Spelt Ramen Noodles from Scratch

Unless you’re in the habit of visiting first-class ramen shops, these spelt ramen noodles will be a revelation. In the classic Japanese movie Tampopo, two altruistic milk truck drivers help a ramen shop owner master her art. Much concern is expressed about whether her noodles demonstrate “sincerity;” when you try this recipe, you can be sure your noodles will be as sincere as the day is long.

This recipe makes 1-2 portions of spelt ramen noodles—scale up for as many servings as you’ll need. These are thin fresh egg noodles that will work equally well in Italian pasta dishes. Don’t undersalt it, especially if you’re making multiple servings. If you like, you can make extra noodles and dry them for later use.

Spelt Ramen Recipe

spelt ramen Prep Time: 1 hour and 90 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup/90 grams white spelt flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon water/15 milliliters (plus extra)

Instructions:

  1. Mix the spelt flour and salt in a large bowl. Build a well for your egg and water, and scramble it, gradually incorporating more flour into the mixture.
  2. When dough comes together into a ball that can be handled, turn out on a floured surface and knead, adding water in drops as necessary if too dry, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Cover dough with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rest 30–60 minutes.
  4. Flatten dough and roll out to desired thickness with a rolling pin or pasta machine. Cut to desired thickness by passing through a pasta machine cutters or liberally flouring surfaces, folding in thirds, and slicing with a sharp knife. Toss pasta gently with fingers and a little flour to keep it from sticking together or hang to dry on a pasta drying rack.
Adapted from: Food Retro

Spelt Panko

Since we couldn’t find any Spelt Panko, we started a project to make our own. We took a detour through some interesting Japanese culinary history, learned to bake a new kind of bread and wound up with a great dish, Pork Tonkatsu

Spelt Panko Recipe

spelt panko 30-40 minutes
Makes: about 6 cups

 

 

Ingredients

1 loaf of Spelt Japanese Milk Bread

Instructions

  1. Cut the crusts off a loaf of Japanese Milk Bread (they are a nice treat in themselves). Shred the crumb on a box grater or on the shredding attachment of a food processor. Don’t use the metal blade of your food processor or a blender: you would risk making the crumbs too fine; you want flakes.
  2. Spread the crumbs on a couple of sheet pans and put in a 300F oven. It will take 15–20 minutes until the crumbs are dry enough. Store in a tightly closed container in a cool place.

Spelt Japanese Milk Bread (Shokupan)

A dense, sweet Japanese take on Western white loaf bread. Shokupan became very popular around the turn of the 20th century in Japan. Panko was originally made from stale shokupan.

Spelt Japanese Milk Bread

spelt japanese milk bread

Prep Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: One loaf

Ingredients:

FOR THE STARTER:
  • ⅓ cup/45 grams white spelt flour
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters whole milk
FOR THE DOUGH:
  • 2 ½ cups/325 grams white spelt flour
  • ¼ cup/60 grams sugar
  • 2 teaspoons/7 grams active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon/4 grams salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters warm whole milk, plus extra for brushing on the unbaked loaf
  • 4 tablespoons/60 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus extra for buttering bowls and pan

Instructions

  • Make the starter: In a small heavy pot, whisk spelt flour, milk and 1/2 cup water (120 milliliters) together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until thickened but still pourable, about 10 minutes (it will thicken more as it cools). When it’s ready, the spoon will leave tracks on the bottom of the pot. Scrape into a measuring cup and lightly cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to room temperature. (You will have about 1 cup starter; see note below.)
  • Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the spelt flour, sugar, yeast and salt and mix for a few seconds, just until evenly combined.
  • Add egg, milk and 1/2 cup starter. Turn the mixer on low speed and knead 5 minutes.
  • Add soft butter and knead another 10 to 12 minutes (it will take a few minutes for butter to be incorporated), until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit tacky.
  • Lightly butter the inside of a bowl. Use your hands to lift dough out of mixer bowl, shape into a ball and place in prepared bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes.
  • Punch the dough down and use your hands to scoop it out onto a surface. Using a bench scraper or a large knife, cut dough in half. Lightly form each half into a ball, cover again and let rise 15 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • Using a rolling pin, gently roll out one dough ball into a thick oval. (By this time, the dough should be moist and no longer sticky. You probably will not need to flour the surface, but you may want to flour the pin.) First roll away from your body, then pull in, until the oval is about 12 inches long and 6 inches across.
  • Cover and let rest 30 to 40 minutes more, until the risen dough is peeking over the edge of the pan and the dough logs are meeting in the center. Brush the tops with milk and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until golden brown and puffed, 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour, to let the crust soften and keep the crumb lofty. (If cut too soon, the air bubbles trapped in the bread will deflate.)
This recipe for Japanese Milk Bread was adapted from The New York Times

