ramen continues to gain popularity!

I want to thank all of you for spreading the love of soup and noodles with a wider audience. You're the reason this sub has 100k subscribers. From humble instant noodles to sprawling ramen crawls through Japan, I hope we can continue to cultivate all sorts of expressions of this dish.

Cheers to future ramen experiences, posts, and conversations with you all.

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Erm... if it was legit simmering, and the cover wasn’t heavy, it’s inevitable that the water is going to evaporate. But it’s just water really. Maybe some volatile flavor compounds, but nothing crazy.

Add water back to the normal level, it’s fine. Your bigger concern is burning. Without water around, the contents of the pot can scorch on the bottom. That’ll definitely ruin a broth. But it sounds like you didn’t have that issue?

For those who are cooking broth overnight. Put your heat to THE LOWEST IT WILL GO. All of the water evaporating is how you start a fire. You don’t want that.

For health concerns, as long as the broth is kept above 140F, you can hold it without worrying about pathogen growth. Most of the time, even on super low heat, your broth is going to be 170-190 F. Ain’t nothin living in that temp.

So why is it bland? Because you have no seasoning! It’s just meat vegetable water right now! Take a small portion and add some soy sauce, salt, tare, or other seasoning. You have to recognize that the broth is just one component of ramen. The seasoning (tare) and aroma oil are others. They all work together. You can’t exclude seasoning and expect a flavorful broth!

Original Poster2 points · 9 days ago

Sorry side dish isn't what to call it, topping? I'm learning still lol

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If you’re talking cup noodles, there’s sometimes some freeze dried corn.

In fresh ramen, like at a restaurant. they just use canned corn usually. Nothin crazy.

Original Poster1 point · 9 days ago

Oh ok that's what seemed odd to me that I kept seeing canned, I was looking for more preparation towards it lol

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Yeah lol. Honestly, corn in ramen started as this tourist food being sold in Sapporo. Hokkaido is known for corn in the summer, among other agricultural delights, so some shops, to draw tourists in, started putting it on their ramen. But they were just using cheap canned corn.

You can go crazy with your toppings. Canned corn still works tho.

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Big mixing bowl, a 4 quart plastic Cambro, another pot, whatever you got. Strain first, then divvy up into storage if you can’t do it directly.

This might actually be helpful in some applications. Chintan broths are more dense at the bottom of the pot than the top, so straining into another vessel first helps distribute the density, allowing for smaller containers to be of similar gelatin and flavor content.

Original Poster10 points · 16 days ago

It was better than expected! Three improvements for next time:

  1. I went a bit overboard on wrapping it with twine lol. It took a bit of time to cut all the twine off so I’d probably be more thoughtful with the twine.

  2. It was a bit tough to wrap the belly since it was so thick. I’d get a thinner piece or cut down a little bit to roll it better

  3. I would sear it more consistently and maybe sear in a brown sugar soy sauce to get some nicer color on the edges

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Nicely done. Chashu looking solid. Random thoughts:

  • You can also pound out the belly a little bit if you want to roll it... but really the roll is to increase cooking time and helps the meat cook more gradually. Your call.
  • Roll it TIGHT next time, and you won't need to worry about using so much twine.
  • I like to remove the skin. Skin ain't for me on chashu, it's got a different texture from the meat that some find off-putting. It can impact how far the cooking liquid penetrates the meat.
  • You can torch the chashu after cooking it, or hey, torch it on its cut surface before serving it to warm it up and give it that extra flavor. I agree with /u/theoddcook here for sure.

Looks better than mine! I like the droplets of chili oil surrounding the center; I usually just put it on the bottom of the bowl but the contrast is less noticeable.

If you use gochujang, you’ll get that intense red color for the broth.

/u/ramen_lord can you dissect this style?

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Y'all probably already know this stuff.

Ichiran is a huge chain in Japan. It's kind of like In-n-Out or Shake Shack, it started in Kyushu but has since spread across the country. It's fine, definitely tasty, but not like high-end stuff you're seeing pop up around Tokyo and the rest of the country. And it has a pretty big following, particularly among foreigners and tourists, who often experience ramen for the first time at an Ichiran.

Ichiran sticks to approachable Hakata style ramen. They use a tonkotsu base (an opaque broth made from boiling bones long and hard enough to emulsify fat into the broth). They have standard thin hakata-style noodles, low in alkalinity and hydration, they are firm, not necessarily chewy. Like many Hakata shops, they allow you to heavily customize the bowl, adjusting noodle cooking time, seasoning amount, and fat content. They also add this special sauce (called the secret sauce, "hiden no tare") to the dish, which is spicy, which I think is another reason why foreigners like it.

