Spätzle (also Spätzli in
Northern Germany; Nockerln and Knöpfle in parts of Southern Germany
and Austria; and Knöpfli in Switzerland), are a type of egg noodles
and small dumplings found in the cuisine of Germany and regions of
neighboring Austria, Switzerland,Hungary,
Slovakia, and France (Alsace).
Left: Commercial thin spätzle.
Spätzle dough typically consists of few
ingredients, principally eggs, flour, and salt. Often, water is
added to produce a thinner dough. One traditional method of
determining the correct proportions of ingredients is to use as many
eggs as there will be people served, plus one egg. To the eggs an
equal volume of water or milk is added. Then gradually enough flour
is added to reach the desired consistency. In addition to salt,
spices such as nutmeg, dill, or caraway may be used, depending on
what foods the spätzle will accompany. For certain specialty
dishes, the dough may be enriched with minced pork liver (resulting
in Leberspätzle), spinach, or finely grated cheese.
The desired consistency varies from a soft, sticky dough to a thick
batter. The consistency, and the method used to form the noodles,
affects the resulting shape of the noodles. Common variants are
small button or lump noodles (Knöpfle), large thick noodles, and
long thin noodles. All are more or less irregular.
Left: Home made knöpfle type spätzle.
Handmade Spätzle is formed by grating a lump of dough, scraping
strips of dough from a cutting board or the rim of a bowl, by
pushing the dough through a mechanical device. Several types of
spätzle maker devices are available, that resemble a strainer, (or
colander), a potato ricer, a food mill or coarse grater.
Home made spätzle are formed directly over a large pot of boiling
water (usually) or broth, into which they drop. After boiling gently
for about three minutes, the spätzle rise to the surface; they are
drained and served immediately.
Commercially made noodles marketed as spätzle may bear little
resemblance to handmade spätzle, being more or less regular in
shape, and dried. They are cooked in the same manner as any dried
Spätzle typically accompany meat dishes prepared
with an abundant sauce or gravy, such as
sauerbraten and rouladen.
In Hungary spätzle often are used in soup.
Left: Home made thin spätzle with
lentils and sausage.
Step by step preparation of cheese spätzle
(This method uses a spätzle press,
similar to a potato ricer.)