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by Bernhard Baumgartner
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Semmelknoedel xy01
Bread Dumplings

Bread dumplings are best served with a sauced dish such as Goulash/Gulyas, or any stew, BUT there is another great typical Austrian dish called "sautéed dumpling", which isn´t sauced at all.

Bread dumplings are a great dish if you have white bread left that you do not have any use for anymore, except for feeding the birds.  Keep your bread left overs, cut them into small cubes and let them dry out completely.  Store this dumpling bread in a dry dark place.

Knoedel are an Austrian favorite, and one might think Austria could be a Knoedel-country instead of a banana-republic.  I wrote an article about Why Austrians eat Knoedel so often. You might want to read it, and tell me your opinion about this topic, if you have one.

Recipe for Semmelknoedel (bread dumplings)

Serves 4 as a sidedish

1 lb (~500 g) white bread DRIED and CUT into 1/2-inch (~1 cm) cubes

1 large onion

4 whole eggs

2 cups (~500 ml) milk

1/4 lb (~250 g) butter OR margarine

salt, nutmeg

2 Tablespoons parsley freshly CHOPPED

2 Tablespoons flour (optional, to bind dumpling)

How to cook Semmelknoedel

4. Cooking them

When all dumplings are formed and the water is boiling, place them in the pot.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil again.  Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and let them simmer another 10 minutes. Now they are ready to serve, best with a sauced dish such as Gulyas.  If you have a few extra dumplings after your dinner, keep them in the fridge and cook a sautéed dumpling with eggs for next day’s lunch.

5. Sautéed dumpling

Cut cold dumplings into small slices and pan-fry in butter or oil until slices are browned and crunchy.  Then add an egg or two, salt, and make sure the eggs are well done.  Serve with a green salad.

3. Forming the dumplings

Prepare a chopping board to place the uncooked dumplings on and a bowl of cold water for your hands.  Be courageous now and take a handful of dough.  Moisten your hands and squeeze the dough in your hands as much as you can.  Then, roll it in your hands and press again into the size and shape of a tennis ball. Moisten your hands again and roll the dumpling between your hands.  Give it a real smooth surface and place it on the chopping board, waiting for the others to be ready to cook.

Add eggs now and stir lightly and then a bit more.  Do not squeeze or knead--just stir and combine the eggs with the rest.  Season with salt, nutmeg and chopped parsley.  Then cover and let rest for about twenty minutes. In the meantime, bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot.

But, if you my dear reader are not living in Austria, you may have to prepare it yourself.  It is easiest to cut the bread or white rolls before they are dried, but any way will serve.  You can even just crush it and let bigger pieces be in your dough;  it is all up to you, but cut into small cubes is classic.

Semmelknoede xy02

1. The bread

The bread must be really dried out.  In Austria one can buy the ready-cut and dried bread in every supermarket.  And every good bakery sells its own, made from their white bread leftovers.  It is in fact called 'dumpling bread' or 'breadroll cubes' here.

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2. The dough

Pour bread into a big bowl.  Chop the onion very fine and sauté lightly in the butter.  Pour milk over onions and butter and heat the mixture.  Now pour this mix over the bread and stir together, but not too much.  

Semmelknoedel xy06 Semmelknoedel xy07 Semmelknoedel xy08 Semmelknoedel xy09

Now pour this mix over the bread and stir together, but not too much.  The dough has to be airy; DO NOT squeeze the bread, just moisturize it.           

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by Bernhard Baumgartner