Frankly, I think if you're gonna go all the way to Japan, there are ramen shops that demolish this place. It'd be like flying to Detroit to eat Jet's Pizza. It's perfectly fine stuff, but some of the more local options are far more provocative.

Very late bump, but I don't own a blender at all. Any advice in particular?

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Won’t really get the same sheering effect. But you can get close if you boil less volume of broth. The problem is that home stoves don’t put out a ton of heat, so the contents of the pot can only jostle and move so much. But in smaller volumes, you can really boil the hell out of the broth.

So take the broth, cool it, chill it in the fridge. It’s going to split, like, a lot. Mostly a large amount of fat on top, followed by some murky, tan to brown gel below.

Scoop a portions worth of the fat and gel into a saucepan and heat to a rapid boil. This should emulsify it nicely, or at least temporarily enough for you to make a nice bowl of ramen with it.

Original Poster2 points · 22 days ago

Made a bowl of the good stuff. I used u/ramen_lord 's Tonkotsu base and added a tare if my own devising. This is my first shot at Tan Tan and it could definitely use some tweaking. The tare was equal parts soy, black vinegar and Chinese sesame paste. I fried a portabella mushroom in some sesame oil and added the traditional eggs. The black flecks were toasted and ground Szechuan pepper. While good I could use a little some input. Thanks in advance.

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I need to revise my tantanmen recipe in the sidebar... the tare is more specific now.

Per bowl:

  • 35g soy sauce (preferably usukuchi)
  • 3 g vinegar (around 1 tsp)
  • 25 g ground sesame seeds, like tahini or nerigoma
Original Poster2 points · 22 days ago

Perhaps Tanten wasn't what I was after then. I was trying to riff on Dan Dan Noodles. I forgot to mention that I used about a cup of chili oil in the tare as well. While I'm sure your tare is great, it's not quite the profile I am after. I want something with heat and a little funk. Perhaps fermented black beans or chili been paste added as well. I'll have to continue playing around and if I ever land on what I'm after I'll post it. Thanks for getting back to me m'lord.

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Interesting point about the funk. I'll admit that I don't use anything like black beans or tobanjan in mine, but I definitely hit hard with the spices and heat. The one I've posted includes both a spice blend and a chili oil that you add like an aroma oil. Have a read and see what you think.

One other addition that often gets left out is szechuan pickles of some kind. Those might help get you the flavor you're looking for.

Original Poster1 point · 23 days ago

To be honest, I didn't follow the exact ratio put forward by RamenLord - which IIRC is 3tbsp per bowl. I heated one large ladle of my broth and mixed it with about 2 - 3 tsp of tare. It was enough to get the salt factor to a good level, but the flavours coming through were way off the Ramen I know and love.

I guess it's on to experiment with aroma oils such as garlic oil, maybe MSG, or adding braising liquids from my charshu.

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Sorry to hear this didn’t go so well! Hope I can help you remedy things.

Definitely would recommend MSG for balance (tonkotsu is normally loaded with MSG). Aroma oil for sure.

You might also want to add some aromatics to the broth and let them steep for an hour or so. Will add some complexity.

I've never truly dried ramen noodles, although dehydration does have interesting effects on ramen dough. As they dry, they get denser and translucent, much like dried pasta.

This is not the same as making a dough with low water. It's that you had hydrated starches that have now dried out. It also means the noodles take wayyyyy longer to cook, because a dehydrated starch gel takes more time to reincorporate water.

But, again, I don't really dry my noodles. So I don't think this is something you need to do. Not sure if you're doing any of this, but some tips:

  1. You should definitely untangle the noodle bundle slightly before dropping the noodles into the water. It's not as simple as just taking the bundle and tossing it into water, that's gonna cause sticking. Fluff the noodles up a bit! This shouldn't be difficult if your gluten is developed appropriately and you've added some starch to the noodle's surface before bundling (ideally a non-gluten containing starch like corn starch or potato starch).
  2. You should also swish the noodles around as soon as you drop them into the water, just to make sure the exterior gels properly. This prevents the noodles from sticking to each other.

For real though... Why is this not the subreddit logo?

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Moderator of r/ramen, speaking officially87 points · 24 days ago

Done

Original Poster3 points · 1 month ago

According to the CEO of the Tsuta group North America, expansion plans for the Metreon are just the beginning of the group’s ambitions. An LA location of Tsuta in the Glendale Galleria is purportedly up next, then a Caesar’s Palace location late next year. More locations are in the works for Seattle and Portland in 2019, the CEO says, with a second SF location, in the Stonestown Galleria, also in the expansion plans for 2020

I'm so excited. I went there when I was in Tokyo last year and I've been wanting to go back.

