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Matzah ball news flash

  • t
  • Tatania Apr 24, 2005 11:13 AM

Proved to my own satisfaction last night that the difference between dense and light matzah balls is not in the ingredients, but in the shaping. Using a single batch of dough, ladies and gentlemen, made both light and heavy matzah balls. The heavies were rolled agressively into neat little cannonballs, the lights were gently spooned out of the bowl and dropped, in free-formish, roundish scoops, into the simmering broth. Anyone care to duplicate my results tonight so we can declare the mystery solved?

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  1. making a batch tonight, and will do....(this had always matched my theory too, but never thought to try and demonstrate it)

    2 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      Absolutely true, I always wondered what made the differece in preperation of "sinkers or floaters". I too spooned the balls into the boiling liquid and voila, light, fluffy kanadeloch my bubby, Bessie Cohen would have hated. We have always been a sinker family. I now prefer the texture of floaters. I also like the freeform way they look with all of those uneven lumps which form around the outside. Oi,I've been converted!

      1. re: susancinsf

        well, maybe it is my recipe, but sorry, didn't hold true for me. Some were carefully rolled, others I just used an ice cream scooper to put in the pot. I couldn't tell any difference in the texture between the two with my eyes closed (they did look a bit different, but that is it). All fell somewhere in between but more in the floater category. Could it be the theory only holds for those that would otherwise be sinkers?

      2. c
        ChowFun (derek)

        i think you are absolutely correct!
        I like my matzo balls a combo of the two..fluffy outside, denser core...so I "lightly" ..gently rolled them...voila, they came out exactly as I like them!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChowFun (derek)

          I made matzoh balls yesterday for the first time ever. So I had no idea how they were going to turn out.

          Unintentionally, I gently rolled them, and, like yours, came out fluffy on the outside and a bit denser in the middle.

          I never even had a chance to taste them last night because I was to busy in the kitchen (and too hot to eat soup!), but I had them tonight and I really liked them this way. Now I know how to make them for next year!

        2. I don't think I've heard of anyone else doing this, but my mother used to bake matzoh balls. She'd prepare them the usual way, slightly sinker-style, cooked in boiling salted water. Then she'd remove them from the water, let them dry, put in a baking dish, pour a little melted chicken fat over and bake until they formed a light brown crust. Fabulous!

          1 Reply
          1. re: judybird
            c
            ChowFun (derek)

            Interesting...would they go back into the chicken soup, or were they eaten as "dumplings"..sort of like a side dish?

          2. Hmmm...I don't know about that. This year I finally learned at the side of my almost-90-year-old grandmother. With the help of two of my cousins, on Friday we made 99 matzo balls. Grandma said the secrets to floaters are:

            1) follow the recipe on the matzo meal box, and have the eggs at room temperature (a MUST), and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before using it

            2) wet hands when forming the balls - every few balls, you have to re-wet your hands

            3) don't crowd them in the pot when boiling them - they need lots of room to expand (we used 3 separate large pots of lightly salted boiling water to cook them, and did 2 batches in each pot - starting with fresh water for the second batch - and still they were probably a bit too crowded)

            4) to address your exact point, Grandma rolled them between her hands to form round balls, and the rolling action certainly gave some compression - no way were they free-form - and they certainly were not sinkers!

            1. The secret that I learned from my great aunt was to add a splash of seltzer to the matzoh ball mixture before you shape them. I think the fizz helps make light balls. (If that's what you're after . . . )

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jen

                Don't think it could be the seltzer, as I easily made both sinkers and floaters with seltzer. Don't see how wet hands would make a difference - think that's just a way to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. Don't see why the temperature of the eggs would be relevant; in cake-making, to my knowlege, you want room temp eggs so as not to make the butter congeal, but with m-balls, you're refrigerating the whole business for an hour, anyhow (if you follow the back 'o' the box recipes). It may very well be that lack of compression makes what would be otherwise a sinker into a floater. Do those of your who have tight cannonball floaters use stiff-beaten egg whites, etc?

              2. you are 100% correct. i've tried the same batch test too. you have to be really careful handling the dough as to not compact it too much. otherwise, ugh! i don't know why this used to never happen to me - but alas, at least i have a solution.

                1. I have noticed that they come out harder if you really smoosh them together when you make them into balls, but what seems to affect them more is (1) the amount of time you leave the mix in the frig before cooking and (2) the amount of time you cook them. I find that the longer the mixture sits in the frig and the longer they cook, the lighter and fluffier they are. I leave the mix in the frig for at least 1/2 hour (most recipes say 20 min) and I cook them for at least 45 min.

                  1. Inspired by this thread, I decided last night to try some kneidlech for the chicken soup my mom had brought over. But I was very short on time. I threw together a half-recipe from the matzah meal box and put the bowl in the freezer just long enough to boil the pot of water (10-15 min). I oiled a cookie scoop and used that to lightly and gently scoop the dough into the water and simmered it for about 20 mins.

                    Result: Soft, light, delicious matzah balls in about 45 mins start to finish.