Knedlíky (Czech Dumplings)

September 14, 2020
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Knedlíky are traditional Czech dumplings which use a dough similar to bread dough. They’re boiled and sliced, and served with a variety of traditional Czech dishes. If you enjoy Czech food, make this authentic recipe!

closeup of three sliced dumplings fanned out on the edge of a white plate

Czech cuisine is considerably humble, with influences from surrounding countries. Much of Czech cuisine consists of comforting recipes for soups, stews, and meat dishes (namely pork, beef, and poultry including game birds). Furthermore, Czech dumplings are a popular counterpart to many meals.

There are many different ways to make traditional Czech dumplings, or knedlíky.

One version is bread dumplings, or houskový knedlíky, which uses a combination of diced stale bread bound together with flour, milk, eggs, and leavening. It is sometimes also called knedlo, knödel, kniddel, and canederli depending on the country or culture of origin including the likes of Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary and even Italy.

Another, bramborové knedlíky or potato dumplings, features mashed potatoes, eggs, flour, sometimes butter or other ingredients. Versions of these dumplings are also common is some of the surrounding countries.

You can also make Czech dumplings using a type of bread dough. This is the version of knedlíky we’ll explore for this recipe.

Ingredient notes

This recipe for knedlíky uses a dough very similar to typical bread dough. It uses yeast for leavening and is enriched with milk. It uses a coarser instant or quick-mixing flour that is different from all-purpose or bread flour. The availability of this flour can range in different parts of the world, but here are some options for acceptable flours you can use for this recipe.

  • United States: Wondra flour (by Gold Medal brand)
  • Czech Republic: Hrubá mouka
  • Canada: Robin Hood Easy Blend
  • Australia: Continental flour (any brand)
  • Germany: Aurora Instant Mehl Type 405 or any Spätzlemehl

Instant flour is a low-protein, finely ground wheat flour which has been pre-cooked and dried. You can use leftover instant or quick-mixing flour to thicken gravies and sauces. If you live in any other countries, try to find a type of flour with similar qualities, or see if you can order one of the above types of flour online. You cannot simply substitute all-purpose flour for the instant flour because the texture and consistency will not be the same.

These Czech dumplings use dry active yeast for the recipe. I have not tested it with different types of yeast, however I will provide general substitution guidelines in case you need to try them.

  • Instant yeast: reduce the amount of yeast by 25% and mix the yeast directly into the flour mixture. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • Fresh yeast: double the amount of yeast and crumble it into your warm milk mixture. Proceed with the recipe as directed.

Once again, these are only general guidelines for substituting yeast. I have not made this recipe with instant or fresh yeast, but am providing these steps just in case you need them.

This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, you can scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! You will also be salting the water for cooking these dumplings so there is an opportunity to add more salt later when they cook.

How to make them

Begin by combining the warm milk, sugar, and yeast in a medium mixing bowl. Let it bloom for about 10 minutes. Beat the egg into the milk mixture.

Next, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, stir in the milk and egg mixture, and knead together for a few minutes until smooth. The dough can be a bit tacky but shouldn’t be very sticky. If it’s sticky, add a bit more flour as needed. Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm spot for 2 hours or until doubled in size (PHOTOS 1-2). 

bread dough in a metal bowl before and after proofing and doubling in size

Cut the dough into thirds, and shape each piece of dough into a 2-inch thick rope. I like using a digital scale to divide my dough into equal sized pieces, but you can eyeball it if you don’t have a scale. You may or may not need to flour your work surface depending on if you dough is a bit sticky or not.

three ropes of dough on a white board

Cover with a towel, and let the shaped dumplings rise for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, select a pot that is at least 10-inches wide and deep enough to boil water. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Boil the dumplings uncovered for 20 minutes flipping them over halfway through. The dumplings will expand quite a bit (PHOTOS 3-4).

before and after photos of a dumpling in boiling water puffing up as it cooks

If they don’t all fit in your pan at once, cook them in batches. I cook mine one at a time, so it can be time consuming (a full hour to cook all 3 dumplings) but it’s not very hands on. Set a timer for 10 minutes, then flip. Set your timer for another 10 minutes, then remove. Easy peasy.

After removing from the boiling water with a large slotted spoon or spatula, immediately poke them with a toothpick in a few spots to let the steam out. Cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife, thread, or dental floss into about 3/4-inch-thick slices.

I find that these dumplings are fine at room temperature for a while before serving them. Mine have sat out for an hour or longer before I served them with dinner. Cover them so they don’t dry out if you aren’t going to serve them immediately. You can also store them and heat them up again at a later time.

sliced Czech dumplings fanned out on a wooden board

How to store and reheat them

Cool dumplings completely, wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place in freezer bags into the refrigerator or freezer. You can refrigerate dumplings for several days, or freeze them for longer (about 3 to 6 months since they are basically bread). You will definitely need to reheat/refresh the dumplings before serving.

If previously frozen, thaw dumplings completely (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) and slice them into portions.

