Thursday, January 3, 2013

Houskove Knedliky (Bohemian Dumplings)

Houskove Knedliky (Bohemian Dumplings)

This is a traditional accompaniment to Roast Pork served every day at most Czechoslovakian restaurants in Chicago. Frankly, the quality of the dumpling is how we determine whether or not we’ll be returning to the restaurant! 

They’re not fluffy like the dumplings Grandma made in her Chicken & Dumplings, but they’re not like Spaetzel, those little chunks of Bavarian dough noodles. In fact, when you see these for the first time your impression will likely be that someone put slices of bread and gravy on your plate.


This makes me think back to my childhood in Chicago when food shopping was a real time commitment. As the youngest, I was the last to still accompany Mom to the stores. We would visit the grocer for staples, canned goods and dairy and the farm stand for vegetables. Then it was on to the butcher and finally the bakery because that’s how you bought food until the big grocery chains showed up. My favorite was the bakery simply because of the way it smelled. 


As a child, I could make an entire meal of the bread mom bought at that bakery smothered in whatever gravy was being served that night; never mind the meat and vegetables! Thankfully those meals weren’t an every night occurrence.


You’re going to love these – just save room for the Roast Pork and the Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage!



Houskove Knedliky (Bohemian Dumplings)

Yield: 24 Dumpling Slices     Total Time: 2 ½ hours


Ingredients


• ½ Envelope of Active Dry Yeast

• 1½ Cups Whole Milk, warmed to 110°
• 1 Teaspoon Sugar
• 5 Cups All-Purpose Flour
• ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
• 1 Teaspoon Unsalted Butter, melted
• 1 Teaspoon Salt
• 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
• 4 Slices of day-old White Bread, cut in ½” cubes

 

Preparation Steps

Step 1. In a small non-metallic mixing bowl, gently stir the Yeast into ½ Cup of the warm Milk and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then stir in Sugar.


Step 2. Sift 2 cups of the Flour and the Baking Powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the Yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and stir in the remaining warm Milk, then the melted Butter, Salt and beaten Eggs. Mix well just to completely incorporate all ingredients.


Step 3. Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place for one hour.


Step 4. Add the Bread cubes and remaining Flour 1 cup at a time to the mixture and work together to make a soft dough. (The dough may not completely accept all of the flour – don’t worry, just work in as much as you can before the dough begins to get too dry.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.


Step 5. Shape the kneaded dough into 4 loaves, cover with a towel and let rise for one hour.

 

Step 6. Fill a wide pot (6 to 8 quart) with salted water to about 3 inches deep and bring to boil.
 

Step 7. Gently lower the risen loaves into the boiling water, and boil covered for 10 minutes. (If your pot is not large enough for all four loaves, perform this step in batches to avoid crowding the pot.)


Lowering Dumplings into boiling water

Dumplings boiling in water
Step 8. After 10 minutes, gently turn the loaves 
over, and boil covered for another 10 minutes.
 

Step 9. Remove the cooked loaves to a clean linen towel to dry the bottom and immediately move to cutting board. Slice each loaf in ½” to ¾” slices to serve. 

 

Tips and Trending

~ Serve these dumplings with any roasted meat smothered with gravy or simply drizzle them with melted butter.


~ I cook the four dumpling loaves in a 6 quart Calphalon® metal Dutch Oven and they completely fill the surface when they’ve expanded. Any smaller diameter pot will not allow the Dumplings to fully expand and they will be doughy. Give them a bigger pot and they will expand even more – this is not a bad thing.

~ It’s doubtful, but if you should have leftover dumplings slices, toast them the next day in a well-buttered skillet. (Hey, I’ve never said this blog was about eating healthy all of the time!)

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