Any German Cuisine Experts out There?

ritaweedaOctober 21, 2012

I'm curious. Although my MIL was German, she never made spaetzle. So the only time I've had it is in German restaurants. Invariably, it is like a mound of glue, it would stick to the plate if it was turned upside down and tasteless. Is it supposed to be that way? I've learned not to order it because it's always like that.

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foodonastump

Not an expert, but I can confirm that it's not supposed to be like a mound of glue. I've used Cook's Illustrated's recipe, and IIRC correctly Ann_T has posted a very similar one.

My sister has a friend whose young son is a master of making them the original way, quickly slicing and scraping batter off a board and into boiling water. I think the consistency of that batter must be different from what I've made.

Spaetzle - Cooks Illustrated

Serves 4
Although a spaetzle machine cuts more precisely, spaetzle batter may be formed by passing it through a ricer or a metal colander.

Ingredients
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk or water
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 6 pieces
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Instructions
1. Beat eggs, milk, and seasonings in a medium bowl. Stir in flour to form a smooth but thick batter; let batter rest for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile place 1 tablespoon butter into a bowl that has been rinsed in hot water and dried. Heat water to boil in a kettle or saucepan small enough so that the short ends of the spaetzle machine can rest on its rim.

3. Salt boiling water, then spoon a portion of the batter into the the square container that runs along the grater track. With the machine resting on the pan rim, move the metal container quickly back and forth along the grater until about 1/6 of the dough is pressed through the grater into the boiling water.

4. With a slotted spoon transfer spaetzle that have floated to the water's surface to the warm bowl. Repeat cooking in batches with remaining batter, adding butter to each batch of cooked spaeztle. Toss and serve.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 6:05PM
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jasdip

I live in a city that was largely inhabited by Germans, and we have a number of German clubs. Spaetzle is definitely not a lumpy, gluey, glob. It's like little fingers/strands of dumplings.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 6:38PM
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glaserberl

Born and raised in Germany but in Berlin not southern Germany. Spaetzle are more common in the southern regions of Germany than in the northern parts.
That said I do own a Spaetzle maker. I use Tyler Florence' recipe and everybody always loves it. In fact I usual at least double the recipe for the number of servings. The only thing I do different is I use parsley instead of chives.

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-milk mixture. Gradually draw in the flour from the sides and combine well; the dough should be smooth and thick. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot, then reduce to a simmer. To form the spaetzle, hold a large holed colander or slotted spoon over the simmering water and push the dough through the holes with a spatula or spoon. Do this in batches so you don't overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the spaetzle floats to the surface, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Dump the spaetzle into a colander and give it a quick rinse with cool water.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the spaetzle; tossing to coat. Cook the spaetzle for 1 to 2 minutes to give the noodles some color, and then sprinkle with the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper before serving.

If I have company I make the early in the day and spread them out on a sheet pan and then reheat in melted butter before serving.
Katharina

Here is a link that might be useful: Spaetzle Maker

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:04PM
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dcarch7

I lived in NYC's German Town for many years and had delicious spaetzle. I have many German relatives, and had home made delicious spaetzle.

There is not much taste in spaetzle, it is all about the sauce/gravy.

You should try to make it yourself. Very easy to make.

dcarch

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:41PM
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caflowerluver

My MIL was from Germany and DH has been making her (and his grandmother's) recipe for spaetzle for over 30 years. He even inheired his grandmother's old spaetzle maker when she died. It should be light little dumpling like noodles. He makes it without the chives and we always have it with sauerbraten. The sauerbraten is cooked in a pickled broth and meat juice. I make a gravy from that. Yummy.
Clare

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 12:53AM
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Islay_Corbel

They eat it a lot on Alsace. Delicious. Another good thing is that if you're entertaining, you can make it well in advance - the day or so before and then you only have to re-heat it in the butter.
For each egg, 100g flour then add enough milk or beer to get the right consistency.
I have one of these. You just press the mix through the holes.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 3:18AM
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jkom51

My Chinese-Portugese DH adores spaetzle and sauerkraut and sausages! He likes to say it isn't very different from homemade noodles, pickled cabbage, and Chinese sausages, LOL.