Steaming is the best way to reheat your Czech dumplings. Add a little water to a pot and place a steamer basket over the top. Heat it on high heat, then once you hear the water boiling, lower the heat so it’s more of a gentle simmer. Arrange sliced dumplings on the perforated steamer, cover, and steam for 2 to 3 minutes until heated through.

As a backup option, you can also wrap the dumplings with a damp paper towel, put them on a plate and microwave for about 30 seconds until softened and heated through.

What to serve with these dumplings

Czech dumplings are soft and slightly chewy with a spongy quality that is great at soaking up sauces and gravies on your plate. Knedlíky are traditionally served with roasted meats like pork, goose, or duck, or saucy stews and roasts like Czech beef goulash (hovězí guláš) and Czech marinated roast beef with creamy vegetable sauce (svíčková).

Honestly, I just think of them as spongy bread and would use them as such. If it’s got some delicious drippings or a luscious gravy, serve it with knedlíky!

closeup of a piece of dumpling on a fork soaked in brown goulash sauce

Other Czech recipes you may like

This recipe for Czech dumplings looks and tastes EXACTLY like the knedlíky I enjoyed on my trip to Prague and the Czech Republic. If you’ve ever wanted to make authentic Czech dumplings, then definitely try this recipe! And don’t forget to leave me a comment below if you do! Thanks 🙂

closeup of three sliced dumplings fanned out on the edge of a white plate

Knedlíky (Czech Dumplings)

Victoria
Knedlíky are traditional Czech dumplings which use a dough similar to bread dough. They're boiled and sliced, and served with a variety of traditional Czech dishes. If you enjoy Czech food, make this authentic recipe!
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Course Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine Czech
Servings 3 large dumplings (each approximately 3 1/2 inches x 10 inches yielding about 14 to 16 slices per loaf–serving size based on 45 dumpling slices)
Calories 53 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (warm to the touch)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 3/4 cups (635 grams) quick-mixing or instant flour (such as Wondra flour; see notes for alternatives)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Combine the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let it bloom for about 10 minutes. Beat the egg into the milk mixture. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, stir in the milk and egg mixture, and knead together for a few minutes until smooth. The dough can be a bit tacky but shouldn't be sticky. If it's sticky, add a bit more flour as needed. Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm spot for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Cut the dough into thirds, and shape each piece of dough into a 2-inch thick rope. Cover with a towel, and let the shaped dumplings rise for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot (at least 10-inches wide), bring salted water to a boil. Boil the dumplings uncovered for 20 minutes flipping them over halfway through. They will expand quite a bit. If they don’t all fit in your pan at once, cook them in batches. Note that if you do need to cook them in batches, plan for 1 hour total cooking time.
  • After removing from the boiling water with a large slotted spoon or spatula, immediately poke them with a toothpick in a few spots to let the steam out. Cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife, thread, or dental floss into about 3/4-inch-thick slices.

Notes & Nutrition

  • These Czech dumplings are soft and slightly chewy with a spongy quality that is great at soaking up sauces and gravies on your plate. Knedlíky are traditionally served with roasted meats like pork, goose, or duck, or saucy stews and roasts like Czech beef goulash (hovězí guláš) and Czech marinated roast beef with creamy vegetable sauce (svíčková).
  • Wondra flour is a type of quick mixing or instant flour by Gold Medal brand available in the United States. It is more coarse than regular all-purpose flour. Here are some alternatives for flours you can try for making these in other countries. These flours vary in weight and absorption so start with a bit less flour and add more as needed.
    • Czech Republic: Hrubá mouka
    • Canada: Robin Hood Easy Blend
    • Australia: Continental flour (any brand)
    • Germany: Aurora Instant Mehl Type 405 or any Spätzlemehl
  • This recipe uses dry active yeast. I have not tested this recipe with different types of yeast, however I will provide general substitution guidelines in case you need to try them.
    • Instant yeast: reduce the amount of yeast by 25% and mix the yeast directly into the flour mixture. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
    • Fresh yeast: double the amount of yeast and crumble it into your warm milk mixture. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • To store: cool dumplings completely, wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place in freezer bags into the refrigerator or freezer. You can refrigerate dumplings for several days, or freeze them for longer (about 3 to 6 months since they are basically bread). You will definitely need to reheat/refresh the dumplings before serving.
  • To reheat: thaw dumplings completely (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) and slice them into portions. Add a little water to a pot and place a steamer basket over the top. Heat it on high heat, then once you hear the water boiling, lower the heat so it’s more of a gentle simmer. Arrange sliced dumplings on the perforated steamer, cover, and steam for 2 to 3 minutes until heated through. As a backup option, you can also wrap the dumplings with a damp paper towel, put them on a plate and microwave for about 30 seconds until softened and heated through.
  • This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind 🙂 You can always add more later.
Servings 45.0 (approximate nutrition per slice) * calories 53 * Total Fat 0 g * Saturated Fat 0 g * Monounsaturated Fat 0 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 4 mg * Sodium 39 mg * Potassium 16 mg * Total Carbohydrate 11 g * Dietary Fiber 0 g * Sugars 0 g * Protein 2 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*

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