Matzo Ball Soup Fine Tuning
So we made a Matzo ball soup following the package instructions (the mainstream brand) with some changes:
> Used Chicken Broth instead of Water
> Used Half the Liquid
> Doubled the amount of Vegetables
> Halved the size of each Matzo ball
It tasted fantastic... the problem was that half the balls were extremely dense. Is it possible to make a soup that is heartier with more vegetables, and far more flavor than any restaurant version I've had... but still deliver fluffy Matzo balls?
Did you refrigerate the MB mix long enough (at least 20 minutes, but I often do it overnight)? Was the water (or soup if you cook it directly in the soup, but I don't and never have...) boiling when you put the MB in? How long did you cook the MBs? Those would be the major things that I can think of that might make the difference between fluffy and not...
I've found the key to fluffy matzo balls is to handle the raw batter as little and as lightly as possible when forming it into balls. The amount of soup you cook them in doesn't really matter, so use more chicken broth, and have more soup! They need to cook (covered, and don't lift the lid until they're done) for at least 20 minutes in actively simmering soup. Also, fresh dill and parsley in the soup are mandatory.
So here's the thing. I always make the matzoh balls smaller too - that's fine. BUT I cook them for at least 10 to 15 mintues longer than it says on the packet. If the packet says 30 minutes, I'll cook for 40 to 45. DO.NOT.LIFT.THE.LID. Serious. This really makes a difference. The longer cooking time, in my opinion, is absolutely mandatory. And the no peeking.
I find that if you cook too many matzoh balls at one time they don't cook evenly. better to keep some of the batter refrigerated than to cook too many in the pot. They really have to be able to absorb liquid from the pot and move around. Also, I whip my egg whites separately then fold in. I do not cook in anything more elaborate than very well salted water but I do add finely chopped parsley and dill to the actual matzoh balls. I find the box recipe doesn't work that well - there are better ones out there. But that is just me!
I've always been told, by my family, that it's critical to cook the matzo ball in salted water (NOT broth), then transfer to the soup. I have no evidence that this is critical, but my family thinks it is, so that's how i do it.