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best utensil for making spaetzle

Years ago, my mom used an aluminum cookie press to make what she called egg drops, just basically an egg noodle made from eggs and flour with perhaps a little salt - very much like what the Germans call spaetzle, and akin to a dumpling. We ate these in various soups. I used a press like my mom's, until it was ruined. Now, I'm wondering what chowhounders think is the best utensil for this job. I've heard some people use food mills. Thanks in advance for your ideas.

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  1. I spent a year in germany and they all used a ricer to make it. in professional restaurants we use a perforated hotel pan and push/scrape the dought through with a rubber spatula directly into the boilig water

    1. I haven't made it in a while, but I think we pushed it through the holes of a collander...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Procrastibaker

        I actually made spaetzle this morning and the collaner method was in the recipe. I tried it... and it was a complete disaster, it just would not go through the holes. I got so frustrated, I wound up forming it by hand. Needless to say, it made for some ugly noodles! Are there any tricks to making sure the collander method works?

        1. re: AmblerGirl

          People always talk about "hotel pans" and cool-- your collandar but the reality is they are horrible, horrible devices with which to make spaetzle. Sur la table sells a small plastic device that is really worth it. Other places to-- fairly cheap and plastic-y and works like a dream. Packaging is in German.

          1. re: JudiAU

            Actually, I think the perforated hotel pan is the best choice for making spaetzle. I have used it all of my career at Rubicon, Jardiniere, Blackbird and Daniel. Certainly does not produce a horrible product. I have used a spaetzle maker and they are ok. Realistically, though, not many home kitchens have a perforated hotel pan. So, for home cooking the best option is the spaetzle maker. Affordable and it makes satisfactory spaetzle, even if it will only be used once in a while.

            1. re: peepswang

              Actually I said horrible device not horrible product. I was refering to making spaeztle in a home kitchen with a colander which is a miserable process. I doubt most people have perforated hotel pan at home.

              The lovely dumplings I've eaten at restaurants were probably all made by experienced chef using hotel pans in restaurants. You are welcome to come over and make us spaezle in a collander an ytime.

            2. re: JudiAU

              I'm not sure why the collander method didn't work with your recipe. It has been quite a while since I've made spaetzle, but I do know that the batter went through just fine. If I remember which recipe I used, I'll let you know. Maybe the holes in your collander are particularly small? Mine is a cheap plastic one with relatively large holes.

        2. My mother taught me to make spaetzle with the largest opening of a rough shredder and the back of a large serving spoon. I have also used a serving spoon to force small bits of the dough through a large slotted spoon.
          You can buy a special spaetzle maker, but I don't make it that often and in large enough quantities to make it worthwhile.

          1. I have a spaetzle maker - a little bin that slides back and forth above a holed cheese-grater looking thing. I have never used it though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Snackish

              I have one too. It was cheap and it works pretty well. At first I thought the small size of that little sliding hopper would be a disadvantage but, in fact, it gives me more control.

              I have used my ricer too and it also does a good job. In fact, I use my ricer for mashing potatoes, making spaetzle and as a food mill. Best $12 gadget I've got!

            2. A swiss chef, Max Suhner, taught me to make spaetzle the way his grandmother did. A smallish glob of the “dough” on a wooden cutting board, cut off with a long knife directly into the water. Getting the size right takes some practice...my early ones looked like giant garden slugs.