Amish Noodles Test 2: What others say about making noodles
I made my second batch of Amish Homemade Noodles, using 1 tiny teaspoon of lard.
I had to think of my friend Emily who once threw down a bag of Martin’s Gibbles potato chips, (a yummy brand made in Dutch country around Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; ask my kids about Martin’s BBQ chips). After she scrutinized the label she exclaimed “Lard!” like it was poison. Despicable, of course, unless you are making fine pie crusts or maybe homemade noodles.
Here’s the recipe I used this time, from Mennonite Community Cookbook (I appreciate the small quantity here for my experimenting, but real Amish or Mennonite cooks would have multiplied these many times over if they were making a batch.)
1 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fat
3 tbl. water
Make a well in the flour and add egg, salt and fat.
Rub together and add water to form a stiff dough. Knead.
Divide dough into three parts and roll each as thin as possible.
Spread rolled dough on a cloth and allow to dry partially.
Then cut dough into strips about 1.5 inches wide and stack on top of each other. Then cut cross wise into fine shreds. Dry. (Mrs. Elo Synder, Breslau, Ontario.)
First I went to Red Front (local independent grocery) and bought the smallest container of lard I could find.
Then, I followed the steps exactly, making a well in the flour,
mixing up the dough with my hands.
Kneading the dough, then dividing it into three balls.
And finally, rolling them out as thin as I could get them.
The noodles tasted about the same though, in all honesty. I wasn’t sure how just one tiny teaspoon would make a flavorful difference. Noodles are not my husband’s favorite thing so I’ve been trying out my noodles by making lots of homemade chicken noodle soup. It is good weather for that. And good for ailing bodies. Check this recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook, from a wonderful cook, Lovella Schellenberg, who also describes how to make noodles, Russian-Mennonite style.
Here’s a photo essay of Lovella and her granddaughter making homemade noodles, just added 2/15/2013.
The more I researched this topic the less I know. You know how that goes.
In my previous blog post on this topic, my mother said the mention of homemade noodles instantly brought back the image of her mother’s noodles hanging over the ironing board to dry.
So she wrote a few more details, which I was happy for: “Looks like [my] Mom followed the recipe and instructions in Mennonite Community Cookbook, p. 124. The rolled dough would have been probably larger than a pie crust and very thin. Not too dry of dough or the noodles would get crumbly. She put them on the ironing board in the parlor with older dish towels underneath. I was sort of amazed that this cookbook stated stuff so much like Mom did. She did have a very ancient cookbook called Inglenook with a plain lady pictured on the cover with a covering on and stings! Boy would that be worth something now.”
My grandmother Ruth Stauffer on my mother’s side.
Mother seemed to remember Grandma just using the egg yolks in her mother’s noodles to make them yellow but I haven’t found any recipe recommending that. More on yellow later.
I also consulted the book, The Amish Cook, by Elizabeth Coblentz, the wonderful cook and columnist from Ohio whose column appeared for years in our local paper, now written by her daughter, Lovina Eicher. Elizabeth died in 2002.
In Coblentz’s cookbook published in 2002 with Kevin Williams (Ten Spread Press), she says they rolled their noodles about 1/16 inch thick. That was helpful to find an actual dimension. And they used yellow food coloring (!) to make the dough a “nice yellow.” She also explained that noodles need to dry at least a week, rearranging the drying rack every day to ensure they dry evenly. Later, she says, they used a hand cranked noodle maker that “rolls out and cuts the dough … What used to take all day now just takes a couple hours. We can put 30 eggs, 30 tablespoons of water, and 30 cups of flour through the noodle maker in an hour.” (p. 87). Elizabeth’s actual recipe is much the same as the one I posted earlier, or the one above, except she did not use any lard or shortening in hers.)
That’s a lot of noodles. But like my mother said, “We used to probably always [love her nuances] feed thrashers noodles.” If you don’t know what thrashers are, my grandpa (on my father’s side) was one. They went around harvesting wheat and stuff with big equipment. So there would always be need for cheap filling food to feed workers on thrashing day.
Finally, I loved my daughter’s mother-in-law’s story shared on my last post on this topic. Sue wrote: “My aunt made homemade noodles for every holiday. They were so good. I tried making them once. I had them all rolled out, cut and spread on the counter to dry. I was doing something else and my oldest daughter came along and proceeded to clump them all back together again into one big dough ball!! I gave up!!”
And that’s about enough on homemade noodles, until I get learn from an Amish cook at Camp Amigo in September when I’m helping with a Road Scholar program on heritage of Mennonites and Amish. Check it out!
Chicken soup from my latest batch of noodles: