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Spaezle

Has anyone here made fresh spaezle successfully? It seems so simple, flour, eggs. milk, boil for a few minutes, voila!, yet I've made it a few times and it comes out looking and tasting like un-cooked mush. NOTHING like what I had in Germany, and nothing that I would expect anyone to eat. Help!

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  1. Resting the batter for an hour helps the gluten develop. When cooking I use a Spaetzle maker (a metal board with perforations and a fill slide), consistent size of 'sparrows' ensures even cooking. They are done cooking when they float to the top.

    My favorite way of finishing them is to sautée with butter until lightly browned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cshack_21

      the last time I let it sit for about an hour before cooking, then as soon as it hits the water, it floats.

    2. I tend to make my batter a bit stiffer than most recipes call for. I boil it until it floats and then give 1 more minute to make sure the center is well done. Special spaezle makes are fine, but I tend to force it through a slotted spoon if I am only make it for 2-3 people.

      Drain well, and pan fry in melted butter until golden, tossing it with bread crumbs and then garnish w/ parsley.

      1. What recipe are you using? I find that there are huge variations in the ratios of the ingredients in different ones. I've been using the one in the Balthazar cookbook for a couple of years now, and also use a spaetzle maker. As an aside, I was watching Rick Stein make them the other day and he kept calling them "spet-zah-le" - with the emphasis on the "zah" - at first I had no idea what he was making!

        4 Replies
        1. re: MMRuth

          MMRuth, my Grandmothers recipe is;

          2 eggs
          2 Tbl lard, soft butter or oil (she used lard, but they work equally well with unsalted butter)
          1/2 Cup milk
          1/2 Cup water
          2-3/4 Cups AP flour
          1/2 tsp salt
          1/4 tsp baking powder

          bring 1 gallon of water or chicken stock to a boil.

          Mix the eggs, fats, 1/2 C water, and milk, and then stir in the dry ingredients that have been sifted together, until relatively smooth, and set aside for 20 minutes to rest.

          drop the batter in small pieces using a speatzel maker, or a forced though a slotted spoon. They are done when they float to the surface, but I usually let them go for 1 minute longer, just to make sure. remove with a spider and set aside.

          Pan fry the noodles in melted butter and bread crumbs, When they are golden brown, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. They are best served with the pan gravy from saurbraten or paprikash.

          The chicken stock can be strained, cooled/frozen and reused.

          1. re: Kelli2006

            Here are the ingredients in the Balthazar recipe that I've been using for a couple of years now:

            2 cups all purpose flour
            7 large eggs
            1/4 cup whole milk

            Recipe says to combine and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight, and that after you remove it from the fridge it should be the consistency of "thick pancake batter" and to adjust with more milk or flour if necessary.

            I'm assuming that your grandmother made her recipe forever and it was wonderful, and of course I hate to dissent from any grandmother, but my thought is there is too much liquid in her recipe, and if I were you I'd try another one to see if you results that work for you.

            Good luck.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              Do you have any realy good recipes for hungarian goulash ?

              1. re: HansThor

                A slow braise of beef with lots of onion and good quality Hungarian paprika?

          2. I found my Austrian version that works every time.

            4 whole Eggs
            2 egg Yolks
            1 lb. All Purpose Flour
            1 cup Milk
            ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
            ¼ cup Pommery Mustard
            1/8 cup chopped fresh Rosemary
            Salt and freshly ground White Pepper

            Using a mixer fitted with a dough hook work ingredients into a smooth batter. Let rest 1 hour. Prepare boiling salted water with a little oil. Grate spätzle into water using a large holed colander with a pastry card or with a spätzle machine. Remove after floating on the surface and cool under cold running water.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cshack_21

              I"m going to have to try that - thanks - I've never heard of putting mustard in - sounds interesting.

            2. I've been happy with the simple recipe from Joy of Cooking
              1 1/2 c flour
              1/2 c milk or water
              2 eggs
              1/4 t salt
              1/2 t bp (I'm not sure this is needed)
              nutmeg (I don't always use this)

              I don't recall any instructions about letting the batter rest. Texture does vary some with exact proportions of flour and liquid. Obviously they should be done and distinct (no mush), I prefer them on the light side.

              paulj

              1 Reply
              1. re: paulj

                I use this one as well, but I substitute whole wheat flour for all of the white (AP) flour in the recipe and double the nutmeg. The taste is so much better. They do get a bit slimy so you do need to fry them afterwards (in butter, of course!)

              2. This is the recipe I use, from a little German-American cookbook put together by the residents of Manning, Iowa. There's no resting, no weirdness, no drama; and they come out perfect.

                1 1/3 c. flour
                1/2 tsp. salt
                2 eggs
                1/3 c. water

                In medium bowl combine above ingredients well. Press through a coarse colander or spaetzel maker into boiling water or broth.

                Stir and cook 2-3 minutes or until firm. Drain and add 1-2 tbsp. butter if desired.

                They take about as long to cook as it takes to wash the bowl, fork and spaetzel maker (you MUST wash it immediately; trust me on this).

                1. Another way to make a small batch is to let the batter run out of a disposable pastry bag. A lot less mess than using a colander.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: chrissytine

                    Someone in Oklahoma on Diners and Dives made a slightly stiffer dough, rolled it out on a floured board, and cut it into small pieces, which then went into the water. I expect those would firmer than ones I'm used to.
                    paulj

                    1. re: paulj

                      I have tried to do that before, but they come out very dense like a 'sinker' dumpling. I have seen a few folks using variations on pretzle and bagel type doughs with good 'looking' results but I have not tried to replicate them as of yet.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Thats actually a different type of German noodle. Can't remember its name off the top of my head, but they come out looking more like pea pods, having cut rolled dough into crescent slices.

                      2. re: chrissytine

                        It is really hard to keep a consistent small size with the pastry bag... uneven cooking. The same reason I dont use a board and paddle to make them.

                      3. Has anyone made the spaetzle with chestnut flour recipe? It is the the book Simple to Spectacular by Jean Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman. I've always been intrigued by it but haven't tried it.

                        1. I have made this before and used similar recipes shown in this post, but I have a different question for possibly some Pennsylvania Dutch people out there. When I was little my mother used to make a Potato soup (mostly chicken stock, potatoes and cream) with what I grew up calling ribbels or rivels. Does anyone out there have a good recipe for them. They remind me of these Spaetzle but I remember them being a little tougher or have a little bite to them and can not seem to make the right consistency.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: RJJR

                            I recall seeing rivels in a Mennonite cookbook.

                            1. re: RJJR

                              Rivels are something else--just flour and egg with a little salt,. I've never made them but the recipe in my same little German cookbook says to combine a cup of flour and a half teaspoon of salt, then make a well in the center and mix in one egg until you have a coarse and crumbly mixture. Then you rub it between your fingers into a pot of hot soup and cook it for 10 minutes.

                              1. re: revsharkie

                                Thanks Rev, I will have to try that. I seem to remember my mother using her hands as you said. Thanks again.

                            2. My German husband, his mother, and his grandmother do not use a spatzle maker, but rather wet a cutting board, pour the batter on to it, and slice it into the salted water. They are a bit more rustic than ones I've had in American restaurants, but so so so delicious. I'll ask him for his recipe.

                              1. hmm. My recipe works every single time.
                                2 eggs
                                2 T oil
                                1/2 cup water
                                1/2 cup milk
                                2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour - king arthur's
                                2 1/2 tsp salt
                                1/4 tsp baking powder
                                4 qts boiling salted water

                                Let the batter rest 10 mins. and I use a slotted spoon to make them. Drop them into boiling water and take them out as soon as they float. I have never any mushiness.
                                Using a blender, blend eggs,oil, water and milk. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour salt, and baking powder. Blend the dry into the wet ingredients. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
                                Bring 4 Qts of water to a boil, add 2 tsp salt to the water. Using a slotted spoon,squeeze the dough through the holes into boiling water-use about 1/3 of the dough each time. When they float to the surface, they are done.
                                Remove with a slotted spoon and drain them and or blot on a paper. In a saute pan brown butter and parsley toss and coat well heating the dumpling through. Serve with Chicken Paprikash!!

