Homemade egg noodles differ from homemade pasta in that they're softer and more tender. Unlike lean pasta recipes, egg noodles call for eggs, and benefit from a soft flour, such as self-rising flour. Using self-rising flour in egg noodles cuts down your prep time, and can even improve the noodles' taste and texture.
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Self-Rising Flour Defined
Self-rising flour, common in the southern U.S., is generally made from soft wheat and contains between 7 and 11 percent protein. It's too soft for yeast breads, but it makes tender biscuits, pie crusts, cakes and cookies. Self-rising flour contains about 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt per cup, so you can omit the leavening and salt from most recipes.
Egg noodles need only five ingredients, and when you use self-rising flour, you cut the list down to just three items -- self-rising flour, eggs and milk or cream. To make the noodles, pour the flour in your food processor, a stand mixer or a bowl. Mix in some eggs until the dough resembles coarse crumbs. At this point, add milk. Add it slowly, just until the dough sticks together. On dry days, you'll need more milk; use less milk on humid days. After the dough has rested for 30 to 60 minutes, roll it and cut it into noodles. Toss the noodles in boiling water or a savory soup and cook them until they're tender, but not mushy.
Self-rising flour is not only convenient, but it produces excellent results in noodles. Like biscuits, noodles tend to become tough if they're overworked, but because self-rising flour is low in protein, it's almost impossible to toughen noodles made with it. Noodles will come out soft and tender. The baking powder in the flour lightens the noodles, making them puff slightly as they cook, and the salt gives just the right flavor.
Self-rising flour isn't the only possibility for making noodles. You can make your own self-rising flour by combining all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt, at a rate of 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt for each cup of flour. Reduce the amount of flour you use in the recipe by 1 to 2 tablespoons. Pastry flour contains 7 to 9 percent protein and makes a fine substitute for self-rising flour, although you'll need to add baking powder and salt. Regular all-purpose flour works in noodles, too, although the noodles won't be quite as tender. Be sure to let the dough rest before you cut the noodles and flour the work surface lightly so the noodles don't absorb too much flour, which can cause them to be dry and tough.