Traditional German Bread Dumplings ~ Oma's Semmelknödel

Oma's German bread dumplings are great when there's gravy to soak up. These traditional Semmelknödel are from Bavaria and are the perfect side dish for your German meal. Traditional for the Bavarian region that is! However, they are so good and easy to make, they're popular elsewhere now.

Prep Time

15 minutes + soak time

Cook Time

20 minutes

Total Time

35 minutes + soak time

Servings:

makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 10 -12 slices stale bread or 8 rolls (about 1 pound) 
  • 1½ cups hot milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • about ¼ cup bread crumbs, as needed

Instructions:

  1. Cut bread or rolls, with crusts, into small pieces and put in a large bowl.
  2. Add milk. Let soak for about 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. Pour off excess milk.
  4. Fill a large pot (about 5 quart) with water to within 2-inches from the top. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a slow simmer.
  5. Melt butter in a frying pan. Fry bacon and onion until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent. Add chopped parsley.
  6. Add bacon mixture to bread mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  7. Add eggs and mix in thoroughly.
  8. If the dumpling dough is too soft to form into dumplings, add breadcrumbs – just a tablespoon at a time – until mixture can be formed into dumplings.
  9. Form a small test dumpling and drop into gently simmering salted water and simmer. If it falls apart, the bread dumpling mixture is too dry. Add a bit more milk to the remaining dough.
  10. If it still holds together after 10 minutes, continue making the rest of the dumplings (about the size of a tennis ball, 2-inch or 5 cm) using wet hands or two wet tablespoons. Or wait until cooked for a total of 20 minutes. Taste test dumpling and adjust seasoning for remaining dough if needed before making the rest. 
  11. The dumplings need to simmer about 20 minutes.
  12. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain briefly on paper towels before serving.

Notes/Hints:

  • Use a good quality German, French, Italian, or homemade bread or hard rolls – something with a bit of a bite, not that packaged sandwich bread.
  • Add 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or a pinch of nutmeg, if desired.
  • For a vegetarian option, omit the bacon.
  • Leftover dumplings are wonderful the next day when sliced and fried in butter until golden brown.
  • Extra leftover bread? Make Kirschenmichel for dessert.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

09.17.2022 revision update