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Jul 14, 2010 08:56 AM

Flour to egg ratio for spaetzle

I have seen recipes with basically two variations for spaetzle. One is a 1:1 cups of flour to egg ratio, with water added, and the other is a 1:2 ratio (1 cup of flour to 2 eggs), with no water added. I know I can try both and see which I like better, but if anyone has already done both, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

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  1. I've tried a lot of recipes, and this has become my go-to for a spaetzle base. Perfect consistency, and I love the nutmeg:

    1. The 1:2 flour to egg ratio will give you a firmer spaetzle, not a bad thing at all. I prefer the slightly chewier result of the extra egg (not undercooked, but firmer.) I add milk or broth to my spaetzle, along with the flour/egg. katecm's recipe from Tyler Florence, posted below, sounds just fine.

      Here's an epicurious recipe for a fresh herb spaetzle served with a light mushroom broth, just to push the envelope a bit:

      1 Reply
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        My husband makes a parsley spaetzle with black pepper that is delicious.

      2. I normally use the proportions from Joy of Cooking
        1 1/2 c flour
        2 eggs
        1/2 water

        I used to worry about over mixing; but since I realized that I prefer firm spaetlze I'm not afraid to develop the gluten, so mix it well. I haven't played with the egg to flour ratio, but do pay attention to the batter consistency. A stiffer, dryer batter is harder to force through the holes, and makes firmer spaetlze; conversely for a wetter batter. Shape also differs, the firm ones being more rounded.

        1 Reply
        1. I make egg noodle doughs often (same dough, though usually used for other shapes than Spätzle) and I'm kind of surprised to see discussion based on fixed ratios of flour and eggs. In my experience (and the advice of all the cookbooks I can recall that deal with fresh pasta or Knödel) it must be judged as you go. Eggs after all vary considerably in volume, and flours (even by batch) vary in behavior. I observe -- like many recipes I've seen -- I usually end up consuming something like 3/4 cup flour per egg (or equivalent water volume).

          But the objective is a dough of the right consistency, even if that means adjusting the flour content.

          I first mix up the eggs (and/or water -- at this point you can add half water if you like -- the result is a little stiffer and less rich), beat in flour until the dough pulls away from the bowl, then dump the bowl contents out on a surface (like waxed paper) with more flour on it, then knead and stretch the dough over the sruface of loose flour until it's absorbed enough to be easy to handle. The _kneading_ can be by hand or with the rollers of an Atlas pasta roller-cutter machine. Even if I don't end up using the machine to shape noodles, rollers efficiently knead blobs of dough (I cover the dough with flour if still sticky, so it doesn't stick to the rollers) because it's geared down, so the machine will squeeze and elongate even the toughest doughs, for example when working the dough has made it temporarily stiff. Alternatively, a few minutes' resting will soften it back up for purely hand-kneading.

          4 Replies
          1. re: eatzalot

            The dough that most of us are talking about is a wetter one. It isn't rolled or kneaded. Instead it is forced through holes in colander (about 1/4" in diameter) directly into boiling water. There are other ways of breaking the dough into small bits, but commercial spaetzle makers are all variations on the holes in colander theme.

            1. re: paulj

              Yes, I understand -- I've made Spätzle (as well as other European specialties that are variations of them but rarely seen in US). Please don't be distracted from my central point, from experience, which applies to any dough:

              You adjust the exact ingredient amounts to get the consistency you want -- rather than using fixed ingredient amounts and getting variable results.

              This is particularly important when using eggs, which can vary more than 2:1 in content volume and routinely vary 1.5:1 among the most commonly sold sizes in US markets. If you are getting consistent results with a fixed formula, it's because you happen to be using a very consistent egg size and flour type. A reader of recipes here may not have the same kind of "egg," or flour of the same gluten content.

            2. re: eatzalot

              I assume by your dough making description that you're not making spaetzle? ;)

              It goes without saying that the formula used for spaetzle batter may need adjustment of more or less liquid, but I generally find that, for small batches, a fixed ratio of 2 eggs to 1 cup flour and a bit of liquid to adjust the batter thickness works to my liking. I use the liquid to adjust the batter, not the flour or eggs, as with an egg based pasta dough. As for egg size and content variation, I find weighing the eggs to be a reasonable answer for baking, but it doesn't seem to matter much with spaetzle batter; it's quite forgiving.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I agree, tweaking the amount of added water is the way to go.

                My last batch felt a little too wet so I stirred in some extra flour. But judging from the effort needed to press it through the holes, I think I got it too stiff.

                Assuming an egg is about 1/4c; my 2 eggs plus 1/2 c water amounts to 1c liquid for 1 1/2c of flour.

            3. Thanks for all of your responses! I went half-way and used the Joy of Cooking ratio that one poster suggested: 1.5 cups flour to 2 eggs and some water. I added salt, pepper, and parsley, and it turned out great!