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11 2011

Making Soba in Takumi no Sato Craft Village 2

My friend, her mom and I made soba, Japanese buckwheat noodles, when we visited Takumi no Sato, a tourist spot in the northern part of Gunma Prefecture, during New Year’s holidays.

There are multiple places where visitors can participate in soba making workshops, and we took one held at Nousanbutu-kakou no Ie (農産物加工の家, the house of processing of agricultural products), a restaurant and shop run by local women. The fee for participating the soba making workshops is reasonable (around 1000 yen per person), while it often costs more than 2000 yen in another tourist facilities.

soba making1

Ingredients: buckwheat flour, wheat flour (about 20% of the total flours), and water

It’s simple, isn’t it?
Wheat flour is used as a thickener for buckwheat flour containing no gluten. Personally, I prefer 100% buckwheat noodles, but it’s difficult for beginners to make them.

Under the direction of a local woman, we worked through the steps below. I did it when I visited there year before last, so I was mainly taking photos this time.

Step 1
soba making2
Put the flours in a konebachi(捏ね鉢, a special basin for soba making) and mix them well.

Step 2
soba making3
Put a third of water and mix them.

Step 3
soba making4
Put rest of water, mix them, and promptly gather dough into a ball before moisture would evaporate.

Step 4
soba making5
Make knead the dough by hand. The instructor said that we had to knead it at least 100 times….

Step 5
soba making6 soba making7
Roll out the dough using a rolling pin.

Step 6
soba making8 soba making9
Cut up the folded dough on a chopping] board using a soba knife (そば包丁) and komaita (駒板, a cutting guide board for noodles).

Done!

The staff persons immediately boiled freshly made soba, and we had it at the restaurant with maitake mushroom tempura we ordered.

soba making11

Our hand made soba noodles were irregular in shape, but they tasted especially good!

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