Bread dumplings are staples in the cuisines of Central and Eastern Europe. What started as a way of repurposing stale bread became a full, flavorful dish in itself. Bread dumpling recipes are varied across the region, but in general, they use either flour or stale bread, yeast (or other leavening agents), eggs, salt, and a liquid for binding. And then herbs, dried meats, fat, and other ingredients can be added.
Savory and sweet, dumplings like our recipe for houskový knedlík are now considered part of the Czech national culinary heritage. For such an esteemed dish, Czech bread dumplings are simply made with flour, milk, eggs, and stale bread cubes, which are formed into a loaf or roll. They are then boiled, sliced, and served. They’re perfect for soaking up lots of gravy and are typically served with roasted pork loin, roast pork with sauerkraut, roast goose, roast duck, chicken paprikash, roast beef and dill sauce, and goulash. But a warm dumpling with your favorite gravy is still as good as it gets.
All bread dumplings serve as a doughy and pillowy side to saucy preparations like soups, stews, and roasted and braised meats. Most countries in the region have a version, and newer variations use other types of flour besides wheat to cater to a broader audience. Although most dumplings are simply boiled and served, some are later pan-fried and used as appetizers alongside charcuterie items like salami, ham, cheese, sauerkraut, and mustard, or other similar sauces. For this recipe, we recommend using good-quality sliced white bread. And if you have leftovers, brown them in butter and sprinkle them with sugar for a special breakfast treat.
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the cooking water
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
10 slices white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
Gravy, for serving
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Whisk together egg yolks and milk in a separate medium bowl.
Pour the egg-milk mixture into the bowl with flour.
Work the dough—with a Danish dough whisk, hands, or a stand mixer with the dough hook—until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a slow boil.
Work the 4 cups of bread cubes into the batter by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook until well incorporated.
Dough and bread cubes mixed in a large glass bowl
The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
Shape the dough using floured hands into 3 or 4 rolls that are about 8 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.
Carefully slip the rolls into the water once it is boiling, giving them a stir so they don’t stick. If the pot doesn’t comfortably fit all the rolls, boil them in batches.
Reduce heat, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes. Cooking the rolls at a rapid boil can cause them to disintegrate.
Remove 1 dumpling from the pot using a slotted spoon after 10 minutes of cooking and test for doneness by cutting through the middle of the dumpling with a thread or sharp knife. The dumpling is done when the knife comes out almost clean after slicing it.
Remove the dumplings one by one when done and slice into 3/4-inch pieces using either a thread or sharp knife. Repeat until all dumplings are removed from the water and sliced.
Serve warm with gravy and garnish with fresh parsley.