Spaetzle is available in our area in aseptic plastic packages as well as dried in long noodle form. And yes, it's all about the butter and gravy. A carb-lover's dream!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 3:02PM
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lpinkmountain

I have never made spaetzel, but one thing I will say is that you can't underestimate the importance of using good flour in cooking. Flour gets stale, and some flour is kinda stale already when you buy it, different flours taste different, etc. Since spaetzel is a product where the ingredients are flour, eggs and water, then the quality of the flour is going to make a huge difference. Also, when you cook it in water or broth, if you keep stirring it, then bits of flour will get stirred into the cooking water and create a glue like coating on the noodles. This also happens with regular pasta and dumplings. Stirring too much makes noodles gluey.

Also, I can't imagine that spaetzel would benefit from sitting around under a heat lamp or whatever might have happened to it at a restaurant. Also, when you overwork a product made with flour (noodles, pie crust, whatever) it gets gluey. So I would charge ahead with confidence and give spaetzel a try. I'm hoping to do so myself for my BF, he loves the stuff. But I'm going to have to be in a whole lot better mind frame about cooking than I am now!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:13AM
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Georgysmom

After I boil the spaetzle and drain them, I saute them in garlic butter.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:19AM
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cloudy_christine

Sounds like a border land where spaetzle and gnocchi meet.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Islay_Corbel

Herby ones are nice too.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:39AM
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ruthanna_gw

Ann_t recently posted a photo on the What's for Dinner #328 thread that illustrates how well-made spaetzle should look.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:40AM
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ann_t

Thanks Ruthanna,

Here is the recipe I use:

Spaetzle with Brown Butter

Original Souce: Teri's Kitchen

INGREDIENTS
2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk

Brown Butter (optional)
5 tablespoons butter
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Add chopped parsley to the dough.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and nutmeg. If using
Parsley add to dry ingredients. Add the eggs and milk; stir until
thoroughly combined. Let dough rest about 15 minutes before cooking.
Heat a large pot of lightly salted water until boiling. Add the
spaetzle and cook until done, about 4 minutes. The dumplings will float
when done. Drain well. Brown the butter in a small saucepan or skillet.
Place the spaetzle in a serving dish and pour the butter on top. Season
with salt and pepper; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:05PM
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ann_t

I should mention, that rather than just salted water, I add a couple of chicken bouillon cubes to season the water.
If I'm serving as a side with out gravy then I make the brown butter. Otherwise I serve it with the gravy from oxtails or beef goulash.

~Ann

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:16PM
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chase_gw

Ann could you please explain how you shape them? Do use a special contraption?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:28AM
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elba1

I was going to serve mashed potatoes with the saurbraten I'm making tonight, but I'm feeling brave & thinking of giving spaetzel a try. So with the colander - you just put chunks of dough in, push them through with a spoon and they end up appropriate sizes as they come out the other end?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:45PM
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foodonastump

It's looser than that; it'll be closer to pouring in a batter than forcing through a dough.

Another option is potato dumplings. And while it's probably sacrilege to say this, I'm perfectly content with these out of a box, Panni brand, readily available. Get the mashed kind not the shredded and they're nice and light which makes me prefer them over the lead balls commonly found at German restaurants. There, I said it!

