Walt Gach's Slovak Bobalki With Sauerkraut Recipe

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Ratings (21)
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings Savory Bobalki
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
253 Calories
3g Fat
48g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings Savory Bobalki
Amount per serving
Calories 253
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 959mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 17%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Protein 9g
Calcium 92mg 7%
*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.)

Bobalki (also spelled bobalky) are Slovak balls of dough that can be eaten with honey and poppy seeds as a dessert or as a savory dish with onion and sauerkraut (as in this recipe), usually for meatless Christmas Eve dinners.

I had a delightful email from Walt Gach of Parma, Ohio, telling me about his Polish / Slovak Christmas Eve dinner (breaded fried fish, cauliflower Polonaise, creamed mushrooms and poppy seed rolls) and this savory version of bobalki. It can be made with homemade bread dough but purchased bread dough will work, too, and is a nice shortcut.

Here’s what he had to say: “[The bobalki] I make are … somewhat rustic in nature. … [T]his was not completely ‘handed down’ to me, but it is a childhood memory. It fills the whole house with a wonderful scent. The flavors all seem typically Eastern European / Slavic in nature.”


  • For the Sauerkraut:
  • 1/2 cup water (or sauerkraut liquid)
  • 1 pound sauerkraut
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped garlic to taste
  • Caraway seeds to taste
  • For the Dough Balls:
  • 12-16 ounces homemade bread dough (or 1 tube of store-bought Crusty French Loaf dough)

Steps to Make It

  1. To make the sauerkraut: Combine water or sauerkraut liquid, 1 pound sauerkraut, onion, salt and pepper, and garlic in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost gone. Add caraway seeds, stir, cover, and turn off heat.

  2. To make the dough balls: Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Cut dough into manageable pieces and roll as if making breadsticks, about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut into 1 inch-long chunks and roll into balls. Repeat with remaining dough.

  3. Bake balls until golden brown on top and the dough balls feel somewhat “stiff” when squeezed. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.

  4. When ready to serve, reheat sauerkraut mixture until it just begins to produce steam. Add the baked dough balls and mix thoroughly. Cover, turn off heat, let stand 2-3 minutes, and serve immediately.

Note: At this point, if not being served in the context of a meatless Christmas Eve dinner, all this needs is some kiełbasa, and perhaps some good mustard.