German Bread Dumplings ~ Oma's Semmelknödel

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

These traditional German bread dumplings, aka Semmelknödel, are great when you've got delicious gravy to soak up. Traditional for the Bavarian region that is! I had never heard of these before I was asked if I had a recipe.

A recipe for dumplings, yes. But made out of bread? You see, my Mutti came from Berlin. That's where potato dumplings rule! And, those are the ones I grew up with.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important & interesting stuff to know below.

These Traditional Bavarian Bread Dumplings are an esteemed dish in Germany. Very popular, and yummy! Try making these dumplings Just like Oma!

What are German Knödel or dumplings usually made of?

Our dumplings were always made with potatoes and were stuffed with bread croutons. But then, I came from the northern part of Germany where potatoes are king.

But, I like challenges, and these bread dumplings are the delicious results! As well, they are a great way to use up leftover bread. These are the dumplings that are so popular in southern Germany.

But, there are so many other types of dumplings that are popular in Germany. From ones made from liver (YES, I said liver) known as Leberknödel to others made with a yeast dough, Dampfnudeln or Cream of Wheat. 

Hints:

  • Don't use a knife when cutting these dumplings apart - pull apart with two forks -- that's the Bavarian tradition! And then pour gravy over the top!

How Bread Dumplings are made ...

Literally, one takes leftover German rolls or good stale bread and  reconstitutes them with some warm milk. Add some extra ingredients and then create the dough. Simmered in water and then served ... OH SO GOOD!

See that lonely little dumpling swimming in the water ... that's my test dumpling in the bottom left photo of this collage.

Here are some steps of how to make Bavarian Bread Dumplings

Leftover Bread Dumplings?

A further bit of experimentation and the recipe above is the result. If perchance, you end up with leftovers -- GREAT! Slice them and fry them in a bit of butter.

Serve with fried eggs for breakfast or a light lunch. Actually, you'll want to make extra dumplings just for the leftovers! Many times, this 'leftover' meal tastes better than the fresh meal made the day before. 

It's a perfect example of what Oma's do. They use up any bit of leftover food. In this case, that extra bread or rolls that are stale in order to create dumplings. Then, any leftover dumplings are fried in butter to create a new dish the following day. Voila! No more leftovers and everyone is happily satisfied.

Grab your copy of My Oma's Dumplings & Noodles e-Cookbook and make those traditional German treats for your family today!

Take a look at My Oma’s Dumplings & Noodles eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

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Dumpling Hints ...

After the first few times you make these, you'll get the feel of the right consistency of the batter. Then, you probably don't need to make a "test dumpling" if you're in a hurry. 

I usually play it safe and always make one. Takes just a few more minutes, but you'll be assured your dumplings will hold together. It's also a perfect snack to nibble on while the rest of the dumplings cook.

The color of your dumplings will reflect the type of bread you use. Darker for a whole wheat bread, lighter for a white bread. Here are some made with white bread.

You'll soon be a pro at making these great gravy soaker-uppers! Try them next time you make a sauerbraten or pork roast. 

Traditional Bavarian Bread Dumplings

Oma says,

The first hard lesson I learned: do NOT use regular packaged squishy sliced sandwich bread that you can buy in Canada or the States. 

Use a good quality German, French, or Italian or homemade bread or hard rolls -- something with a bit of a bite!

Ready to make some bread dumplings?

German Bread Dumplings ~ Oma's Semmelknödel

Oma's German bread dumplings are great when there's gravy to soak up. These Semmelknödel are from Bavaria and are an easy way traditional 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. Use any extra leftover bread to make dessert.

Prep Time

15 minutes + soak time

Cook Time

20 minutes

Total Time

35 minutes + soak time

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

  1. Cut bread or rolls, with crusts, into small pieces and put in bowl.
  2. Add milk. Let soak for about 30 - 60 minutes.
  3. Pour off excess milk.
  4. Fill a large pot (about 5 quart) with water to within 2-inch to the top. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a slow simmer.
  5. Fry bacon and onion in butter until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent. Add parsley.
  6. Add bacon mixture to bread mixture. Stir. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  7. Add eggs and mix in thoroughly.
  8. If mixture is too soft to form into dumplings, add breadcrumbs - just a tablespoon at a time - until mixture can be formed into dumplings using moistened hands or two wet tablespoons.
  9. Form a test dumpling and drop into gently simmering salted water and simmer. If it falls apart, the 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. 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 tsp dried marjoram, if desired.
  • Leftover bread dumplings are wonderful when sliced and fried in butter the next day.
  • 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

07.13.2021 revision update

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These Traditional Bavarian Bread Dumplings are an esteemed dish in Germany. Very popular, and yummy! Try making these dumplings Just like Oma!

German Bread Dumplings ~ Oma's Semmelknödel

By
German Bread Dumplings ~ Oma's Semmelknödel
Oma's German bread dumplings are great when there's gravy to soak up. These Semmelknödel are from Bavaria and are an easy way traditional side dish for your German meal.

Ingredients: stale bread, milk, salt, bacon, onions, butter, parsley, eggs, breadcrumbs,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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