Friday, December 30, 2011


Yesterday, when I posted some photos of the knedle in progress, I said
When I post the recipe-- which I will after I have some photos of them doing what God intended them to do-- I'll include the correct name.
Here they are, doing what God intended: 

soaking up some ‘peek-a-pok, good gravy.’
Courtesy of Mr. Big Food and complete with his color commentaries, the recipes for Svičkova (Czech sauerbraten) and Knedle (bread dumplings) are below the fold.

(Sorry, forgot to get the carroten recipe.)

This one comes from one of my maternal great-grandmothers, Baba, passed down to me by my Aunt Bee. Here’s what Bee said about it: “Baba also called it ‘Nadivoko’ when the meat used in the recipe was venison or rabbit because ‘nadivoko’ means wild. Always serve with knedle to soak up the ‘peek-a-pok, good gravy,’ the name that Dedja gave to this good gravy.” ‘Nuff said. Interestingly different from German sauerbraten.


(Czech Sauerbraten)

Beef shank or arm, or any roast

2 carrots, peeled and left whole

1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

2 celery stalks

4 C water

½ C vinegar

1 tsp dried thyme

2 bay leaves

2 slices bacon

1 small can evaporated milk

2 ½ Tbsp (or so) flour

Marinade roast in the vegetables, water, vinegar, and spices at least overnight, turning occasionally to submerge all sides. When ready to cook, fry off bacon slices in a Dutch oven to release the grease. (You can eat the bacon when you’re done with this—it isn’t needed for the rest of the recipe.) Put roast, vegetables, and marinade liquid into the Dutch oven and cook, partially covered, until roast is tender. Remove the roast to a platter and keep warm. Remove vegetables and puree in blender. Add puree back to stock in Dutch oven. Beat flour into evaporated milk into smooth and pour into stock. Cook over medium heat until gravy thickens. Slice roast, top with gravy, and serve with knedle. 


“Bread Dumplings.” These are my favorite knedle. This is Gran’s recipe, passed down by Mom.


1 package yeast

¼ C warm water


2 C milk

2-3 slices bacon

½ stick butter

1 ½ C bread cubes

3 eggs, beaten

5-6 C flour

Pour yeast into water and top with sugar. Let the yeast get foamy and add milk. Fry bacon crisp and drain well on paper towels. Melt butter in bacon drippings and fry bread cubes until golden brown. Remove from fire and crumble bacon with bread and butter. Add eggs to yeast-milk mixture. Mix flour into milk-egg mixture, ½ C at a time, and fold in bread cubes-bacon mixture. Form into golf ball sized balls on floured board. Cover with towel sprayed with cooking spray and let rise one hour. Steam above boiling water for about 15 minutes.


  1. I think that in Germany these were Dampfnudeln...

    Dampf is steam.

    My neighbor lady made them once, and used a large fry pan to cook them in. I'm not sure of her method though - I tried them and didn't have the same results. She used a fry pan with a bumpy bottom (I bought a similar one the next time we were stationed in Germany), then added grease, I think and salt maybe. Then she put them in the pan, added water - or milk? - and cooked for 10 to 15 minutes. They looked like yours, but she planned on serving them for coffee - so I'm guessing they might have been sweeter than yours. At that point, my German wasn't as good as it needed to be to try to learn how to do them.

    Another neighbor lady did a potato dumpling with a dried apricot in the center - I didn't learn that one either.

  2. It's funny. My mom grew up in Germany and didn't come to the States until she was 19. And she didn't learn to cook until she came to the States. So I learned whatever I know about German cooking from a) going there and eating it and b) cookbooks.

  3. "Joy" is basically German cooking. Of course, written by a woman with the name of Rombauer, what would you expect!

    I looked for a Dampfnudeln or similar dumpling recipe yesterday, but didn't find one.

    One other thing - the ones my neighbor made had a lovely browned crispy bottom, which steamed ones wouldn't have. Make that two other things - if you do them in a fry pan, and then turn them over, you have...ta da! English muffins! or something darn close!

    I have a small German (as in written in German) cookbook. If I get time today, I'll see if I can find something there, but in all honesty, I'm not sure my German is up to it. I also have a Doktor Oetker cookbook which I've never used, but aside from the same problem, I think his is mostly dessert items.

  4. My mother-in-law is Czech and my mother is German, so I've eaten both types of these dumplings. The yeast dough is more or less the same (although the Czech ones often include chunks of stale bread). The Czech dumplings called Knedle can be shaped as individual buns or in a log (and sliced for serving). They are steamed in water, giving them a soft outer crust. The German dampfnudle is shaped as individual buns, but fried first, then steamed in the same pan, giving it a crispy bottom. The dampfnudle can be sweet (fry in oil, then add milk and sugar) or salty (fry in oil, then add salt and water). The liquid (milk or water) is what creates the steam that finishes the cooking. Any version of knedle or dampfnudlen are equally delicious.


Be nice. Nothing inappropriate, please.