Sunday, March 1, 2009

Making Knipfle

A favorite dinner of ours is Knipfle. It's German for noodles, though I just know it from my Gramma Loretta, who says, "ki-NIP-fla". I only know this word orally but poking around online, I found spellings Kinipffla, and Knepfla. She and my Grampa Bob grew up speaking low German in a small town in North Dakota and foods like this are one of the only remaining elements in the family of our German roots.
Knipfle are chewy noodles, filling and unctuous. They're cheap, and made only with things that tend to be in the house anyway (handy when one's run out of meat and fresh veg and fruit, and pulling together dinner!) Ezra calls them "sticky noodles". It may be the love of my teeth sinking into knipfle that has driven my love of chewy foods.
for an actual recipe, look it up as "German egg noodles" in the Joy of Cooking, but here's how I make them:
in a small mixing bowl, stir together with a fork
several handfuls of flour
two generous pinches of salt
a dash of parsley
and a dash of nutmeg. (I've had questions about this: a dash is when your spice jar has a top with holes on it and you shake it once )
dig a hole in the center of the pile of flour.
break an egg or three in this hole
beat the egg up with a fork. as I beat, flour will be incorporated into the egg; let it. Mix until a soft dough forms. I usually add extra water; if too wet extra flour could be added instead. Knead for a few minutes. It's often quite sticky, and requires generous flouring, especially for children.
Now I usually drop a puddle of olive oil in my mixing bowl and roll the dough in it so it doesn't dry out while I work on some other thing for a bit. If I'll be a while, I've found it's best to put the noodle dough in a plastic bag in the fridge.
When I come back to it, I knead it until it feels stretchy. It gets smooth and feels quite like skin!
I take this elastic dough, cut it into a few pieces and begin to roll them out into ropes about the thickness of my finger. When a piece of dough gets too long for my bread board, I cut it in half so I can roll it comfortably.
Knipfle can be cooked in plain water, or it's great in chicken soup or broth. When the broth or water is boiling vigorously, I take a snake of dough and cut it into pieces maybe the length of the first joint of my finger. Gramma Loretta says, "you cut them as small as you can." I cut these straight into the boiling pot. Usually the kids like to cut some too, over a bread board, and I put these in as well.
Kids can make these start to finish with a little direction; scooping handfuls of flour, pinching salt, stirring the dry ingredients, beating the egg, kneading, rolling, and cutting dough. Both our two year old and our four year old can cut knipfle.
If your kids are anything like mine, they will enjoy also the eating! Mine like their knipfle in broth, or plain with ketchup. They are good with sour cream and salt or baked with cheese and buttered bread crumbs. Also would make a nice side for kraut and sausage, or roasted veg or meat, in stew or with gravy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My German Grandmother in Medicine Hat Alberta used to make Knipfle, and she pronounced it the same way you did. I was beginning to think it was something she made up. So glad to find your recipe for one of my childhood favorites!