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Spaetzle [moved from Boston board]

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Any ideas where I can get spaetzle in the Medford area for an Oktoberfest dinner?

[NOTE: Since this discussion turned into a very informative discussion on how to make your own spaetzle, we've moved it from the Boston board to the Home Cooking board, where more hounds can participate and benefit from the discussion -- THE CHOWHOUND TEAM]

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  1. If you're looking for something in a box as opposed to fresh, Karl's Sausage Kitchen has it. I haven't seen it fresh at retail, though making it is very similar to making a hand-rolled fresh pasta. My favorite restaurant version is done at Jasmine Bistro in Brighton: maybe their kitchen would sell you some?

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. Hungarian-style spaetze is made by literally letting a very wet dough drip into your soup or stew. I can't imagine how one could pre-make nice soft absorbant spaetzle. Happily the recipe is very easy and unfussy to make.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PinchOfSalt

        I'll speculate that Jasmine doesn't use that method, as its spaetzle forms a bed under its paprikashes and gulyáses isn't incorporated into the stews.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          For chicken paprikash you drip the dough into boiling salted water and briefly drain before plating under the chicken. For beef goulash I can show you a George Lang recipe that calls for dropping the dough directly into the soup/stew. However no doubt some make them separately, as for the chicken paprika. In either case the main point is that these noodles are made fresh. They are more like mini-dumplings than the kind of pasta that can be dried and then reconstituted. Unlike gnocchi, they are very tender and exceedingly soft.

      2. I've seen the boxed variety in some Stop and Shops, I'm pretty sure. If you have a potato ricer, it's not that difficult to make your own, the recipes tend to be pretty simple. You can also flavor them up with almost anything, I used powderized dried chanterelles and black trumpets once.

        1. I definitely agree with other posters that you will end up with a far better product if you make your own. Nothing could be easier. For roughly four portions, I mix 2 c. flour, 3/4 c. milk, 1 t. salt and 2 eggs and then pour it onto a cutting board. Like PinchOfSalt suggests, I just scrape small portions into boiling water with an icing spatula. I haven't had many better renditions than that (which is originally from Betty Crocker).

          1. Always make my own, and use grandma's ancient spaetzle board to "cut" the noodles into boiling water. The (German) version I grew up with has a stiffer dough than the Hungarian I guess, so could not simply be dropped in. They're not so tough to make, and once going it's easy to make a large quantity to feed a crowd. I have never tried the boxed variety....not tempted to either.

            18 Replies
            1. re: Zatan

              Also, if you need to make them ahead of time for a party, you can just follow Zatan's instructions or mine, and then heat them up in a skillet with butter and herbs when you get there. They will get a nice crispy texture which makes them even better.

              1. re: hckybg

                Alright, that does it, you trouble makers have inspired me. I LOVE spaetzle, but have never made them myself. I will have to give it a whirl now. I always wondered how to drip them in correctly, but the suggestion of scraping it off a cutting board would do the trick.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Well you could also spend $$$ and get a special spaetzle grater thingy at Sur la Table or William Sonoma.... it looks sort of like a coarse grater with a little hopper that you slide back and forth across the holes. Sometimes I just use two spoons (one to pick up the dough, the other to push it over the edge of the first spoon. If you are working with very wet Hungarian dough (thank you Nana!) I have had good luck and fun using a big old-fashioned slotted spoon. You load the dough onto the spoon and scrape it off the bottom as it sort of drips through.

                  BTW, today is PERFECT spaetzle weather.... sort of cool and damp...

                  1. re: PinchOfSalt

                    I am a strongly partisan scraper (or the spoon method sounds good too) because it gives you unpredictable textures and if the dough is the right consistency you get nice, long strands and also shorter clumps. You can add a little flour if the dough is too wet or a little extra milk if the dough is too dry. Then add lots of butter and salt when it's done--that's all you need! God gave you the best spaetzle maker at the end of your arms. I have never favored the gadgets you can buy.

                    1. re: PinchOfSalt

                      one of my favorite aspects of the cut speatzle is the irregularity of the shapes and sizes that come out....that may be partly due to the fact that I don't make them often and am not a pro, but still love it, some are thin and delicate, others thicker with a good chew to them. And yes, make enough for leftovers and fry them up the next day! Butter, herbs, cheese, yum.

                      By the way, my family always eats these accompanied by roladen, beef rolled around pickle, onion, smoky bacon, and mustard. A little coffee into the gravy.

