With this simple recipe and detailled instructions, your bread dumplings (Semmelknödel) will be a success and not fall apart when shaped and cooked.
Further down in the article there are all the bread dumpling tips from my Viennese Grandmother and the detailled recipe.Jump to recipe
Making bread dumplings at home is not difficult, and above all much better than buying them.
I like them with roast pork, with roast goose, beef goulash or a pan of cooked lentils with onions. Bread dumplings also go very well with smoked meat and Sauerkraut.
Leftovers of bread dumplings taste super yummy when roasted in a pan with onions, bacon and eggs. (You can even toss in some of this leftover short pasta or potatoes and call the dish a "Grenadiermarsch")
To make Austrian bread dumplings, you'll need:
- white bread, dried and cubed, unflavoured - I usually buy the cubes, but depending on where you live, they might not be available in your local grocery store. You can easily make them at home: cut white bread into cubes (½ inch) and leave them to dry on a plate for about 3 days. Alternatively, you can dry them in the oven. (For about 1-2 hours at 50°C/120°F) If they are not fully dried you can still use them for the dumplings, but you might have to adjust the amount of milk or bread crumbs later on in the recipe.
- onion, white or yellow, medium-sized
- parsley, chopped - I prefer to use frozen parsley that's already chopped when it's not in season. (You can also freeze it yourself in the summer.)
- butter, unsalted - alternatively some neutral oil, but they taste much better with butter
- milk - alternatively, the dumplings also work well with oat milk or soy milk, then of course they taste a bit different
- breadcrumbs, unflavoured - when the dumpling mixture is ready, you need some more breadcrumbs so that the mixture is not too sticky. Many recipes use flour instead, but I find the dumplings with breadcrumbs fluffier and better in taste.
How to make breadcrumbs from scratch
- nutmeg, grated - optional
- pepper - optional
Benötigte Zeit: 30 Minuten.
Detailed instructions with pictures for fluffy bread dumplings that don't fall apart:
- Warm the milk and pour over the breadcrumbs
Weigh the breadcrumbs and place in a large bowl. Heat the milk (it can also be hot) and pour it over the cubes. Stir the bread cubes so that the milk can be absorbed evenly by all bread cubes.
- Cut onions
Cut onions into very small cubes.
- Cook onions
Melt butter in a pan. Add onion and sauté until translucent. This means that you sauté the onions on medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are soft and look a little "transparent". Stirring will prevent them from browning.
- Add onions, spices and egg
Mix the soaked bread cubes with the onions, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg. When the mixture is no longer hot, add the egg as well. (If the egg comes into contact with milk or onions that are too hot, it may scramble.)
- Let rest
Let rest for about 10 minutes.
- Add breadcrumbs
Depending on how sticky the bread dumpling mass is, you may have to add breadcrumbs.
Bit by bit, add a few tablespoons of crumbs and mix in with your hands. When the mass does no longer stick on your fingers, you can start to form the dumplings.
If too many crumbs were accidentally added, the dumplings might fall apart. An extra egg will then come to the rescue.
- Shape dumplings (see also video above)
Depending on how big you want the dumplings, divide the dough into equal portions and shape into balls.
Many people like to shape the dumplings with wet hands when the dough is very sticky. With the recipe below, however, that has never been necessary for me.
- Cook dumplings
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. (5-6 litre pot or about 6 quart or bigger)
Add a pinch of salt.
Using a ladle, lift the dumplings into the water.
Let simmer for about 15 minutes (low heat). Big dumplings a bit longer.
The water for the bread dumplings should always simmer, but never boil too much. That's why you should always stay close to the pot and adjust the cooking temperature if necessary.
Important: do not stir the dumplings, they might fall apart!
When the dumplings rise to the surface, they are done cooking.
After cooking, the dumplings should not sit in the hot water for too long so that they don't fall apart.
If the mass sticks too much to your fingers when forming dumplings, wet hands can help.
It could also be that the dumpling mass is too moist and needs a little more breadcrumbs: add the breadcrumbs little by little so that the dumpling mass does not become too dry. "Work" well into the mass with your hands so that everything mixes well. When the mass does not stick to your hands anymore, you can shape the dumplings.
If the uncooked bread dumpling mass does not hold together well, it might be either too wet or too dry. An additional egg provides more binding, when too dry. Mix the mass again very well with your hands so that the egg is evenly distributed. Then let it rest for 10 minutes.
If the mass is very sticky and wet, add breadcrumbs and mix in until it no longer sticks on your hands.
If the bread dumplings fall apart during cooking, there can be several reasons, including:
1. The water is boiling too much
2. The water boils too slowly or has stopped boiling
3. Not enough egg was mixed in
4. The dumpling mass could not rest long enough
5. The dumplings have been "forgotten" after boiling in the water
6. The dumplings were stirred during the cooking.
To prevent the dumplings from falling apart during cooking, you can first cook a small "test dumpling". If this one falls apart, the mass has to be improved with egg, possibly more milk or breadcrumbs.
Maybe, you also like:
Recipe for Austrian Bread Dumplings (Semmelknödel)
- 5 cups dried bread cubes 200g, white bread, unflavoured
- 1+½ cups milk 300ml
- 1 tbsp. butter 40g
- 1 onion white or yellow medium-sized
- 1 tbsp. parsley chopped
- 1 pinch nutmeg grounded
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 pinch pepper optional
- 4 tbsp. breadcrumbs 50g, unflavoured
- In a large bowl, pour warm/hot milk over the breadcrumbs. Stir well.
- Chop the onion very finely and sauté in a pan with butter until translucent. (I.e. until soft and "transparent" but not too brown yet.)
- Mix onion with bread cubes, add parsley, nutmeg salt and pepper.
- When the mass is no longer hot, add an egg, mix well with your hands. Let rest for 10 minutes so that the bread cubes can absorb the liquid well.
- If the mass is still very sticky after the resting time, gradually knead in breadcrumbs.
- Form 4-8 bread dumplings depending on the desired size.
- Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large pot, add apinch of salt.
- Place dumplings in boiling water and simmer at low temperature for about 15 minutes. When the dumplings rise to the surface, they are done.
- Alternatively in the steamer: at 100°C (212°F) for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the dumplings)
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