Traditional Czech Bread Dumplings

Traditional Czech Bread Dumplings

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rest: 60 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 30 to 40 slices
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
378 Calories
5g Fat
69g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 378
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 511mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 69g 25%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 139mg 11%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 199mg 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.

"The dumplings were very good and easy to make. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook, so mixing was especially easy. I used 510 grams (18 ounces) of flour, and the consistency of the dough was perfect. They would be great with leftover turkey (or other meat) and gravy." —Diana Rattray

Czech Bread Dumplings Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the cooking water

  • 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, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Czech bread dumplings recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

    Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Whisk together egg yolks and milk in a separate medium bowl.

    Whisk together eggs and milk in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    dry and wet mixtures in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.

    Dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    pot with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Work the 4 cups of bread cubes into the batter by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook until well incorporated.

    Bread cubes and dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    Dough shaped into four rolls

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Carefully slip the rolls into the water once it is boiling, giving them a stir so they don't stick. If the pot doesn't comfortably fit all the rolls, boil them in batches.

    Rolls of dough in a pot with boiling water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    dough boiling in a covered pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Remove 1 dumpling from the pot using a slotted spoon 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

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  13. Remove the dumplings one by one when done 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.

    sliced boiled dough on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    Traditional Czech Bread Dumplings

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tip

The final dough will be slightly sticky, but should be easy to handle and shape with floured hands.

Recipe Variation

Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chives, or dill to the dough along with the bread.


How to Store and Freeze

  • For leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and reheat them by steaming until warm or briefly microwaving.
  • 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 zip-close 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 intervals.

What do you eat with Czech bread dumplings (houskový knedlík)?

Bread dumplings are delicious on their own with a sauce or gravy or alongside a main dish, like a stew or roast. Serve them with a pot of goulash, Czech-style roast pork loin, stuffed cabbage, or roast duck.