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  I'd love to try this version with my chicken paprikash, but I'm bound by family tradition, as I inherited my wife's grandfather's spaetzle maker. No one in her family dared try to make this after he died, so I'm carrying on the tradition for the family. "Grandpa Joe's" version has way too many eggs IMO, so I might try and sneak this past my wife and see if she notices!

                                  1. re: egbluesuede

                                    Yes I wish I had that little tool lucky you! I just spun around my kitchen and searched til I found the right sized slotted spoon. I even used a colander before, that didn't work as well as the slotted spoon method.
                                    Put a lump of dough in the spoon, take another spoon without holes and push through letting the dough drop into the boiling salted water, then watch them float to the top, remove and drain.

                                  2. re: chef chicklet

                                    I can't vouch for "every single time" but your recipe worked last night. I haven't had spatzle since I was a very little girl, and I've never cooked them, but the buttery little things were great with Chicken Paprikash. They are perfect for hanging onto rich juicy sauces. I have to admit the SO was a little apprehensive when he found me mushing gluey batter through a slotted spoon (he'd never even heard of spatzle, or chicken paprikash), but he cleaned both his plate and mine.

                                    I used my kitchenaid rather than a blender. I also ended up making two batches out of the same dough about an hour apart, and the second batch was still good, so clearly this batter/dough will hold for a good long while if needed. And I get the impression that the saute with butter is absolutely essential. Before that they are really boring little dough nuggets, but after they are buttery and have the occasionally cripsy edge that just makes it scrumptious.

                                    Since this recipe made way more than the two of us could eat in one night...what is the best way to reheat spatzle? And what about freezing it? Before or after the saute?

                                    1. re: wawajb

                                      Good job! Do you have a photo?
                                      Glad it worked for you. I think they are so delicious done this way.
                                      Essential to sautee, no, but to me it taste so much better that tossing it or not and then serving it plain. I love the saute, and then fresh parsley too. or chives as someone else said..
                                      So the spaezle is cooked but not yet pan sauteed? If yes, thaw it gently and I can't underscore this but please, drain them well, pat dry barely, and toss as previously directed.
                                      Freezing it. I have usually had only a small portion left, yes it freezes fine. Just like any other pasta. Freeze it prior or not. It is the draining that is to be concerned with. It is not as sturdy as packaged dry pasta, that's all.
                                      And I would have no problems using my food processor to make the dough. Had I thought of it!

                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                        The batch I made last night is cooked, sauteed and sitting in the fridge, probably going to get eaten tonight. (It's leftover night!) So I guess I was actually asking two questions:
                                        1. Cold leftovers...how would you reheat? Zap them in the microwave or toss them into a saute pan till heated through?

                                        2. Making a giant batch and freezing for later use - at what stage would you freeze? Your answer is: Doesn't matter as long as I dry them off well when I thaw?

                                        That might sound like a silly question since it doesn't take that long to make, but SO and I both work till at least 5:00 and get home very hungry, so resting the dough and multiple cooking steps is usually more than I'm up for on a weeknight. Pre-making and freezing also sounds very attractive since so many spaetzle-friendly dishes are also perfect candidates for crockpot cooking.

                                        And sorry...no photo. I can't say it would have been very pretty anyway. All shades of yellow and brown dinner on my chipped purple hand-me-down plates. Ick.

                                        1. re: wawajb

                                          1. cold left spaezle, you can mw or toss them either way will work. If you've already sauteed them no need to do that again.