This post was edited by foodonastump on Sat, Feb 9, 13 at 14:19

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Georgysmom

Check out spaetzle makers on Amazon. Mine looks like the first three. I picked it up a number of year ago at T.J.Maxx for either 1.99 or 2.99. You just put the dough in the square and run it back and forth. Most recipes say you can use a colander over boiling water. I would make the dough consistency a teeny bit thicker if using the colander and push it through with a bench scraper. You can also use a food mill is you have one. I have always found the colander a little difficult but never tried it with a scraper. The tool shown on the Amazon site makes it very easy.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:26PM
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elba1

Thanks for the replies. I'm making it tonight, and we are snowed in, so no running to the store & Amazon won't deliver within the hour ha, ha. Ok, so more like pouring it makes sense - I was invisioning trying to push the consistency of pie dough through.
I've never looked for potato dumplings - assuming they're in the refrigerator or frozen section at the store.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Georgysmom

Good luck and enjoy. The batter is a little loose and they look like little worms going into the water.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:08PM
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jxbrown

I've used a box grater too. Shovel the batter in and use a wooden spoon to push it through the holes on the big side.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:16PM
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pkramer60

Elba, it won't help you now, but check with Aldi's. They make a very nice Spaetzel. Dried like a pasta.

And the dumplings are in the boxed potato aisle. There are two+ types, potato and a bread or "semmel" dumpling. Panni is just one brand.

And make lots of spaetzel. You can saute the leftovers with some carmelized onion, cubes of ham and grated Swiss cheese melted on top for a fast weeknight dinner.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:29PM
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jimster

There are many ways to extrude spaetzle through holes in either an official spaetzle maker or anything else having holes.

There is also a way of making them by scraping pieces of dough off the edge of a small cutting board. See the link below.

BTW, viewing a few spaetzle videos on YouTube will give you the right idea concerning dough consistency, etc. better than any verbal description.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Spaetzle Board

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:52PM
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elba1

Well, I went to check on the meat, and it was done earlier than I thought it would be. I hadn't even started the dough yet & read that it needed to rest for 15 minutes, so I ended up just tossing some noodles into the boiling water. But now I really want to try spaetzle - I think I will make it to serve with a roasted pork loin in a week or so. If I'm going to use something I already have, the box grater sounds even better than the colander - there are more holes & they are a little bigger. Thanks for the video link - she makes it look easy. It did give me a better idea of the consistency. Don't think I'd try it that way the very first time, though, I'm not that coordinated :) yet. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:42PM
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jkom51

We were having dinner last night at our local German restaurant, Speisekammer (pronounced "Sputz-kahmer"), and spouse tried the spaetzle with cheese. He's always gotten the plain spaetzle before, tossed in butter.

It was served in a light cheese sauce, nicely browned on top. He is in love, and this is his new favorite dish here! He added in their housemade Nurmberger brats served atop sauerkraut and was soooooooooo happy.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:59PM
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beachlily z9a

I'm German, and I grew up on bland stuff. After I found Mexican and Thai food, bland doesn't work. I love spices. herbs, and spicy stuff.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:04PM
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elba1

That sounds good! The first time I try it, I'm thinking of using Ann T's recipe above & adding the chicken boullion cubes to the water, since some folks said the noodles don't have much flavor themselves. Of course, can't go wrong with a good cheese sauce either!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:06PM
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jxbrown

Spaetzle is all about texture and butter. Xrispy, chewy, and buttery. Yum! Just toss hot spaetzle with grated Gruyere and top with carmelized onion.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:43AM
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elba1

I just came down with a bad cold; as soon as I'm better I'll be all over it - the only spaezle I think I've had is those bits that come with the frozen geen beans lol, so I'm sure I'm in for a treat!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:08PM
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doucanoe

I remember the first time I had spaetzle. It was at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Spaetzle with cheese. it was SOOOOO good!

I make it now, but usually for my Turkey Spaetzle Soup. I really need to make it as a side more often!

I have used Ann's recipe as well as this one which I think came from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Spaetzle

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c milk or water
1 c AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
2 qt water
1 tsp salt
2 T margarine or butter, melted

Mix eggs, milk, flour, 1/2 tsp salt and the pepper (batter will be thick).