                      Thje topic is straying, I know.....I am surely hungry for this now.

                      1. re: Zatan

                        You guys are killing me here, I haven't had roladen in years...

                        As any of you who know me can imagine, you would have to put a gun to my head to get me to go into Sur La Table or William's Enema. (Though I am more an enemy of the latter.) I just feel like both are way more about decor then actually cooking a darned thing.

                        I am sure they both have gorgeous spaetzle makers for $89 or something silly like that...

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          My mom had a set of little wire clamps for roladen, of which I have a solitary one remaining. I'll have to figure out another method to secure them, but I haven't had roladen in years and now I yearn for some!

                          I will vouch for the spaetzle maker with a hopper that rolls back and forth over a grater (which does work best with a wetter dough - I always find myself making the dough per recipe and then thinning it drastically so it will go through the machine.) In my hands, at least, it certainly does give the requisite irregular results.

                          My mom learned to make spaetzle in Germany, when she lived there as an Army wife in the 50s. Her landlady and mentor, Frau Knauber, dubbed her spaetzle "Spatzen" ("sparrows" vs. "little sparrows") because she never did get the knack of cutting proper small ones with a knife. She did fine with a machine, though!

                          In answer to the OP, by the way, you can sometimes find Knorr dried spaetzle in the local supermarkets.

                          1. re: Allstonian

                            The roladen I have had were always tied with butcher's string.

                        2. re: Zatan

                          Ach! I can almost hear my German and Hungarian ancestors calling to me... make the spaetzle... make some nice pot roast... it is so cool and damp... forget the chicken marinating in your refrigerator... make some nice pot roast....

                          This thread is such a tease.

                          1. re: PinchOfSalt

                            LOL. Mine are Poles and Romanians...

                          2. re: Zatan

                            I have one of those hopper things - and they are v. cheap - and I still get irregular shapes and sizes. I haven't tried the board method, but will give it a go this winter.

                          3. re: PinchOfSalt

                            How about dripping/pressing it through a colander? I have yet to try it but the holes are close to the size of those on a spaetzle grater.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              Those holes are WAY too small.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                I've useda colander before, now I use this wide flattish skimmer-like spoon thing. The holes are the perfect size; The nice thing about spaetzle, you can cook it and then put it in gallon or quart size ziploc bags, then warm and butter it up. Just using the batter messy as all heck.

                                I'd make it for certain over any premade, packaged product.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  I press the dough though a large slotted spoon. I have a special spaetzle maker but its a PITA to clean, so it doesn't get used very often.

                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...
                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...
                                    This is the spoon, such a gloppy mess, but how wonderful. I like them just warmed with butter with fresh parsely, or browned in butter, either way they are delicous. Perfect with Chicken Paprikash. I sure wish the weather would chill out!

                            2. re: hckybg

                              You're so right. Sauteed in a bit of butter, they get crispy and are divine. My hungarian mother would put the dough on a plate, scraping off chunks into the boiling water with a knife. Important help: every once in a while, dip the knife in the boiling water , it helps , don't know why. Fast and easy. Trying to get it thru a colander is a pain, I tried that once, never again.

                            3. re: Zatan

                              I bought a spaetzle-maker at China Fair in Porter for about $5. I also think a coarse flat cheese grater would work well with the sharp side pointing down. Easy as can be and delicious.

                              Check the home-cooking board for suggestions, but I recommend a recipe that has a high proportion of eggs to the flour. You can also saute the spaetzle in butter until very lightly browned. Make more than you think you'll want because they are addictive.

                            4. thanks everyone. I had no idea that my query would get such a rersponse! I will definitely go with making my own and think I will use the colander method idea. Seems to work well.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: wamcadoo

                                The holes on a colander are WAY too small.

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  Striper and I are apparently of one mind, but I too think that the cutting board method will be vastly easier, especially if it's your first time trying.

                                  1. re: hckybg

                                    I saw a technique on some cooking show that works pretty well. Get one of those foil pie plates and poke holes in it with a chopstick, from the inside of the pan to the underside. (The ragged edges won't interfere because they'll be underneath). Put the pan over a pot with boiling salted water. Pour the batter in, and press it through the holes, in a back and forth fashion, with a pastry scraper. You haven't lost much, if you don't like the results, and it worked to my satisfaction.

                                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                                      Great idea! Maybe even better than the spaetzle maker, which works pretty well.

                                      1. re: Pat Hammond

                                        I like it, I like it.

