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Dumpling Dreams
Houskové Knedlíky (Bread Dumplings)
Cookbook Author Peter Trnka's The Best of Czech Cooking, Hippocrene Books, 2001
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6 Servings

These dumplings are a traditional part of Czech cooking and, if made well, is one of the most delicious ways to soak up sauce. Flour and cubed bread are combined to make large, loaf-like dumplings, which are then boiled and sliced with a thread. The lightness of the dumplings in part depends on the type of flour that is used. A rougher rather than smoother flour is desired. If you can get it, "Wondra" brand is a good bet. Otherwise, mix together equal quantities of regular white flour and semolina.

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 3 cups semolina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more for boiling
  • 1/2 loaf French bread, cubed

Mix the flour, semolina, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and break in the egg. Mix in some of the milk and 1 teaspoon salt, and then start mixing in the flour. Work the dough quite hard with a wooden spoon, adding a little more milk if necessary, until bubbles begin to form (about 10 minutes). Add some of the cubed bread and keep mixing. Keep adding bread until the dough is fairly saturated with it.

Plop the dough out onto a floured board or table. Divide the dough up into 4 pieces. Shape the pieces of dough into loaves by rolling them with your hands.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Put in 2 of the dumplings and let cook for 12 minutes, then flip them over and cook for 13 minutes.

Remove the dumplings from the water and place on a cutting board. Take a long piece of sewing thread, slide it under one of the dumplings about 1/2 inch, then wrap it around the top of the dumpling and pull tight. You should have an even cut and a tender slice of dumpling. Continue cutting this way, placing the sliced dumplings in a covered serving bowl to keep warm.


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