Monday, 23 July 2012

PRAGUE - Bread dumplings

Prague Panorama
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0


Travelling and sight-seeing requires energy, particularly if you are cramming in as many cities as my friend and I did in 15 days as we sped across parts of Europe by train. Our last stop was Prague in the Czech Republic and having walked up the hills, around the very interesting and intriguing Palace complex and with a hangover barely a memory, energy was low.

Astronomical Clock, Prague
Author:  Krzysztof Szymański.
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License
As a fan of dumplings I did not need a second invitation to indulge in a good serving of them with my lunch. The theory was that I would be full of boundless energy for the rest of the afternoon. I over ate and had to spend quite a while digesting some very yummy Czech bread dumplings.  Luckily we were in the centre of the city and could while the time away people watching before setting off for Wenceslas Square followed by the astronomical clock. I am fascinated by the clock, and I am not alone. Every hour crowds of people gather to watch the display of dancing skeleton, Turk and another animated decorations.

Traditional Czech bread dumplings - houskový knedlíky - are made with flour, milk, eggs and stale bread cubes. The alternative is a potato dumpling, but always one for ease the recipe below is for the easier bread variety. Formed into a loaf, boiled and sliced they soak up the gravy or stew that they accompany.  Unlike the English suet dumplings, these are suitable for vegetarians and an excellent way of using up stale bread. Traditionally the bread dumplings are served with roast pork and sauerkraut. A good Czech beer (and I haven’t had a bad one) is my suggested drink to go with them.


Recipe

Serves: 8
Ingredients
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
10 slices of good-quality white bread, crusts removed, and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk. Pour the egg and milk combination into the flour.

Work the dough until it no longer sticks to the bowl. I use my hands but if you prefer not to get your hands sticky, the dough hook on your processor will be fine.

Cover and let stand 1 hour.
Slices of Dumpling
Author: Pastorius
 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Boil a pan of salted water.

Work the bread cubes into the batter until well incorporated. Using floured hands, shape the dough into three or four rolls that are about 8 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.

When the water is boiling, place the rolls into the water.  Give them a stir so they don't stick to each other.

Reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Slice the dumplings into pieces about ¾ inch thick.

Serve warm with gravy, stew or roast pork and sauerkraut.




Hints and Tips

If you want to reheat any leftover dumplings they can be steamed – either in a steamer or in a colander over a saucepan - or browned in a saucepan in butter and sprinkled with sugar.

©Janine Rosenmöller



My trip around central and eastern Europe is told in City Chronicles: A Tale of Nine Cities. It is available as an e-book or paperback from Amazon or Lulu.com.

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