                                          2. Stage to freeze. Cook and either way. boil up and drain, or sautee with butter, then freeze in a good snap top container. You are correct, doesn't matter.
                                          These are not silly questions! For good results, not mushy, just remember to pull them out when they float- al dente handle / handle like any fresh pasta. Quick cook and get all the water off.
                                          This is really a good meal for freezing and eating later. In fact I am doing this dish for my youngest son who is so busy going to academy and then studies at night, and weekends. He has no time to cook, and asked for my meals frozen so he can zap later..
                                          You are right, spaezle goes well with almost any saucy crockpot meal, Theres another dish I make that is like a rolled roast (not my favorite cut) but I crockpot it, with carrots, onions and other. It could very well be a German dish, it calls for vinegar..I don't even remember where that recipe came from, but the roast is excellent with the spaezel. I prefer these to wide egg noodles/ which you could make those as well.
                                          Gee no worries about the dishes, a little well placed parsley.. besides I'm wanting to see your spaezle!!

                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            Ok...picture here, of extreme close-up spaezle in tupperware container. (the extreme close-up is to hide my messy messy kitchen. My kitchen sink is out of action, and the dirty dishes are numerous) You can see that I got a little enthusiastic with the sauteeing, but I like crispy bits, so I thought it was perfect. The green bits are dill, which I added rather than parsley because it seemed like a good idea. (it was btw)

                                             
                                            1. re: wawajb

                                              yum, yours looks pretty darn good! yes yours is a bit browner than the way I make it. I usually saute for a few minutes tossing with butter and the parsley. The dill... hmmm. Wow that's a really nice idea. I make these Danish Meatballs during the holiday season, and your new idea would make that dish very nice. Glad you liked it!

                                              1. re: wawajb

                                                doesn't it make you want to make your own pasta, I know every time I make spaezle I always say I'm going to make it.

                                                1. re: wawajb

                                                  Absolutely beautiful! I'm inspired to give this a try.

                                          2. re: wawajb

                                            The saute isn't absolutely needed either with fresh or reheated, especially when served with a saucy dish like paprikash. In my experience they store and reheat well, either in the fridge or freezer, without any special handling.
                                            paulj

                                        2. This recipe is from our wonderful host (of Swiss descent) at a B&B in New Zealand. I've found it very easy to work with and it has always made wonderful spaetzle. The spinach is optional, though if you leave it out, you may need to up the water content. The layering with cheese and baking is also optional. I like the spaetzle just fine as is, or fried in some brown butter. The recipe can be easily reduced by a third.

                                          3 c. flour
                                          3 eggs
                                          1.5 c. water (approx.)
                                          250 grams blanched, finely chopped spinach (or parsley, chives, etc.)
                                          1 teaspoon salt

                                          Beat everything very well to a smooth, sticky batter.
                                          Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and rub the batter through the spaetzle “grater” into the boiling water. Cook till they rise to the top, scoop out with a large sieve and layer with grated cheese in a buttered gratin dish. Repeat for the rest of the batter.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                            mmmmmmm nice touch adding the spinach or chives. Gotta try this recipe!

                                          2. Weren't spaezle part of Chef Symon's winning entries on episode 4 of Next Iron Chef?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Here is how we do it, taught by my late aunt.

                                              We start with 1 cup of water less an egg. In other words break an egg into a measuring cup and add water to the one cup mark.

                                              Add about a teaspoon of salt and mix thoroughly in a suitable mixing bowl. Slowly add about a cup of flour, mixing all the time with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture is about the consistency of plaster. It should be thick enough to just barely flow off a tablespoon without sticking to it.

                                              The consitency is everything. At first, you may want to experiment by dropping a tablespoon of batter into hot, boiling water adjusting the batter with more flour or water until you get the finish that pleases you.

                                              We use a flat paddle or board, scraping off dollops with a knife or spoon. We like a walnut sized dumpling to prong and pick up the sauces.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: DockPotato

                                                I did this last night, mainly due to your recipe being the smallest yield of the recipes here, and it turned out great. I had to add a little more flour than 1 cup, though. :)

                                                Very nice and light and easy, especially with a brown butter sauce.

