Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taste of Home: Semmelknödel (Bread dumplings)

This one's for Sergeant T. ....

I've been baking a lot this week....

I haven't blogged about it yet, because I'm sort of still working on it - both the recipes and the blog; but suffice it to say that I've made 2 attempts at baguettes (2 loafs each time) and 2 attempts at rustic rolls (12 rolls each time) time in the last week.

Since there are only 3 people in our house, and since only one of these people is a teenage boy, it should come as no surprise to you that I have some old stale bread sitting around at the moment.

My son was complaining today that the rolls were getting hard and my daughter confirmed my suspicion that we would probably not eat the breadmaker bread before it dried out.

They did not know that there was method to my madness, and that I had already made plans for the old bread before it even existed.  Turns out, old stale bread happens to be a basic ingredient for ... Semmelknödel!

Interestingly enough, I made goulash yesterday, and Semmelknödel was just the side dish I need for that!

So, off to the Internet I go, and I find among others - this recipe.

I started out by collecting some of the stale bread - rolls, baguette and French bread from the breadmaker - and cutting it in cubes.

I heated up 250 ml of milk and added parsley and salt to it.  The recipe called for fresh parsley, but thanks to my friend Laura, I know that I can use 1/2 the amount of the dried ingredient instead of the fresh one.

I poured the milk over the bread cubes and let them soak while I diced a small onion and sauteed it in butter.  In the meantime, I beat an egg and added it to the bread mixture.

Finally I added the onions and butter to the bread mixture and threw the hole mess into my Kitchenaid.

I suspect that this is one of those recipes where my Tante Anna would probably tell me not to mess with the dough too much.  I could hear her voice in my head as I allowed the Kitchenaid to work the dough only for a minute or two.

I know that this particular recipe calls for flour, but I read other recipes that said that you should never use flower in this dough - maybe a few breadcrumbs, but never flour.  While I had never made these before, that made perfect sense to me - in a puritan kind of way.

I did not like the consistency of the dough, so I added a little more milk.

I used to get so frustrated with my mother, when she would explain recipes to me over the phone.  "Then you add milk", she would say "until it looks right." Problem was, I didn't know what "looks right" meant. I'd ask for measurements, but she didn't have any.  She'd go by looks....   Funny thing is that I am starting to do the same thing.  I followed the recipe, and I don't know what it is really supposed to look like, but it didn't look right, so I added some milk.  Then I added a few breadcrumbs, because it seemed too mushy.

Finally, I formed the  dough into little balls.  You have to do this with wet hands, since the dough is sticky.

I had read several recipes where the Semmelknödel were steamed rather than boiled.  Given that some recipes mention the risk of the Semmelknödel falling apart in the water, I figured that was a good plan, so I added them to my steamer insert rather than boiling them in saltwater.

One dumpling did not fit in the insert, so it went in the boiling water instead.  We'll see which Semmelknödel turn out better.

Then they steam for 20 minutes.  (Obviously, one dumpling boiled for 20 minutes.)

After 20 minutes, the are removed from the pot (with a spoon or a slotted spoon) and this is how they turned out.

Above is the boiled dumpling.  It had not fallen apart, which was good. On the plate below, you see the darker steamed Semmelknödel and the lighter boiled dumpling. 

They all were OK, but the steamed Semmelknödel tasted better!

Recipe: Semmelknödel (Bread dumplings)

250 g stale bread (baguette, hard rolls, french bread)
250 ml milk (maybe a little more)
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, diced
50 g butter 
2 Tsp parsley, chopped (or 1 Tsp dry)

Slice bread, then cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Heat up 250 ml of milk, add parsley and salt to taste
Pour milk mixture over the bread cubes and let it soak
Beat an egg and add to the bread mixture
Dice an onion, sautee in butter and add to the bread mixture
Mix everything together using your hands or a KitchenAid mixer
Add milk or breadcrumbs to adjust for consistency
The dough should be rough, but you should be able to form it into balls with wet hands. 
Put into a steamer insert and steam f 20 min.  Alternatively, simmer for 20 minutes.  


  1. Liebe Stephanie, Deine Semmelknödel sehen sehr lecker aus! Wir essen das eher selten, ist, glaube ich, in unserer Gegend weniger beliebt als Klöße oder Salzkartoffeln. Gulasch gibt es bei uns auch ab und an mal, lecker!
    Heute gibt es bei uns Hefeklöße (oder Dampfnudeln) mit Heidelbeeren, das kennst Du doch bestimmt auch noch, oder? Ich mag so süßes Mittagessen ja nicht, aber da mein Mann z.Z. daheim verweilt und er sowas liebt, tu ich ihm den Gefallen!

    Liebe Grüße

  2. Liebe Karoline,
    Vielen Dank fuer deinen nettern Kommentar.

    Ich mag Kartoffeln eher lieber als jede Art von Kloss, dachte aber ich muss das mal ausprobieren. Ja, Dampfnudeln kenne ich auch. Darueber habe ich am 26. Februar geblogt :-)

    Wir essen Dampfnudeln mit Kartoffelsuppe. Das mag ich viel lieber als die suesse Variante.