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It can be quite difficult to know where to start when you are not familiair with the broad selection of Japanese ramen tools, so here's where to start!
You may be a passionate cook, but when making ramen you will need to be a precise baker. So no eyeballing here. The measuring of flower and kansui in the noodles or even the salt content in the taré is essential to be consistent in making quality ramen. So definitely a key component here is any measuring scale with a sufficiency of 0,1 gram accuracy.
The noodles themselves are a key component, and to some even the most important element for making good ramen. So, it is crucial to have them made right. Logically, a noodle machine is the most productive, efficient and consistent option to make professional noodles on an industrial scale. It hops, rolls, rests, folds, flowers, sheets and cuts the dough, to various shapes and thickness, even for low hydration noodles. Making ramen is very labour intensive as you all may know. A good professional noodle machine will produce about 170 servings per hour. So it will earn your investment back easily when you consider manual intensive labour when having a ramen shop.
Manual noodle maker
There does also exist some rustic Japanese manual noodle makers like the Ono or KSC that can roll/sheet and cut thick and low hydration dough, which won’t put as much stress on the rollers. These manual noodle makers do not have a multitude of different sizes of rollers however.
A manual pasta machine are much more affordable for making ramen at home. The standard sized cutters on a pasta machine is 1.5 mm, which will suffice. A somewhat better one is the Marcato Atlas or Imperia. Its sheeting variates between 0,6 mm and 4,8 mm, depending on the stand. Different cutters forms can also be bought, such as the Marcato Atlas spaghetti chitarra (2 mm) or tagliolini (1,5 mm), which cut square noodles. Tskukemen size attachments aren't available however, so you are somewhat limited when using manula pasta machines.
Industrial stand mixer
There do exist many industrial stand mixers that will have the power to mix the hard noodle dough without a problem, like a 20 litre Buffalo or Maxima Planetary mixers. You could also us a more multi-purpose Kitchen Aid Artisan Pro, which has a 500-watt power motor that can mix, roll and cut your dough altogether. However, the noodle cuts are round and not square and it can mix big portions because it will put stress on the machine. This can be solved by using a manual Mercato pasta cutter attachment. However, making noodles with a manual machine will put stress on the roller’s blades—and occasionally even brake them—and is really labour intensive to make. A planetary mixer therefore is only an option when you have to mix big portions easily - i.g. a ramen shop - but don't have an fully automatic noodle machine with a flour mixing option - i.e. the table top noodle machine.
Banju or kibako
For resting your noodles you can use a box called banju or kibako. These can be made from plastic or wood and will keep your noodles from drying out. It's the Japanese equivalent of a pizza dough storing container. You can store a lot of them in it, around twenty-five portions per box. It's possible to pile the boxes on top of each other. When using tupperware, it's difficult to belance between the right amount of dusting and prevent condensation, which can ruin your noodles (tip: use a backing paper sheet on top!). Ziplock bags however can only keep a minimum amount of noodle portions, before piling and clumping happens. Therefore a banju or kibako is the best solution for handling and resting your noodles.
Noodle boiler machine
These beast have the capability to cook noodles to perfection due to a certain technique that involves steam preservation, a consistent hot water feed and a convection current system. The water can even be replenished automatically and the noodle baskets set independently and raised automatically. Having such a machine will give you consistent well-cooked noodles. If you are on a budget there are ones with less of the aforementioned functions where you will have to manually change the water with a water tap.
Tebo noodle basket
So, for the more economic option of cooking the noodles you can use a basket form strainer that is called tebo and is used for cooking and straining one portion of noodles. Most of them have wooden vertical handles and a hook on which you can hang them in the pot. Because the strainers are extended cylindrical ones, you can shake off excess cooking hard water without being afraid of losing the noodles. You could buy a tebo holder and pot, where you can place the basket in more easily and replenish water through a special outlet. Noodle strainers are also available in a round and more flat form which are called Hirazaru. Hirazaru require more skill for handling multiple portions.
Zundo & Hishaku
Although a 10-litre cooking pot will suffice for cooking the noodles, you will need a bigger one for the stock, usually starting from around 50 litres . Keep in mind it takes a lot of bones or animal parts to produce a small amount of stock. Also, you will evaporate a lot of water into steam. Most shops use hundred and twenty litres and some suppliers even use two hundred litre jacketed kettle pots. The bigger pots have taps on them most of the time so the stock can be tapped out, due to its heavy weight which makes it impossible to turn over. The lighter ones must be turned over manually or be scooped and filtered empty with big ladles, especially chintans. Paitan's are usuallu scooped out with a hishaku, as can be seen in the picture.
A Hishaku, the Japanese equivalent of a cassotte, is traditionally used for Shinto rituals. It is essentially a big scoop ladle with a wooden stick attached to it. A hishaku is also used for scooping the stock out of the pot, mostly to another smaller pot, a yukihira saucepan or directly into the bowl, after straining it.