                                              2. I had never made Spatzle before but I saw a photo on the right side of the Chow page one day that looked delicious -- for this Herbed Spatzle recipe (http://www.chow.com/recipes/10711). I don't have a special maker and just used a colander, then boiled, and then sauteed in butter. They came out really good.

                                                1. My mother taught me how to make spaetzle using a wooden spaetzle board. The proportions she uses are:

                                                  1 cup flour
                                                  1 egg
                                                  1/3 cup water
                                                  1 tsp salt

                                                  This is a recipe I got from my mother for soup with spaetzle. Everyone I've made it for has loved it.

                                                  Kartoffel schnitz und spaetzle
                                                  Cut up potatoes and cook in salted water until tender. When the potatoes are done make the spaetzle in the same water with the potatoes. Meanwhile, brown butter until its very dark but not burnt. Pour the butter into the soup (don't stand too close) and serve.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: awhip

                                                    This is pretty much my recipe (learned while living in Germany) .. literally translated (switching grams into volume measures) the recipe was 1 cup flour to 1 egg, add some salt and water until slimy. It seems vague, but you can tell every time. the second the dough starts to get shiny, its time to be done.

                                                    I've also found that if you do overwater, the noodles come out longer and thinner, but if you boil them long enough they stay firm. Only time they'ved mushed is from undercooking.

                                                  2. Hi Fromageball. I reside 5 years now in Switzerland where there exists also a Spaezle tradition. What one uses here to make them at home is a pretty fine semolina and not plain flour. Following the recipe on the package I get a pretty gooey mess which I push through a potato ricer with the wider spaced hole attachment into boiling water. This results in better spaezle than the ready made ones sold by supermarket chains here which seem to be the standard for busy housewives here in Switzerland. I can furnish the recipe if necessary, but there are quite a few already..

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Simeon

                                                      I've looked at the boxes of imported dried spaezle that groceries in the USA carry. I think the cooking time is something like 20 minutes. That's longer than it takes for me to make them from scratch, including cleanup. Do the Swiss stores sell a fresh refrigerated version?
                                                      paulj

                                                      1. My favorite recipe to use Spätzle for is a very rustic Germany one... Käsespätzle ..

                                                        Porportions are completely based on preference.
                                                        Take Speck.. or the fattiest bacon you can find, salted not smoked.. fry up until nice and crispy/chewy
                                                        Add some butter so there is plenty of fat at the bottom of the pan
                                                        fry onions in with the bacon until they are translucent.
                                                        Add spatzle ..toss a few times with the fat, bacon and onions to distribute
                                                        add about 2/3 of your fresh young gouda (I use LOTS)
                                                        mix again, distributing cheese throughout ... add last 1/3 cheese over top
                                                        cook over medium heat until bubbly.. if you like crispy cheese, throw it under a broiler for a few minutes to crisp the top.

                                                        1. My latest attempt was a mixed result, some well formed, some mushy. I suspect the problem was that I added batter to the water too fast. The initial drops hit boiling water, and started to cook right away. Later ones dropped into cooler water, or directly onto the earlier drops. I think I need to use a wider pot (such as 10" dutch oven) to have more boiling water surface area, and take my time at passing the batter through the maker.

                                                          paulj

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            And I found out (the hard way) that if I put too much batter during one cooking, it cooled the water down and they became crowded. I also used different techniques, that meaning a colander and different spoons.
                                                            It takes practice, I think its pretty close to making a good gnocchi.

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              I tried a version of your recipe this week and it was delicious, thank you.
                                                              We subbed in some whole wheat flour and chopped sage, they were a hit and are now expected once a week.
                                                              They got the pan fried treatment as well, and went great with some brined, double-cut pork chops off the grill.
                                                              I was impressed with the amount of salt in your recipe, and may back off a little next time I make them, although I suspect the salt contributes to their lightness somehow. Thanks again!

                                                              1. re: rabaja

                                                                The last couple of times I let the batter sit for half a hour or so. I haven't seen that it recipes, but it seems to help produce the right texture. That and using a wide enough pot of water so they aren't crowded.
                                                                paulj