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I don't know, this gives me huge pause. Any time a shop expands this rapidly I worry they're just bound to drop in quality, especially given the inherent challenge of making ramen at such a high level.

Now, I'm all for making ramen better in the US. So I genuinely hope this works out. But I've already heard complains about the Tsuta shops outside of Japan, I hope they can get a grip on things.

Very nice looking, although the idea of "Sapporo" style containing butter is a bit of a misnomer. Miso ramen in itself is a Sapporo food; the dish was invented there in the 1950s. Butter being added occurred later as a means to appeal to the recent food-tourism boom.

It's delicious on ramen tho, I ain't gonna lie.

Looks awesome. Care to share anything about it?

Hold on here... your husband is intolerant to onions but not garlic? What about shallot? All of these are part of the allium family so I would expect intolerances across the board.

Sorry, just trying to understand the scope here. In my opinion onions and alliums are supremely important to ramen, because they mask off flavors, provide complexity, and even provide some umami-boosting benefits with compounds like MMP.

Original Poster1 point · 1 month ago

It's an intolerance across the board essentially. Garlic doesn't have as big of an affect as typical white, yellow, or green onions.

He very well may have to stay away from traditional ramen, but he may sacrifice to try it once, or if there is an alternative that could be substituted that would be nice, hence my inquiry.

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Yeah, just wanted to make sure!

I think with ginger and garlic (which seems ok) you should be alright. Focus on other punchier flavors like the fish element, and you should be ok.

Original Poster2 points · 1 month ago

Thanks -- so I think over time my method has morphed into something like this: pressure cook for a few hours to maximize extraction, completely strain solids out of the broth, and then do a rolling boil for relatively short amounts of time (10-20 minutes). (Either that or I get lazy and just do the blender method.)

Is that like, a valid thing to do?

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No need to strain, just boil it for an hour or two after pressure cooking.

Check out my pressure cooker Tonkotsu recipe, except you only need to do it under pressure for 2 hours, then boil hard for an hour. I was kinda nuts I wrote that recipe... 4 hours is DAMN long.

You can also skip the boiling entirely, taking some of the strained broth and throwing it into a blender, then reincorporating.

Original Poster1 point · 1 month ago

So I guess that goes back to the question: when you do the hard boil at the end of the pressure cook, how often do you need to check the pot and stir? I'm guessing the answer is somewhere between "very frequently" and "very very frequently", but I haven't really built up enough of an intuition to assign numbers to that.

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Takes practice, definitely. I think every 15 min or so is probably pretty safe. Make sure you really stir from the bottom, to move the content around.

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If it's 75 mm thick, that's not terrible. You won't be able to roll it, but certain styles of ramen use pork belly cut like this, making little slices to decorate the bowl.

Quickly googling this though, it doesn't look like "speklap" is thicker than 20mm. If you can't get at least 50mm thick pork belly, sub in pork shoulder.

In both instances though, a roast shape is preferred, to help it gently cook and allow for easier slicing post cooking.

Original Poster1 point · 1 month ago

Thanks for the reply! I will try again with the bread flour. I bought King Arthur’s whole wheat and their bread flour (the blue label) but had trouble the first time I attempted. That’s when I switched to the whole wheat.

When it rests, should it stay out at room temp? I refrigerated it during the resting phase before.

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Let it stay out at room temp.

Love the photos. Was definitely wondering why they were so dark, whole wheat flour!

Ratios are contingent on the style of ramen noodle you're trying to make. Check out some of my recipes in the side bar for ideas (yes, shameless plug, I know).

Your problem ain't ratios though. You were at about 39% hydration before you added the additional flour. 39% is pretty high for a ramen noodle. It's because of your flour selection.

"Couldn't find where to get straight up gluten, so figured a higher wheat content might help

This is the culprit. Your assumption was actually the opposite of what you wanted!

When you use whole wheat, the bran and germ included in the flour actually prevent, not improve, gluten formation. Think of gluten like a trying to weave a sheet of fabric from freshly picked cotton, and bran and germ like small pebbles in your cotton plants. Bran and germ chunky objects compared to the finely-ground endosperm, not really water soluble, and prevent you from weaving the gluten together. By making it all whole wheat flour, you accidentally increased the amount of trouble you had with the dough!

Use white bread flour next time. I like King Arthur because the protein content is around 12.7%, which is pretty high on its own. Mix the dry and the wet in a standing mixer, then let this rest for an hour, covered, to give the flour time to hydrate. Ramen noodles are low hydration, even in the high end of things, so any time you can dedicate to giving the flour room to hydrate ie helpful.

