Cookbook:Austrian Giant Bread Dumpling Prepared in a Napkin (Serviettenknödel)

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Austrian Giant Bread Dumpling Prepared in a Napkin (Serviettenknödel)
Category Side dish recipes
Servings 6 - 8
Time prep: 1 hr, cooking: 40 min

Serviettenknödel (ˌsɛˈɛt.ɛn ˈknø:dɘl) is a type of Knoedel (more specifically a type of Semmelknödel), a bread dumpling which plays an integral role in the culinary traditions of Austria, Bavaria, and the Czech Republic. These bread dumplings are often served alongside roast duck, goose and pork as well as many different kinds of dishes with hearty sauces such as Hungarian goulash and venison or mushroom ragout. The exact ingredients in the knödel vary slightly according to region and to season. In spring many cooks include wild garlic [Bärlauch] and in the autumn and winter leeks. The version below is a seasonal standard.


  • 8.8 oz (250g/one normal-sized loaf) stale French or Italian bread, cut into crouton-sized cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cups (300ml) milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 4 Tbsp (60g) butter
  • ¼ cup (60g) finely chopped onions (one medium-sized onion)
  • 2 tsp (a large dash) salt
  • ½-1 bunch chopped broad-leaf parsley


  1. Mix the milk, eggs and salt together. Combine the mixture with the bread cubes and the parsley in a large mixing bowl, coating as much of the bread as possible with the mixture. Let the mixture rest while you chop and sauté the onions. After the sautéd onions have cooled enough not to cook the egg, add them to the bread and mix thoroughly.
  2. Let the mixture rest for an hour, mixing it through once or twice during the hour. (The object here is to coat the cubes with the liquid mixture on all sides to allow them to absorb as much liquid as possible; this is especially necessary if your bread is more than a few days old.)
  3. Wet a fresh cotton dishcloth (tee towel) or cloth napkin (serviette). Some cooks brush the top side of the cloth with melted butter for more flavor, but this is not necessary. Completely unfold the dishcloth and place the bread mass in the middle of the cloth.
  4. Next, form the bread mass to a 3 inch (~6 cm) thick log. Roll bread log up tightly in the cloth and tie off the ends of cloth with a short length of string or twine. Some cooks also tie a string around the middle as the edge of the cloth tends to pucker in the middle.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil - as you would if you were cooking spaghetti - and then add salt. Slowly lower the serviettenknödel into the water and let cook for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the serviettenknödel from the boiling water (with metal tongs or two forks in a pinch) and transfer to a large cutting board preferably wooden, as the wood will absorb much of the excess water in the cloth. Cut and remove the string; then unroll and remove the cloth.
  7. To prepare the knödel for the table, begin at one end cutting 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices, taking only as many as you need in servings so that the knödel does not get cold.

Notes and VariationsEdit

  • The amount of butter can also be lessened or substituted with a neutral-tasting oil.