Traditional Czech Bread Dumplings

Traditional Czech bread dumplings recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rest Time: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
379 Calories
5g Fat
69g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 379
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 514mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 69g 25%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 142mg 11%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 210mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bread dumplings are staples in the cuisines of Central and Eastern Europe. What started as a way of repurposing stale bread became a full, flavorful dish in itself. Bread dumpling recipes are varied across the region, but in general, they use either flour or stale bread, yeast (or other leavening agents), eggs, salt, and a liquid for binding. And then herbs, dried meats, fat, and other ingredients can be added.

Savory and sweet, dumplings like our recipe for houskový knedlík are now considered part of the Czech national culinary heritage. For such an esteemed dish, Czech bread dumplings are simply made with flour, milk, eggs, and stale bread cubes, which are formed into a loaf or roll. They are then boiled, sliced, and served. They're perfect for soaking up lots of gravy and are typically served with roasted pork loin, roast pork with sauerkraut, roast goose, roast duck, chicken paprikash, roast beef and dill sauce, and goulash. But a warm dumpling with your favorite gravy is still as good as it gets.

All bread dumplings serve as a doughy and pillowy side to saucy preparations like soups, stews, and roasted and braised meats. Most countries in the region have a version, and newer variations use other types of flour besides wheat to cater to a broader audience. Although most dumplings are simply boiled and served, some are later pan-fried and used as appetizers alongside charcuterie items like salami, ham, cheese, sauerkraut, and mustard, or other similar sauces. For this recipe, we recommend using good-quality sliced white bread. And if you have leftovers, brown them in butter and sprinkle them with sugar for a special breakfast treat.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 10 slices white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

  • Gravy, for serving

  • Fresh parsley, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Czech bread dumplings recipe

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  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

    Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt

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  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and milk.

    Whisk together eggs and milk

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  4. Pour the egg-milk mixture into the bowl with flour.

    Adding egg-milk mixture to the flour

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  5. Work the dough—with a Danish dough whisk, your hands, or a standing mixer with the dough hook—until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

    Dough

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  6. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.

    Dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap

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  7. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a slow boil.

    Boil water

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  8. Work the 4 cups of bread cubes into the batter until well incorporated.

    Bread in cubes

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  9. Using floured hands, shape the dough into 3 or 4 rolls that are about 8 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.

    Dough shaped into three rolls

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  10. When the water is boiling, carefully slip the rolls into the water, giving them a stir so they don't stick. If the pot doesn't comfortably fit all the rolls, boil them one at a time.

    Rolls of dough in boiling water

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  11. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes. Cooking the rolls at a rapid boil can cause them to disintegrate.

    Reduce heat and cover pot

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  12. Using a slotted spoon, remove 1 dumpling from the pot after 10 minutes of cooking and test for doneness by cutting through the middle of the dumpling with a thread or sharp knife. The dumpling is done when the knife comes out almost clean after slicing it.

    Dumpling removed from pot and cut in half

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  13. If it is done, remove the dumplings one by one and slice into 3/4-inch pieces using either a thread or sharp knife. Repeat until all dumplings are removed from the water and sliced.

    Slice dumplings

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  14. Serve warm with gravy and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy.

    sliced dumplings with gravy

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Can I Freeze and Reheat Bread Dumplings?

Yes, and it's actually a good idea. If you want to have bread dumplings at hand at all times, double the recipe, cook, slice, and freeze on a baking sheet. Place the frozen slices in ziptop bags and keep them in the freezer for up to six months. To reheat, thaw overnight and steam until soft, or place in a microwavable dish covered with a damp paper towel—microwave four to five slices for 30 to 40 seconds and add more time if necessary in 10-second spans.


For regular leftovers, simply keep them in the fridge for up to a week and reheat them by steaming until warm or briefly microwaving.