“Almost Austrian” Baked Dumplings



Sometimes, when I am inspired to recreate a dish I enjoyed while traveling, I am able to conjure up something remarkably similar without too many surprises.  This… well, this was not one of those times.

Bread dumplings, or semmelknoedel, are a common side dish in Austria.  These large white dumplings, typically cooked in boiling water and topped with a savory sauce, are quite a comfort food.  My travel companions really enjoyed them, so I thought I’d give it a go.  How hard can it be to make a big dumpling out of bread?  Well…

To be fair, I was warned.  Don Chase shared a semmelknoedel recipe online, and specifically talked about how this type of dumpling can fall apart in boiling water if one doesn’t get the recipe just right.  Rather than actually heeding this warning, I plowed forward with my own ideas.  I wanted a healthier, whole wheat dumpling.  I also wanted to ramp up the flavor a bit, perhaps by adding some fresh red pepper and smoked paprika.  Everything seemed to be going fine until I plopped a dumpling in boiling water.  Then, disaster struck:


Ugh. Gross.

My mother happened to stop by during Operation Dumpling Disaster.  After we both had a good laugh about the awful looking contents in the boiling pot, she simply shrugged and said, “Eh. Bake ’em.”  Yes, of course – BAKE the dumplings!  Let’s pretend I would have thought of that.


Baked Dumplings Fresh from the Oven

Well, the baked dumplings turned out FABULOUS, and what was almost discarded as a kitchen blunder has now become a recipe I will make again and again.  I hope you enjoy these “Almost Austrian” Baked Dumplings!

WIN_20140904_154914Ingredients (Makes 6 large dumplings)

1/2 loaf stale whole wheat bread (bread must be very dry), cubed

2 room temperature eggs

1 cup warm milk

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mushroom Cream Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup light sour cream

2 tablespoons milk


Step 1) Gently toss together dry bread cubes, eggs, and milk.  Let stand during step 2.

Step 2) Cook onion and red pepper in 1 tablespoon butter until onion is translucent.  Add paprika and salt.  Remove from heat and add contents of pan to bread mixture.

Step 3) Using your hands, shape bread mixture into 6 large dumplings.  You’ll need to really squeeze the mixture into tight spheres, or the dumplings won’t hold their shape.

Step 4) Place dumplings in a greased baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Step 5) While dumplings are baking, cook mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter until mushrooms release their liquid into the pan.  Remove from heat.  Stir in sea salt, sour cream and milk.  If mixture is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk.

Step 6) Spoon mushrooms and sour cream sauce over warm dumplings.  Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and parsley.  Serve immediately.