Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Semmelknödel (Bavarian Bread Dumplings)

Let me preface this post by telling you that I'm not an expert on German Dumplings. In fact, I have had a love/hate relationship with them my whole life. As a kid I grew up with a few different versions of dumplings or "Klösse" as we like to call them. I love Semmelknödel, which are made out of stale bread and what this post is about, but hated every time my mom or dad would make the traditional ones that are made with potatoes. Something about the texture and taste used to throw me off and I would spend quite a few Sunday dinners eating a piece of bread alongside my roast while the rest of the family would enjoy their dumplings. These days I will eat them if I visit my mom, but it is nothing I go out of my way to fix myself unless my husband requests them. He seems to be going back and forth between the potato kind and the bread kind and this year he thankfully chose the latter which I enjoy eating.

Semmelknödel, or bread dumplings are served throughout Bavaria in most restaurants. It is a great way to use up stale Semmeln or Brötchen which are similar to Kaiser Rolls here in America and they make for a pretty economic meal this way. My favorite part about these dumplings growing up was the second day, when my mom would use the leftovers, cut them up and fried them in a pan until both sides were nice and crispy. We were always looking forward to that.
Cooking dumplings is actually quite an art and I'll be the first to admit that because of cooking them so infrequently, I'm not as good at making them as my mom or grandpa are. Forming them properly so they keep their shape and being able to cook them is a little harder then you might think. The salt water to cook the formed dumplings in has to be just perfect. It has to be hot enough to cook them through, but it also can't boil or they will disintegrate, the water needs to be right around the simmer point and stay there with a consistent heat.

Since I can't get my hands on great rolls here, I started using a french baguette when I make these dumplings at home. The texture comes pretty close to a traditional German Brötchen and after sitting on the counter for about a day prior, the bread is perfect. The baguette is sliced thinly and soaked in lukewarm milk and some salt for about 30 minutes which will help soften the bread. Meanwhile, onion and fresh parsley are sauteed in a bit of butter. After the bread is nice and soft the sauteed veggies are added to the bread bowl along with seasonings, eggs and flour. Everything is mixed well together (clean hands are your best tool for this) and the "dough" is set aside to rest for another 20 minutes. With wet hands round dumplings the size of a baseball are formed and carefully placed in hot salted water which is where they will cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. The easiest way to test for doneness is to take one out and cut it in half to make sure the inside is cooked thoroughly. Once cooked, they are removed with a slotted spoon and served immediately. 

My Semmelknödel might not be the prettiest and they pale in comparison to the way my mom's look, but they are darn tasty and are the perfect side dish for any kind of roast with gravy like my German Sauerbraten. I hope I have intrigued you enough to give another German classic a try and you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Semmelknödel (Bavarian Bread Dumplings)
 ~makes 6 dumplings~
 (Print this Recipe)

1 french Baguette (about 10 oz./300 g), cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons onion, minced
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
2 - 4 tablespoons flour

Cut baguette into slices. Place the slices in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and pour lukewarm milk evenly over the bread. Cover bowl and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile melt butter in a small pan, add onion and parsley and saute for about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

After 30 minutes add the sauteed onion and parsley to your soaked bread along with another 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add in the eggs and 2 tablespoons flour. Mix until well combined. If the dough appears really wet at this point add another tablespoon or two of flour.

Cover bowl again and let rest for another 20 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add about 2 teaspoons of salt. Reduce the heat of the water so it is simmering, but not boiling. With wet hands start forming your dumplings (baseball sized) and carefully place them into the water. After all your dumplings are formed, you might have to bring the water temperature up temporarily, but make sure it won't boil or your dumplings will fall apart. Add the lid to your pot, but keep the lid cracked.  After about 20 minutes the dumplings should be cooked. Remove one and check for doneness. If the inside is still a little "gooey" return the dumpling and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove all dumplings with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.

A Susi's Kochen und Backen family recipe


  1. I have never eaten anything like this. Since my imagination won't even give me a clue as to the taste and texture of eating one of these, I'm going to have to try them. I am intrigued, indeed. They sure look inviting!

  2. This sounds so amazing! I love the nutmeg, and they sound like a bit of a challenge to make! Great job!

  3. Hi Susi, I left a longer comment on your sauerbraten recipe, I'm so in love with these recipes, thanks you for sharing;-)

  4. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,


  5. I am so excited to try this entire meal...can't wait to see the cabbage recipe, too.

  6. Ich bin auch kein grosser Knoedel Fan. Bei uns gab's die auch nur ganz selten daheim. Inzwischen esse ich sie, aber meist nur zu Besuch in D bei meiner Tante oder im Restaurant mit Gans und Rotkraut.
    Hut ab, dass Du die selbst machst. Ich finde Deine Knoedel sehen super aus!

  7. My husband's mother made wonderful dumplings but hers never looked a pretty as yours :-). I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  8. I love Knödel, it's one of my favourite German side dishes, especially with roasted duck and Rotkohl :)!

  9. Never had a bread dumpling or sauerbraten, but I'd like one of each please! I think I'd like the bread over potato too, just because I love bread so much. Hope you are having a great week.

  10. I've never heard of these, but they look great! Glad you found bread down there in AZ that was close enough to the German kind to make your dumplings.

  11. I was so intrigued when I saw the title of your post...and I loved learning about these delicious and economical dumplings. I love how so many great recipes come from people making use of all the "leftovers". Thank you for sharing such a tempting meal! I hope you are doing well. Stay warm and enjoy the end of your week!

  12. When I was in Munich for the Oktoberfest, I had the Potato Dumplings and it rocked my world. Been searching for a similar recipe! I MUST MUST try this! My son looooooves German cuisine (his biological father is German) so he'll be happy to see this! Thanks for posting!

  13. These sound very interesting indeed! Definitely will have to give these beauties a try soon!

  14. I don't eat many dumplings (infact the only ones I eat on a fairly regular ones are asian and nothing like these) but I'm more than willing to give these a try if they taste as yummy as they look :D

  15. These seem so hardy and delicious! :)

  16. I love dumplings but have never seen your version! I bet they are wonderful, Susi!

  17. I love knodel soup! I have it every time I go to Sudtirol! I'm going to love these. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  18. I never had dumplings like this Susi! They sound like something I would love - the pinch of nutmeg is just jumping out at me - bet it adds a nice flavor to them. Thank you for sharing!

  19. This so takes me back!
    We spent six years in the Black Forest back in the eighties.
    The food, the people, and the country are fantastic.
    Really miss it.

  20. Wish I found this blog before I boiled my dumplings - but now I know why they often fall apart. No more boiling - just gentle simmer.
    Thank you!

  21. I just had some bread dumplings that had rye bread in them at Blackwolf Run in Kohler Wisconsin. They were so good I'm trying to recreate them. I'm thinking 1/3 rye to 2/3 white.


Leave a comment and make my day


Related Posts with Thumbnails