How to make Breznknödel – Bavarian soft pretzel dumplings.
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What are Pretzel Dumplings?
Breznknödel or Brezelknödel are a variation of the more traditional bread dumplings the Bavarians love so much. Instead of bread rolls they are made with soft pretzels past their prime – a wonderful way to conjure up something truly delicious and comforting from a couple of days old pretzels or pretzel rolls.
Besides the difference in the choice of bread to prepare the dumpling ‘dough’ the method and other ingredients used are the same.
Flavor wise we prefer pretzel dumplings to bread ones – they taste richer and seem to have a stronger affinity for German beer.
- Soft pretzels. You can use rolls or actual pretzels, you will need about seven or eight, depending on their size. It is important that they be a bit stale so that they can soak up liquids better. If all you have are fresh pretzels, sliced them and let them sit overnight covered with a clean kitchen towel – they will be sufficiently dry the next day and ready to be transformed into dumplings.
- Milk, butter, onion, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. These are all standard ingredients for making bread dumplings.
How to Make Pretzel Dumplings
- Prep. To begin slice the pretzels (or rolls) thinly as seen below or cube them into bite size pieces. Place them in a deep bowl and pour over warm milk over them. Press them down so they can soak more evenly and let them rest for 15 minutes. In the meantime dice the onion and saute it in the butter until soft (#4 below).
- Mix and Shape. Using your hand break up the milk soaked pretzel pieces, then add the sauteed onion, eggs, seasonings and finely chopped parsley. Mix and knead until you have a dough like mixture, then shape into peach sized balls.
- Boil. Using a slotted spoon gently place the pretzel dumplings into boiling salted water. Lower the heat to medium and let them poach for about 15 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon to a warm plate. They are ready to serve and are best enjoyed warm – see below for traditional options to dish them up.
Ways to Serve Pretzel Dumplings
- In Bavaria freshly made pretzel dumplings are usually served as a side to roasts with gravy such as Krustenbraten, roast goose, Pork Hocks or braised meats such as lamb shanks.
- Pilzrahm (Creamy Mushroom Stew) is a classic way to enjoy pretzel dumplings.
- Pretzel dumpling salad. This is a traditional item on the menus of biergarten in Bavaria and it builds up on the Wurstsalat. To make it:
- slice four warm dumplings into as thin strips as you can, place them in a bowl
- mix a vinaigrette of 4 tbsp sherry vinegar, 4 tbsp vegetable oil and salt and pepper to taste
- and drizzle over the sliced dumplings, gently mix and let sit for 15 minutes
- top with thinly sliced onion rings, cooked Bavarian deli sausage (below shown with bratwurst) and sliced pickles.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- 8 pretzel rolls (about 14 oz of soft pretzels, day or two old)
- 1 cup milk, very warm
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 onion
- 2 eggs
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley*
- 1 tsp salt (plus more to salt the boiling water)
- 1/4 tsp pepper (adjust to taste)
- pinch nutmeg (optional)
1. Cut the pretzels (pretzel rolls) into thin slices or into cubes. Place them in a large bowl and pour the warm milk over them. Press them down with your hand and let them soak for about 15 minutes.
2. In the meantime dice the onion and saute it in the butter until soft, over medium heat.
3. Break up the soaked pretzels a bit and add the sauteed onion, the two eggs, chopped parsley and seasonings. Mix and knead to form a 'dough'. Form into peach sized balls (you should have enough for 8)**.
4. Bring salted water to boil (about 5 quarts with 1/2 tbsp salt) and using a slotted spoon gently drop the dumplings into the water. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and set onto a warm plate. Garnish with chopped parsley.
*reserve a little bit for garnish
**Before you boil all the dumplings, test with one. Shape only one and lower it into the boiling water. If it falls apart, then the dough was too loose - mix some bread crumbs into it to firm it up, then shape another dumplings and test. Over time you will get a feel of when the dumpling mixture has the right consistency. (The way to fix pretzel dumpling 'dough' that is too tight is to add a bit of milk to it.)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 706mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g