Avoid cheaper aluminium versions pots and instead use stainless steel ones , because of health issues and durability. When selecting a pot you need one with a small width, that is cylindrical shaped and has a thick bottom to save space and prevent burning your stock. In Japan these are called zundo, but you can just use a western identical version. Ramen shops use a lowered industrial gas or sporadically electric stoves for cooking these pots. They come in single, double or quadruple units and are placed on the floor. You can also use a normal gas or electric stove preferably with a wok or turbo function when cooking bone stocks. It's also possible to use a portable electric single stove—for example when the sheer weight will be too heavy for your electric stove—so buy one that is adjustable to one degrees Celsius.
(Reusable) drawstring (cotton) soup- or muslin bags can be used for cooking vegetables, roots or other stock ingredients that you do not want to filter out later or that need to be removed earlier.
Notice that the zundo is not meant to cook your end product with; when not in an industrial environment , in most cases you would prepare your stock the day before and cool it afterwards, especially with chintans. While the final serving size will be mostly poured from a yakuhira saucepan—which is suited for several servings—or alternatively a smaller cooking pot. It's similar to a western saucepan, but it is made from hammered iron, has a convienant wooden handle and pouring lips on both sides.
Stock mixing paddle
Ramen shops use a big wooden or stainless-steel mixing paddle with a right-angled handle for stirring the soup. This needs to be done constantly, when making certain bone stocks (i.e. to prevent burning).
A mesh sieve or slotted skimmer is necessary to scoop out coagulated floating impurities that would otherwise turn white  stocks brown. Notice that a fine of a mesh lining will also remove the fat out of the stock, so only use a medium lining.
A food thermometer is used for measuring the temperature of chintan stock or meat toppings. However, in case of the stock this is not entirely necessary when you keep the temperature low manually and using a simmer plate or heat diffuser. Just look for that periodic rising bubble. However, it can be handy, especially when you want to check the internal temperature of the chashu, etc.
A pressure cooker can come in handy when short on time and when making paitan. It will enable you to cut down the cooking time by more than two-thirds, ending up with a very creamy stock. In Japan they have certain models of big pressure cookers that cost several thousands of dollars. Because of the heat generation due to a greater surface area, they drastically decrease cooking time (which is economically beneficial in an industrial environment) and can even filter the stock out. However, if you can't make it rain money, a stovetop pressure cooker with heavy bottom will do the trick evenly.
When making a paitan, an immersion blender will be needed to speed up the process of extracting all collagens from the stock. A regular version won't hold up, because grinding bones will cause it to break sooner or later. So, a heavy duty commercial immersion blender will be a more functional and lasting option. They come in different sizes.
It is not required to own a refractometer or brix meter but it will definitely come in handy when measuring content to ratio (mass fraction) of certain elements like viscosity, alkalinity and salinity—as mentioned before. This way you will achieve a consistent soup thickness, saltiness and noodle structure.
A fine mesh sieve strainer or skimmer is essential for filtering the chintan from fine parts that otherwise will make your soup cloudy and gritty. However, the Japanese use a zaru, which has a specific form to it, somewhat between a landing net or squash racket and mostly used for coarser tonkotsu. A mesh sieve strainer will filter some of the fat out of the chintan, so skim as much as possible beforehand, possibly with a fat separator.
Big wooden spatula
If you are making paitan you will need a spatula - however a ladle will work great also - to press out and separate the liquids from the solids. This is done by pressing the pulp or slurry trough the mesh sieve strainer in a circular motion. This way ensures you squeeze out every drop of valuable fat and collagen.
Oil fat separator
A oil fat separator or - strainer will come in handy when you don’t have the time to skim off the fat from your stock or solidified stock. It can also be used for a second filtration of the fat after skimming has taken place. An oil fat separator will help in processing separating oils and liquids (i.e. stock), so the stock will flow to the bottom and the fat will stay on top of the separator unit.
Meat slicing machine
A meat cutting machine is needed for cutting thin slices of chashu as a topping for ramen. Japanese santoku knives can also be used, however you need to have advanced cutting skills to achieve slicing your meat evenly thin. A meat cutting machine will give you the best results.
Green onion cutting machines
If making ramen on an industrial scale, it's wise to invest in an electric machine that cuts negi in an instant. It will cut down physical labour and labour costs drastically, because you will need a lot of them. There exist different types of which the Negihei is probably the best known. There are others available that separate both green and white parts or ones that julienne the white part of the negi.
Santoku knives, the western equivalent of kitchen knives will come in handy when cutting vegetables. They are priced for their craftmanship and longevity. Santoku knives are used, for instance, when cutting shironegi with a usuba, bunka or nagiri knife, akin to a chef’s knife. A boning knife or honesuki will be needed for deboning a whole chicken when making a rolled tori chashu.