Here is an interesting thought. If we look at a basic shoyu with a chicken stock base, what if you replace the soy sauce tare with a wine reduction? It would be more french at that point, but I couldn't think a more american common ingredient to make a tare out if.

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The problem is that wine is acidic, especially when reduced. But I think that’s the right track.

The biggest substitute challenge is getting ingredients with umami from a western palate. Dashi and Japanese cooking leverages umami-packed ingredients, like kombu (full of glutamate) and dried fish, which are full of compounds named inosinate and gualynate (I&G), which amplify the sensation of umami on the palate). What is our substitute? Other items high in glutamate:

Dried mushroom Tomato paste Cured meats like bacon and ham Fish sauce

None of these have a lot of glutamate compared to kombu, and none have I&G, so you have to use a LOT.

So... MSG? Which is extremely popular in Japanese ramen but hated in America.

These problems just compound and compound. And if you go too far, you invariably cross the line from ramen to noodle soup. Food is complex, for sure.

What's your opinion on Momofuku's bacon dashi?

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I think it's a really smart idea. Genius actually.

Katsuobushi is a smoked, preserved fish product. Bacon is a smoked, preserved pork product. The mechanism of preservation is different, but they share some flavors to some degree, and build glutamate flavors in your dish.

The problem is cost to benefit here. How much dashi can you make from bacon? David had bacon scraps he was using, but home cooks won't have that option, so they're basically making bacon water with perfectly good, edible bacon. Doesn't it seem a little wasteful?

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They have Misoya on there as NYC, but it also has two Chicagoland locations. One on Ohio St and one in Mt. Prospect

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1 point · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Yeah, weird for a multi-location chain to make the list right? Could have put any number of single-location places.

I guess that'd rule out Ippudo too if that were the case though.

Edit: just to clarify, what I mean is, how do you identify which shop is the best if they have multiple locations? Why did Misoya's NYC location make the list but not their Chicago one? Why did Slurping Turtle's Chicago location make the list, but not their Ann Arbor location? Why did Ippudo's NYC location make the list, but not either of their Bay Area ones? Also, which Ippudo location if it's only NYC? they have several. The same could be said for Totto.

Bay Area represent!

... but a few legendary local ramen spots appear to be missing from this list. Maybe these are the ones who paid?

Orenchi's Tsukemen are on point, for example.

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I'm just happy Noodle in a Haystack is on the list. They're awesome.

Original Poster2 points · 1 month ago

Probably gonna write a longer writeup/recipe in a bit, but some quick points as they're still fresh on my mind:

  • I guess "minimum viable" might be a bit of a misnomer by now, but still...
  • As usual, /u/Ramen_Lord is everyone's inspiration. The main trick that I stole from this post: make a tori paitan broth as usual, but blend the chicken bones and meat into a paste and then blend them back into the broth.
  • The post also warned that it'd be super thick, so I diluted it down by double souping with dashi. Worked out pretty nicely.
  • Didn't do a rolling boil at all! Stole the trick from /u/Elfer to use blending for emulsification.
  • As part of my attempt to make an all-chicken ramen, the protein is a chicken breast "chashu", which ended up being kind of a failure. I cooked it sous vide at 60C/2h. I think I should have pre-marinated longer.
  • Bowl assembly: roughly 6 fl oz of chicken broth + 4 fl oz of dashi + 2 tbsp of a pretty random basic shoyu tare.
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This looks awesome. Love the double soup approach; get that umami layered through the dish.

Not to pat myself on the back too much, but the blender trick for "instant tonkotsu" is also something I've written about.
It only works with appropriate gelatin and fat content. But generally it's easier than full on boil.

The negative is... if you blend too much, it can kinda look... odd. Like milk. Like cream. People say tonkotsu should be like cream, but when it gets too close to cream, it's uncanny valley.

Original Poster3 points · 1 month ago

Senpai noticed me ✪﹏✪ Thanks!

The creaminess is actually an interesting point. Is the principle behind it really just related to blending vs. rolling boil? Does this get "solved" if you have a sufficient amount of tare?

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Not really... it’s just as much about opacity as it is color I think. Tonkotsu is a false emulsion and splits over time because it’s hard to really sheer the fat into small enough droplets that they’ll stay suspended (unless you add in some sort of mechanical force). So a normal Tonkotsu is more of an off white, tan color at best, with perhaps some form of translucency even.

Looking at photos of Ramen from Hakata, this becomes really apparent. I think Americans borderline fetishize the creamy aspect because it’s so unique, but it can go really overboard really quickly, and then it’s like you’re just drinking milk.

Put it in Tupperware or deli containers. It'll keep in the fridge for 5 days, or frozen for months.

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