Czech Cuisine — Houskový Knedlík, Bread Dumplings

Houskový Knedlík (recipe follows), Czech bread dumplings, are a traditional accompaniment to Svíčková na Smetaně, beef loin with cream, and also would work great alongside any roast meat and gravy or sauce.

Houskový Knedlík

(adapted from The Czechoslovak Cookbook by Joza Brizova)

Note: our recipe is scaled from the one in Brizova’s book to adapt to the amount of stale bread we had.

SERVES 2 TO 4

  • 2 1/2 cups diced stale white bread
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg yolk

First, we left our available bread out overnight to get good and stale.  By the next day it was as firm as croutons:

breadstale
Two of the four pieces we left out overnight to stale. In our haste to get the dough ready, two of the pieces were diced before we remembered to take a photograph.

The bread was cut into about a one inch dice with our trusty bread knife, then measured for yield since the recipe would be scaled to account for how much bread we had:

breadmeasured
We’ll call that two and one-half cups, give or take.

The dry ingredients were combined in the work bowl of the mixer:

dryingredients

At this point we realized a major omission in our grocery shopping.  We had no eggs:

noeggs
See if you can spot where the eggs should be.

After an emergency trip for provisions, order was restored in our kitchen:

eggsrestored

Next, the milk and egg yolk were whisked together and added to the work bowl:

wetingredients

The dough hook was then dropped into the mixture, and was run until the dough had completely combined:

doughtoowet

At this point the dough was very wet and difficult to work with, so a heavy tablespoon of extra flour was added and incorporated into the dough:

doughbetter
There, that looks better.

The dough was kneaded for about five more minutes (we’d go for ten if we were doing it by hand) until it had taken on a smooth texture:

doughball

The dough was coated lightly in oil and covered loosely with plastic wrap in the mixing bowl to rest for an hour:

doughcovered

After the hour was up, we put the dough on a floured board and worked in as much of the stale bread pieces as we could, which ended up being about three-quarters of what we had:

breadindough

It looked like there was no possible way that all those bread pieces would be successfully integrated into to dough, but we persevered until it all made its way inside and shaped it into about an eight-inch log:

doughrolled
It may not be pretty, but it worked.

The dough was dropped into an ample amount of boiling, lightly salted water:

doughboiling

…and cooked for about twenty-five minutes until it was cooked through.  The surface of the dumpling log was a bit soggy when it came out of the boiling water so it was allowed to dry out for a few minutes on the counter:

doughcooked

Bearing in mind that a knife is a blade and not a wedge, the dumplings were carefully cut with a sharp knife into about one inch slices and served with our Svíčková na Smetaně and its sauce.

More from our Czech meal:

Svíčková na Smetaně, beef loin with root vegetables and cream

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