[Ramen Thoughts] New Year - More Ramen

Happy New Year Everyone!

Last year I have learned so much about myself and about ramen and I am ready to take everything to the next level. The idea of writing a Ramen book is going strong. I have been taking InDesign Classes through Lynda.com in hopes to work on my book development. The first few lessons that I have taken are very informative and I highly recommend the website to those who want to pick up a skill. (Lynda.com - feel free to sponsor my website).

With that said, I can't write a book unless I know what I am talking about and the best way to learn is by making ramen. I hosted a ramen pop-up at my house this past weekend and I can say that I am getting a hang of this ramen thing. I tried some new things and stream lined the process and had very few hick ups with my homemade shio ramen.

Lessons Learned:

Equilibrium Brine: I got this idea from /u/Ramen_Lord on reddit. The gist of it is to soak your eggs in a solution equal to what you want the final flavor to be. I set salt levels of the solution to 1.5% and it worked wonders. I would probably drop it maybe to 1.3-1.4% to let more of the egg flavor shine through. 

Whole Wheat Flour in Noodles: Before I tried making noodles strictly from whole wheat flour, which failed to hold its shape. This time I made a composite noodle with 1/4 whole wheat and 3/4 pasta flour. It was a little hard to get my noodle together, but it worked out in the end. I will probably drop the ratio closer to 1/6 whole wheat to 5/6 pasta or bread flour to get a smoother noodle.




Ideal Salt Levels of Broth: The tare is one of the most mysterious component of ramen. It provides flavor to the base stock that salt cannot provide along. When following other people's recipes, I wasn't sure how it should taste or how much of it to add. There were too many unknown variables. I decided to break everything down by sodium levels and by weight in grams. I inadvertently started with a 2.54% salt concentration in my trial broth. This was because of SCIENCE! When converting from sodium to NaCl, I left out the 2.54 conversion factor and had an overbearingly salty broth. I ended up making my ramen with a 0.93% salt level which was very clean and pleasant. I think upping the salt levels to 1.0% will be the optimal flavor, but I will have to wait until tomorrow when I made another bowl of ramen.

No Bamboo, no worries: I forgot to get bamboo for my ramen and the nearby korean market did not have any bamboo shoots. I had some left over button mushrooms in the fridge. I didn't want to just slice them and add them to the broth as I feel it would take away from the aesthetic of my bowl. Instead I decided to imitate some popular bowls in Japan, particularly Tsuta. They put a small dab of truffle on their bowl. My mushrooms are 1/50th of the price, but I upped the umami by cooking it in some miso tare that I have saved and browned them to add extra maillard flavor. Next time instead of spending 15 minutes dicing the mushrooms into tiny cubes, I will just blend them or put them into a food processor. A lot of the mushrooms sunk to the bottom of the broth and wasn't able to be enjoyed in all its glory. By running in through a food processor, you can get almost like a paste that can be mixed into the broth.

I think I have gotten my shio ramen to a good level to put the recipe in a book. Next stop: tori paitan, miso, and vegetable based ramen.