                                        1. re: Pat Hammond

                                          Fantastic idea! I'm envisioning treaking it a bit, to either punch the holes all on one half of the pan, or along the perimeter, so as to be able to put a dollop of the loose dough onto an unperforated area, then with the scraper moving it over to where the holes are, to better control the rate at which it drops through.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            I'll try that with my next foil pan. Excellent idea.

                                          2. re: Pat Hammond

                                            Oooh great tip, Pat! This is sure spaetzle weather.

                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              It does work well and I've used my pie pan several times, and it was free! To the embarrassment of my kids, I almost always tuck wooden chopsticks in my purse after eating out. The size is just the tiniest bit graduated, so the deeper you push it through, the larger the hole. However, I'm refusing to believe it's spaetzel weather just yet!

                                    2. I bought a gadget in Hungary for spaetzle/galuska, and it works beautifully. It looks like a grater with fairly large holes and a hopper on top for the dough. You put the device over your pot of simmering water, put the dough in the hopper, then slide the hopper back and forth letting the noodle bits drop into the water. Easy, yummy! It's like this:

                                      http://www.amazon.com/HIC-1618-Harold...

                                      You'll see that there are several other variants available as well, some probably better made, with metal hoppers instead of plastic. I have to say, that Norpro is kind of calling to me.

                                      http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Spaetzle...

                                      The only trick is that the dough has to be soft enough that it will ooze through the holes. Here's the recipe I use. It's a very soft, almost sticky dough, but makes really light and yummy spaetzle:

                                      1 1/3 c flour
                                      3/4 tsp salt
                                      2 lg eggs, beaten
                                      1/2 c warm milk

                                      Combine flour & salt. Blend in eggs & milk. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. Bring salted water to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Put dough through spaetzle maker into simmering water. Simmer about 5 minutes. Drain well, then toss gently with butter.

                                      Now I'm hungry for spaetzle!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                        Actually I have that contraption too but somehow I don't like it as much because they came out so small. Maybe moved the top piece back and forth too fast. I use the board and knife method more often.

                                        My grandmother had something that looked like this though she always complained that it was very inconvenient and difficult to press. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I...

                                        Spaetzle is the best and easiest thing to whip up, especially for one person! I will try your recipe btw.

                                        1. re: BamiaWruz

                                          It's true, you have to get the speed right, not too fast, not too slow, and it will depend on how soft your dough is too.

                                          What I like about this gadget is that it cuts the spaetzle off as they form. The one you linked to, I would think you'd have to cut them with a knife with one hand while squeezing with the other. Inconvenient indeed.

                                          Hope you like my version. It is, as I say, a very soft and sticky dough, but I love the results. Definitely best with the spaetzle device though, because it would be a mess trying to cut on a cutting board.

                                      2. Oh, I *love* spaetzle. I think I ate it every day when we were in Germany and Austria, and it's a favorite thing to make, especially in the fall and winter. I never bothered buying a spaetzle gadget, and instead use a spoon with holes and a spatula, as shown here:

                                        http://recipes.suite101.com/article.c...

                                        I might have to make some tonight, even though we still have temperatures over 100 here in Arizona. ;-

                                        )

                                        It's a really fun and easy thing to make with kids, too. My five year old loves to help.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: modthyrth

                                          What a great idea!! I'll see if I can find something similar to that spoon on clearance.

                                        2. Okay, thanks to this thread I just lost my spaetzle virginity. Used this recipe which was posted below: http://recipes.suite101.com/article.c...

                                          Browned in butter and added sauteed onions at the end. They rocked. Next time I make goulash no noodles for me.

                                          Yum, yum, yum, yum.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            Which technique did you use to form the spaetzle?

                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              I'm a bit of a curmudgeon. The less complicated the better.

                                              I just ladled the batter onto a cutting board, and I have a nice long skinny cake icing spatula. I just scraped ribbons of batter off the cutting board into the boiling water. Worked great.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                Yes, this is the also traditional bavarian mom way of doing it! Straight from the cutting board... Even a large knife works well, dipped in the boiling water with each rapid "scraping" motion. I used to have a "hopper" but it was a pain to clean, and it sat around taking up space, so I exclusively use the knife now.

                                                Another advantage to making it at home is you can add finely chopped herbs, to make it slightly green-- "Tirolean style". I use mostly parsley, with a little dill and/or nutmeg if it's for buttered or cheese spaetzle.

                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  You make me so proud. You used my technique, which is actually my Dad's technique, which somehow he learned...