Nylon fish line
For slicing an ajitama in half, a nylon fish line is required for the most optimal results. You can use a sharp wet knife, however, the yolk will most times stick to the blade, hereby deforming your ajitama. The fish line needs to be wired to a fixed point and tensioned with one hand before slicing the egg in half while holding it in your other.
Sous vide stick & vacuum sealer machine
When making sous vide meat toppings a sous vide stick can be used after sealing it in a bag with a vacuum sealing machine. Sous vide meats are not boiled but slowly cooked on a low temperature to maintain their juiciness and tenderness. These days a lot of ramen shops use sous vide pink-coloured chicken and pork instead of regular chashu.
A timer is desirable for boiling noodles and eggs for a specific time period, as well as when cooking chashu or sous-vide meat. Notice here that consistency is key, especially when a lot of processes are going on in the kitchen.
An egg piercer can be used foer poking the air out of the uncooked egg. This is done purely for aesthetic reasons as the ajitama will otherwise have air pockets, deforming the egg. Not all shops use one but it will certainly help to peel the egg shell more easily.
Suribachi & Surikogi
Suribachi & Surikogi are the Japanese equivalent of the mortar and pestle. The suribachi is made from baked clay, that is glazed and a wooden surikogi. A western-style mortar and pestle could substitute, but the grooves in the suribachi make it easier to grind seeds, nuts and spices, but it's also better suitable to mash. You can make sauces with it, like goma dare for tantanmen for example, that can be poured out from the lip of the suribachi. A suribachi and surikogi set is really affordable.
Yakumi mise en place containers
Yakumi containers are used for mise en place your assorted cut toppings and sauces to keep them covered and fresh. It’s likely that you have seen chefs ladle their taré and aroma oils out from the yakumi and into the bowls. It’s possible to replace them with small bowls and/or tupperware, but your working place will be more chaotic.
For pouring liquids, obviously ladles are used, which mainly consist of three sizes:
- Soup ladle– 300 ml 
- Taré ladle – 30 ml 
- Oil ladle– 15 ml
Each is specific for one serving. As high-quality ramen is prone to using specific ratios, using these consistently is a must and one should not eyeball except with years of experience. To prevent splattering, the ladle is not raised completely upside down when pouring, but the handle is turned sideways, almost never leaving the rim of the bowl.
Bowls play a key role in ramen. They enhance the appearance drastically when choosing the right bowl. Ramen bowls come in different shapes, forms, colours, motives and materials. According to the usage one can choose between different variations. For instance, a ohgigatadon or fan-shaped bowl is used for a stylish array of high end toppings with a low soup volume. And a hira tayoudon or flattened all-purpose bowl is used for high quantity, budget, no frills ramen. You can choose between even coloured, artisanal, vintage Chinese blue with old kanji writing or simple white bowls, metallic material or melanin material in endless variations, and you will probably end up with a full shelve of these. Choose bowls with diameters between 8 and 9 inches (or 20, cm to 23 cm) to arrange your toppings nicely and not overcrowd and overfill your bowl.
For presentation and plating your bowl, for instance folding noodles or arranging toppings, some equipment will make a whole lot of difference. For these circumstances a western cooking tweezers, kitchen tongs or even hashi will suffice, according to your preferences and/or experience.
Saibashi, or cooking chopsticks are big chopsticks used for mostly stirring and folding the noodles, as this job would be too heavy for regular chopsticks. Saibashi have a length of approximately forty centimetres and very lightweight due to its material, which is made from bamboo. They are very versatile in Japanese cooking and can also be used for mixing, grabbing, scrambling, tossing, etc.
Eating the ramen—possibly the most enjoyable moment—a chirirenge or Chinese soup spoon, together with hashi, of course, is a necessary component. A renge is a plastic, porcelain or wooden  hollow spoon which you can scoop the soup with. It has either a normal flat bottom or a rigded one which can be hanged on the rim of the bowl.
Concluding this chapter, we can presume that making ramen requires certain conditions. In anyway authentic umami rich components and technical appliances are needed, to get the best results in achieving consistent authentic ramen and ease/comfort in the kitchen. This goes the same way for ingredients, which we will further elaborate at on the upcoming blogpost about Japanese pantry items!
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 When making less, a 30 litre pot will suffice and for more use a 70 litre pot.
 Some have aluminium cores which functions as a conductor, where the aluminium is isolated and does not leak heavy metals into the stock.
 However, some ramen chefs will ladle the product directly in the bowl with a hiskaku or cassette and sieve.
 This is done with paitan stocks only, chintan stocks must not be skimmed!
 Or 350 ml size.
 Or 22 or 44 ml size.
 This form deviates somewhat from the more plastic oval ones, where these are octagonal in form with a long straight handle attached to it.
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