Spatzle with Speck

Spätzles are comfort at its best: small, simple, oddly shaped pieces, somewhere between dumplings and pasta. Hearty and very welcoming. The traditional homemade way of cutting the dough on a wooden board and placing the small pieces in boiling water is particularly rustic. This is how my grandmother and mother prepared them. It’s something I liked to see when I was a child and now I do it this way.

I admit that watching Spätzle was more fascinating than having to do it yourself. But in the end, it’s worth it.

Mix the dough

Although the molding of the spaetzle takes a little practice, the preparation of the dough is as simple as mixing the pancake batter. There are two basic keys to getting the right taste and texture. Adding semolina flour to all-purpose flour gives the all-purpose flour a lighter flavor, color and a lighter, more sandy and less rubbery texture. Secondly, it is important to rest the dough before baking. It doesn’t take a long Break, only about 15 minutes. In the time it takes you to prepare your breadboard and boil a large pot of water, you can start cooking.

Hand-cut Spätzle

Of course, you could get a after liver baker. They are easy to use (that’s what I hear) and not expensive at all. Or if you just have the right colander with fairly large holes that are not too close to each other, you can use it. But with both of them, you end up with what I consider a Spätzle Restaurant. Much smaller and more uniform in shape (like single-colored fruit pebbles), they may be more delicate, but doesn’t that contradict the essence of Spätzle?

The shape and size of the hand-cut Spätzle are as individual as their own handwriting. Mine tend to be longer and thinner, while my mother’s Spätzle are a little more stubborn. Try it yourself and see what your personal specification is.

This is how I train Spätzle. First, I take out a heat-resistant board with a smooth surface, like a wooden cutting board. I wet it with cold water, then I spread the dough in a long strip that goes from one end of the board to the other.

I move the board so that one side is above a pot of boiling salted water. Using an offset spatula, I cut small thin strips of dough and slipped them into the water. I cut the dough at small angles so that the Spaetzles don’t get too long (they become almost twice as big when baked). While I am cutting the dough, I also drop small pieces into the boiling water. If the dough does not want to come off your spatula, simply immerse the spatula in the water for a second. (You can also cook the Spätzle directly in a soup broth.)

According to my grandmother’s notes, if you work quickly enough, you can cook everything in two batches. Yes, that’s right, grandma. The rest of us can do better with small batches – about as much as you can take with a movement or two of a sieve.

Once the Spätzle are floating, let them cook at a gentle boil for another one to two minutes, until they no longer have a raw flour flavor and have a pleasant firm texture, not fluffy and chewy. The cooking time depends on the size of your Spätzle.

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