A Gift From The Chef: Oma’s German Bread Dumplings (Semmelknoedel)
There's nothing quite like your Mother's cooking. The comfort and warmth of walking in the door to familiar smells, the second helpings that always await you, and that one signature dish that's so good, no other version quite compares. For many of Australia’s most iconic chefs, their passions began with their mum’s signature home cooking. In the lead up to Mother’s Day, our participating restaurants renowned chefs are opening up their mum's cookbooks to share their most loved recipes. This one comes from Epocha Head Chef, Sascha Randle.
Epocha Head Chef, Sascha Randle and Her Oma’s German Bread Dumplings (Semmelknoedel)
Raised by her now 93-year-old Oma (German for grandmother), Chef Sascha Randal has a special relationship with her grandmother and the German culture she imparted.
As Mother’s day approaches she reflects on some of the recipes and the family stories handed down including ‘Semmelknoedel’ or ‘German Bread Dumplings’.
Served with a roast, Semmelknoedel was a staple competitive dish among the German women of the German Ski Club of Falls creek. The annual competitive cook off saw competing Omas present their best versions to the visiting European Ski Instructors and grandchildren were told they would give them special knoedel powers and energy for the following day’s skiing… a joke that is still alive amongst the now adult grandchildren today!
As an original cook for the Tivoli German Club (Sascha’s Opa ran the bar), it’s no surprise Oma Trudi is largely responsible for Sascha’s obsession with food and culture.
Bread Dumplings (Semmelknoedel)
Serves 4 people.
It calls for bread rolls, but the same amount of ciabatta or Vienna bread can be used. Ensure to remove dark crusts and day-old bread is ideal.
- 4 bread rolls (approximately 450g)
- 1 egg
- 2-3 rashers of bacon, diced finely
- 1 medium brown onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 cups of milk
- ¼ cup of plain flour
- 1tsp of rice or corn flour (this gives the dumplings a nice sheen)
- ½ tsp of baking powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ½ tsp salt
- pinch of ground white pepper
- Carefully remove the crusts from the bread. Dice remaining bread and place in a large bowl
- Sauté onion and bacon in 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil until the onion is soft. Stir occasionally to ensure the onion does not colour.
- Add milk to the pot and allow to start simmering. Once the milk is simmering, pour milk, onion and bacon over the bread and allow to steep until cool enough to touch.
- Using your hands, mix the bread and milk until combined, adding salt, pepper, flours and optional baking powder.
- Finally, add the parsley mix until thoroughly combined.
- Cover with cling-wrap and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil.
- When the dough has rested, shape the dumplings into 6cm balls. Add these balls to the boiling water. One the dumpling floats to the surface, simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Once cooked and cooled down, these dumplings can be frozen for later use.
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Mireille Kilgour has been an entrepreneur for 35 years in the hospitality sector. French born, she has been an accomplished business owner and operator for a number of Sydney venues. Leading the industry with high profile institutions such as Lamrock Café Bondi, she has endless passion for the industry, and now has the pleasure of supporting restaurants to fill their tables with the new Good Food Gift Card program.