Spelt Panko Tonkatsu

Japanese Pork Tonkatsu breaded with spelt panko is a major work of “cultural appropriation” from the First Age of Globalization. Panko is made from shokupan, Japanese Milk Bread, a European-style bread that became popular in Japan around the turn of the twentieth century. The word tonkatsu means “Katsu (short for katsuretsu, cutlets made with pork.” In other words the dish is an adaptation of Austrian wienerschnitzel made with breadcrumbs from stale European-style bread. It goes on: the classic tonkatsu sauce is a version of English Worcestershire Sauce modified to suit local tastes. Enjoy!

Spelt Panko Tonkatsu

spelt panko tonkatsu Prep Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ¾ pound cabbage, cored
  • 4 fillets boneless pork shoulder or pork loin (about 1 pound), about ¾ inch thick
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup white spelt flour
  • 2 cups spelt panko crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • ½ cup tonkatsu sauce, store-bought or homemade

Instructions:

  1. Pound the meat with the knife’s flat side about 6 to 8 times on each side of the pork to flatten the meat to about ½ inch thick. Cut ½-inch notches into the white fat of the fillets, which will prevent the fillet from curling when frying. Season the fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Transfer the prepared pork fillets to a plate.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Prepare 4 plates. Pour the spelt flour onto the first plate. Pour the beaten egg onto the second plate. Pour the spelt panko onto the third plate. Leave the fourth plate empty for now (this plate will hold the breaded tonkatsu).
  4. Fill a 12″ cast-iron skillet with vegetable oil to a height of at least 1 inch. Turn the heat on to high. Heat the oil to 340 ° F. Line a platter with paper towels to drain the cooked tonkatsu.
  5. While the oil is heating, bread the fillets. First, dredge a fillet in spelt flour on both sides and shake off excess spelt flour. Second, dip the fillet into the egg, coating both sides. Third, repeat the process, dredging the pork in the spelt flour again on both sides, then coating it again with egg on both sides. Finally, lay the fillet on the spelt panko crumbs. Pile spelt panko on top of the pork with your fingers, then gently press the spelt panko onto the fillet with the palms of your hand so a generous layer of panko sticks to the fillet on both sides. Repeat with the other fillets, then place them on the empty plate you prepared earlier.
  6. When the oil has heated to 340°F, carefully slide the fillets into the skillet. Depending on the size of the skillet, cook the tonkatsu in batches. Be careful not to overfill the skillet, which will lower the cooking temperature; use, at most, half of the surface area of the oil to cook. While the tonkatsu is cooking regulate the heat to maintain a constant 340 ° F oil temperature. If the oil is too hot, the tonkatsu will burn; if it is too low, the tonkatsu will come out soggy and greasy.
  7. Cook the tonkatsu for about 4 minutes, turning once, until the fillets turn golden brown. When they’re ready, transfer the fillets to the paper-lined plate to drain.
  8. Transfer the tonkatsu to a cutting board and slice into strips. For each serving, place the pork on a plate, along with a heap of sliced cabbage. Serve topped with about 2 tablespoons of tonkatsu sauce or serve the sauce on the side, as you prefer. Serve steamed white rice on the side.

Adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat