Soba 101: a definitive guide on Soba Noodles and Soba Dishes
While the English noun “buckwheat” refers to the (buckwheat) GRAIN, its direct Japanese analogue usually means (buckwheat) NOODLES.
Although consumed in far less quantities than wheat, buckwheat has been an integral part of many countries’ cuisines for millennia, but only in Japan it found its application in the form of noodles – whether completely made from buckwheat flour or from a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour (usually used as a binding agent to improve the dough’s viscosity and elasticity properties).
Compared to udon, let alone ramen, for consumers outside Japan buckwheat noodles are largely unknown, if not completely unheard of, with exception of people closely familiar with various Asian cuisines or health-food enthusiasts.
So, what is Soba? Similarly to ramen and udon it is, of course, both a type of noodles and a noodle cuisine with its own traditions, variations, as well as opportunities for customization and development.
As its name suggests, Soba is completely or partially made from buckwheat flour, kneaded into dough, thinned, and then either extruded or cut into noodles.
Considering comparatively low binding properties of buckwheat, manual production of Soba is a difficult task requiring much dedication and time to learn and master.
And good Soba noodles start with good Soba dough – production of which is considered to be the most crucial and difficult part of manual Soba making.
This is exemplified in the Japanese proverb “Hocho mikka, Nobashi mitsuki, Kibachi sannen” (“Cutting is mastered in three days, Rolling – in 3 months, Kneading – in 3 years”).
Production of Soba noodles by hand is still occasionally practiced at some restaurants, but to keep with demand two basic machine-assisted Soba making techniques were developed: by using a method of extrusion, and by trying to replicate the process of manual Soba making, which allows to achieve noodle quality on par or even surpassing that of Soba made by hand.
With the growth in interest towards healthy eating in general, the popularity of Soba has greatly increased both owing to buckwheat’s high nutrient and mineral content, and the fact that it does not contain gluten – an ingredient not only verboten for those who suffer from Celiac disease, but which is also frowned upon by adherents of paleo diet.
Thus, despite their overall low profile and a relative lack of prominence, Soba noodles have a great potential for food businesses – especially considering that globally there is still very little competition, if any at all.
On April 8, 2021, join Yamato for a free online class aiming to give a definitive guide on all things Soba.
The content largely echoes with the curriculum of Yamato Soba School, but even without delving into particular and intricate details of Soba cooking techniques, certain basic things may not necessarily be obvious for people eager to have a clear understanding of the subject – either for general education or as a starting point in their journeys for success in Soba business.
So what questions you may have about Soba noodles? Could those questions be similar to the ones below?
– Is there anything that makes Soba noodles different from other types of noodles like pasta?
– Are Soba noodles really healthy?
– Should you make Soba noodles by hand, or factory-made Soba noodles is the only option?
– Is there only one variety of Soba noodles? And, if there are many, what makes them different?
– What are Soba machines, what types of Soba machines exist, and how they are different from pasta machines or machines for other types of noodles?
– Can you use a Soba machine to produce dry Soba noodles for sale?
– Are Soba noodles Chinese or Japanese?
– What is the difference between Soba, Udon and Ramen noodles?
– Do Soba noodles contain MSG?
– Is Soba the same thing as wok?
– Do Soba noodles contain eggs?
– Are Soba dishes strictly vegetarian?
– What is the difference between hand-made and machine-made Soba noodles?
– Do Soba noodles have a strict definition of what is Soba and what is not?
– Are Soba noodles always served in / with soup?
– Are Soba recipes fixed, or have they changed with time?
– Is it possible to develop one’s own original Soba recipe?
– Are Soba noodles gluten free?
– Can Soba noodles be used as a fine-dining food?
– Do you need to dedicate many years on training and learning to make high quality Soba?
– What does it take to open a Soba shop?
– “Ishiusu”, “Arabiki”, “Nibanko”, “Yabu”, “Sanbanko”, “Inaka”, “Sarashina”, “Ichibanko”, “Kanzarashi”, “Hine”, “Juwari”, “Nihachi”, “Dattan”, “Kawari”, “Hegi” – what do all these terms mean, and are they mutually exclusive?
– Can you use local ingredients to make Soba?
For those ‘in the know’ all these things may appear to be a common sense stuff hardly deserving spending much time on explaining. However, it is obvious that especially outside Japan, even professional chefs and food business owners may lack a clear picture, which the class on April 8, 2021 is meant to provide.
The class is Free, and its live broadcast is accessible by the link that will be sent to your email address after you sign up.
IMPORTANT: emails with the broadcast link are sent to the applicants’ email addresses 30 minutes before the start of the class.
(NOTE: we are looking forward for, and would definitely welcome your watching the live broadcast, but should that be difficult, you would still be able to watch a recording of the class using the same link)
|Time (Japanese time)||Contents|
|4:05 ~ 4:15||Brief lecture on Soba: history, noodles, dishes|
|4:15 ~ 4:35||Practical demo session: making fresh Soba noodles|
|4:35 ~5:05||Practical examples of preparation and cooking techniques for Soba dishes|
|5:05 ~ 5:15||Q&A session|
*April 8, 4:00 P.M. Japanese time will be:
April 8, 00:00 A.M. in Los Angeles;
April 8, 2:00 A.M. in Dallas;
April 8, 3:00 A.M. in New York;
April 8, 10:00 A.M. in Helsinki;
9:00 A.M. in Berlin;
8:00 A.M. in Lisbon
*Schedule and timetable may be subject to change
*The class will be conducted in English
—Start your Noodle business journey with this free online noodle class brought to you by the most experienced and qualified noodle professionals from Japan.
—Get a free chance to explore and experience the world of professional noodle making, including commercial noodle making equipment and professional culinary noodle schools
—The class will feature the best commercial noodle making equipment for restaurants, restaurant chains, mini factories, and other types of small/medium scale noodle businesses:
tested by time, endorsed by professionals
Learn about Yamato Noodle School!
How to register for the class
You will receive an email with instructions for how to log in to the Class livestream.
Please feel free to tell us about what kind of noodles you would want to see featured or any particular topic covered during the Class.