Heat water and 1tsp salt to boiling in Dutch oven. Press batter through a colander or slotted spoon, a few tablespoons at a time into the boiling water. Stir once or twice to prevent sticking. Cook until spaetzle rise to surface and are tender, about 5 minutes, drain. Pour butter over cooked spaetzle and serve.

Linda

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:49PM
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elba1

That was my first cookbook! I haven't opened it in a long time - just dug it out, and the recipe is in there - who knew? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:33PM
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glaserberl

jxbrown,
that is the traditional way and one of the best in my opinion.
Not my picture...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:18AM
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elba1

I made the spaetzle today. I was serving it with leftover pork & didn't have any chicken boullion. I tossed a little beef boullion in the water for flavor, but was usure if it would go with the pork, so it wasn't enough to make much of a difference. I also made a mess, as I'm left handed and should have had the bowl to the left of the pot, but I had a hot burner there with the butter & onions. It was ok, but I can see how folks say not alot of flavor on it's own. I didn't have Gruyere, so shaved some parm on it. Jxbrown, if you see this, where does the "crispy" come in regarding your comment, "Spaetzle is all about texture and butter. Xrispy, chewy, and buttery...?" Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:55PM
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pkramer60

Elba, when the spaetzle come out of the water you can toss them into a hot pan with butter and saute them until they are browned and crispy.

To be very honest, I do not know one German either here or in Germany that would cook them in chicken or beef stock. Like an Italian pasta, when plain they are plain, leaving the sauces to give them their flavor. Also the addition of parsley or another herb is VERY rare, more of an American invention.

Peppi, the kraut from Dusseldorf.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 6:01PM
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elba1

Ok, thanks. I did see that one or 2 of the above posters put them in a skillet with butter for a minute or 2, but didn't think that would actually make them crispy. Not that they have to be crispy, I was just wondering what jxbrown meant by crispy. I would try it again, as between my husband, my son & I we did eat it all. I used a box grater & found it to be a messy process. Then I saw islay corbel's picture above & it gave me an idea - I have a top chips chip maker - it is supposed to be used to make potato chips in the microwave. My son tried it once & it didn't work very well, but it looks alot like the picture above, except some of the holes are bigger in the chips maker and the chips maker is more lke a rubber material, but I think I'll try it next time anyway. Another thing is I was serving it with leftover pork & didn't have any gravy, which I think is key. I'm actually 1/4 German myself, but my mom didn't really cook German food & neither she nor my Gradma had ever made saubraten or spaetzle, so I'm proud of myself for giving them both a try!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 6:18PM
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arlinek

I use the same generic spaetzle maker found on the 4th message from the top up above and it's terrific! Just plop the "goopy" mixture into the hopper (which is already sitting on top of the pan with salted, boiling water in it) and quickly slide that hopper side-to-side. Then refill quickly (usually enough batter for filling it twice) and repeat and cook them all together - just be sure to quickly stir them in the boiling water at first so they don't stick together. I don't always fry them in a pan afterwards. Sometimes just drain into a bowl, add butter and toss and serve (with gravy or sauce).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:48PM
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PattyPeterson2208

This thread made me just got to have it. I made AnnT recipe for Spaetzle I added chopped parsley but i should have chopped it up smaller. Clarion's Jagerschnitzel (schnitzel with mushroom gravy) and Betty Crocker's Hot German potato salad. I know it is a lot of carbs but it was a great treat and so yummy. Patty

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:43AM
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elba1

Arlinek, I just figured if I hadn't made spaetzel in my 46 yrs, I should wait to buy a gadget until I thought I might make it more regularly - glad to hear it works!
Patty, that does look good!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Angie_DIY

By the way, the word is pronounced "spaytz-luh," not "spaytz-ul."

Other variations include say "shpaytz-luh" or "shpetz-luh" or "shpaytz-lee."

(At least that is the way you pronounce it in German; I suppose you are free to pronounce it in English however you wish! :-)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 4:36PM
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