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How to make - and spell - spaetzle.

A friend gave me two copies of your magazine and I am very impressed with the quality and diversity of the articles. I'd like to add my two cents worth to Dr. Salsbury's article (76/6:18) on "spatzel." Actually, it's spaetzle. I hope I'm qualified to comment. My grandmother taught me to make spaetzle. She's 90 now and has lived all her life in the Augsburg/Munich areas.

I use a spaetzle hobl, which looks somewhat like a very small slaw-cutter except that the bottom is drilled with many 1/4 inch holes. It has a small box, open bottom and top into dough is placed. The hobl rests on top of your five-quart pot half full of boiling, salted water. As you slide the box forth and back on its base the dough plops through the holes into the water below.

If you know anyone in Germany, have them send you one. They can be found in large department stores or warehouse-type grocery stores. At least this is so in Bavaria and Schwaben, the two areas of Germany that I am familiar with.

Two cups flour, one-to-two eggs and a pinch of salt sounds about right. It's not a picky recipe and I seldom measure ingredients. We have always used fresh milk instead of water in the dough. The consistency of the dough is supposed to be such that as you vigorously beat the dough with your wooden spoon it sort of stretches and peels cleanly off the spoon. If it sticks to the spoon it's too wet, if you can't beat and stretch it it's too stiff. Better too wet than too stiff! It's easier to thicken with a little more flour than it is to try to beat a little milk into a stiff dough. Besides which, if the dough is too stiff, you'll work yourself to death trying to get it through the hobl and into the water!

A traditional soup served at weddings is made with deep fat fried spaetzle. The dough recipe is die same except that the milk must be scalded. When dropped into the hot fat the dough puffs up and turns golden brown. The spaetzle are served floating in a beef broth. Talk about a true delicacy!

As far as regular spaetzle go, we enjoy them pan fried in homemade butter until they are partly crisp and golden brown, together with cubes of ham from our homegrown milk-fed pigs. The only way it could get better than this is if a transplanted Munich butcher would send me a recipe for weisswurst! Or better yet, wollwurst!
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Author:Zbikarski, Pat
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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