TOPIC: How to Select the Right Flour for Making Noodles, and the Current state of Fflour Quality
How much do you know about flour?
With so many different types of flour on the market, how we choose a good flour for making noodles depends on what kind of noodles we want to make. For example, both udon and ramen noodles are made with wheat flour, but the desired size and texture are different for each noodle type. Generally, udon noodles are supposed to be thicker and have a chewy texture with a white color, whereas ramen noodles are thin, have a harder texture and a yellowish color. What’s more, wheat flour is also used as a binding agent in soba noodles. So, the flours for making noodles vary depending on noodle type.
The flour-milling technology and equipment in Japan are the most advanced in the world. Aside from noodles, in Japan, we use wheat flour for sweets, bread, and tempura too.
Commonly, hakurikiko (soft flour) is used for sweets and tempura batter, churikiko (medium flour) is for udon noodles, jun-kyorikiko (semi-hard flour) is for ramen noodles, and kyorikiko (hard flour) is used for bread. Thanks to Japan’s flour milling technology and flour quality, it is not difficult to make quality Japanese dishes if you use the right flour.
Public awareness of food safety and reliability has been increasing in Japan over recent years, so people tend to purchase domestic products especially if they are food-related products. Although our flour- milling technology is the most advanced, we depend heavily on wheat imports mainly from the US, Canada and Australia. Currently, only 14% of the wheat for flour is domestically cultivated in Japan; the rest is imported . The wheat for semi-hard (jun-kyorikiko) and hard flour (kyorikiko) is imported mainly from the USA and Canada, while the wheat for medium flour (churikiko) is imported mainly from Australia.
When it comes to wheat, the quality of domestic wheat is not necessarily higher than that of imported wheat. Nowadays, it is said that Australian wheat is better than Japanese wheat for udon flour. Most of the wheat for udon flour used to be cultivated in Kagawa, Japan, until 1963 when the region suffered a devastating poor harvest due to heavy rainfall. Since then, Australian wheat has been imported as a substitute for the domestic variety. These days it is said that wheat cultivated in Western Australia is the best for udon flour, and is blended with other types of wheat to maintain consistent quality on a sustainable basis. Nevertheless, in recent years the quality of Australian wheat has fluctuated with the weather conditions (drought, heavy rain, etc.). Because wheat flour is the main ingredient for making Japanese noodles, so it is very important to study and understand flour.
There are many flour millers in Japan and they produce various high-quality flours developed and improved specifically for making Japanese noodles. So, it would not be difficult to find the right flour for making your ideal noodles among available Japanese varieties, but it might not be easy to pick one out because there are so many brands on the market.
As described above, flour is a vital ingredient for making noodles. So, it needs to be chosen carefully and also to be reviewed considering customer needss and trends that are constantly evolving. We will advise you about the best flour for making your ideal noodles and the most popular flour that suits the times, if required.
If you’re thinking about starting up a noodle business overseas, you need to study and understand about flours more closely. There aren’t many flour types suitable for making Japanese noodles overseas, and in any care they are not even categorized by noodle type like Japanese ones. What’s more even though some Japanese noodle flours are available at some overseas markets, their prices are much higher than those of local flours. This means when it comes to cost, it is clearly better to use the local flours. For this reason, we will advise you how to turn your local flours into high-quality noodles with our knowledge and techniques. Our advice, knowledge and techniques have enabled many clients from overseas to build successful businesses serving high-quality noodles made with their local flours.
Regardless of where you plan to start up a business, knowledge of flours is an important first step in increasing the likelihood of your business succeeding. Also, it is crucial that you gain a detailed understanding of how to make Japanese noodles for continued success. Therefore, please feel free to consult us if you are interested in or plan to open a noodle business.