Egg noodles hold a special place in the pasta world. But what are egg noodles, exactly?
Simply put- they are strands of dough enriched with eggs. Egg noodles possess a unique texture and flavor and work well in countless dishes.
You can use them in comforting soups, savory stir-fries, or even decadent desserts.
No matter the recipe, egg noodles offer a versatile canvas for culinary creativity.
So, if you want to learn more about egg noodles, keep reading.
I’ve got all the eggcellent info you need right here!
What Are Egg Noodles?
Egg noodles are unleavened dough noodles made from eggs and wheat flour.
They are often long and flat, though some are curled or twisted into other shapes.
You can find them in most grocery stores in the dry pasta aisle. (Even though they are not precisely pasta.)
While popular enough in America, they are a staple of many ethnic cuisines. You’ll find them in Asian, Turkish, Jewish, and German dishes, especially.
Egg Noodles vs. Pasta (What’s the Difference?)
Most people consider egg noodles a type of pasta. And yes, you willfind them on the pasta aisle of most grocery stores.
But egg noodles and pasta are not the same. In fact, there are some pretty obvious differences between them.
First and foremost, all egg noodles must contain one key ingredient: eggs.
Some pasta varieties also have eggs in their ingredients, but not all of them. Most pasta in the grocery store does not contain eggs.
Also, all pasta contains a key ingredient, too: semolina.
But you can make egg noodles from semolina, all-purpose flour (most common), rice flour, etc.
Also, though some egg noodles are twisty, they are typically ribbon-shaped. In other words, they’re long and flat.
Even when twisted, they are still long and flat – just twisty, too.
Pasta can come in various shapes. Think of all the pasta varieties out there!
There’s macaroni, rotini, ravioli, spaghetti, and so much more.
Also, the uses and cooked textures of egg noodles and pasta differ. Most people use eggless pasta in Italian recipes.
Egg noodles are prevalent in Asian, Jewish, German, and other cuisines. They’re also more versatile and can even pop up in desserts.
Egg noodles’ texture is softer and more tender than pasta’s when cooked. Regular pasta is chewier.
How Are Egg Noodles Made?
Here are the steps for making homemade egg noodles:
- Combine the ingredients. The ingredients for egg noodles include eggs, flour, and salt.
- Combine those ingredients slowly with a whisk or your hands.
- Once you create a slightly sticky dough, move on to step 2.
- Knead the dough. This takes a little time but less than it would take to make bread. Knead until the dough is firm, smooth, and no longer sticky.
- Kneading helps activate the gluten protein network.
- It also makes the dough more elastic.
- Shape the dough. You want a nice bar -or ball- shape. This will help you roll it out more easily.
- Let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Giving the dough time to rest helps relax the gluten. It also helps hydrate the flour.
- Cut and shape the dough. Roll out, cut, and shape the dough into egg noodles.
- The noodles are long and flat, like ribbons. However, you can twist them or use pasta tools to shape them differently.
- Cook the noodles. Cook the noodles immediately to ensure they have the best flavor.
However, you can freeze the noodles to cook later or dry them. (This last option makes them similar to store-bought egg noodles.)
How to Cook Egg Noodles
Cooking egg noodles is like cooking pasta. You will boil them! Some recipes may require you to partially cook them before using them.
The cooking time may vary depending on several factors, including:
- How thick the noodles are
- How tender the noodles should be
- The recipe
- The shape of the noodles
- Whether the noodles are fresh, dry, or frozen
So, you may have to adjust the boiling time a bit. But the cooking process- simmering in boiling water – is the same*.
*Note: Some recipes may require you to add uncooked egg noodles. In those cases, follow the directions in the recipe.
Regional Varieties of Egg Noodles
The following are the most popular regional varieties of egg noodles:
You’ll most often find these egg noodles in Chinese fare. They also pop up in Southeastern and Eastern Asian cuisine.
Their uses vary, but people often add them to stir-fries and soups.
Lokshen egg noodles are primarily found in Jewish and Pennsylvania Dutch recipes.
They are always dried and sometimes made only with egg whites.
They come in various sizes, including wide, extra-wide, and medium.
Kesme egg noodles are popular in Iran, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries.
People form them by rolling their dough flat, folding it like an accordion, and slicing it.
Besides eggs and flour, milk is another ingredient often found in kesme noodles. Many soup and stew recipes feature this variety of noodles.
Of all egg noodle varieties, spaetzle noodles are the most varied. Germans make and cook spaetzle noodles in many different ways.
Most people use the extrusion method to make them. (Extrusion means pressing raw dough through a grater, ricer, or colander.)
To cook them, most people boil them, dip them in butter, and fry them.
Egg pasta differs from egg noodles because it is true pasta. (Pasta made with semolina.)
Unlike traditional pasta, though, the recipe also includes eggs.
This makes it egg pasta instead of egg noodles or traditional pasta. This variety is popular in Italian cuisine.
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