The Real Dough Nuts

Swift, Tammy. "The Real Dough Nuts." Forum, 17 September 2006, sec. B-1.

Those Germans from Russia always found ways to gild the knoephla.

Not only did they make cheese buttons, but they fried them in butter. Not only did they make custard, but they then poured it inside a yeasty sweet bread.

Of course, we conveniently forget their heavy foods served a purpose many years ago. They needed sustenance to milk cows and plow fields and build barns out of rock. Besides, all that dough kept them from blowing away during blizzards.

Nowadays these heritage dishes are, by necessity, an occasional treat. If we ate a fleischkeuchle (translation: deep-fried meat cookie) every day, then spent the afternoon before the computer, we would create a super-mutated race of 800-pound office worker. Our daily 15-minute breaks would be filled with sessions at the defibrillator machine. Our watercoolers would have to be filled with gravy.

You get the picture.

So now we simply eat these foods at special occasions. One of those old favorites includes buttered egg noodles. I remember when Mom used to make these with her trusty pasta maker. It was an all-day affair that required lots of stirring and kneading. After cutting out the noodles, she would drape them over the back of the kitchen chairs to dry. By the end of the day, wed be so covered with flour that we looked like Stay-Puft Marshmallow men.

My friend Noreen and I recently demonstrated these noodles to a high school family and consumer science class. Unlike moms recipe, these dont need to be dried. Just coat them with a little oil after cooking and freeze them in a well-sealed bag. When its time to heat them up, dump the frozen noodles into the boiling water.

Youll note these noodles are served with buttered bread crumbs. Proof, once again, that German-from-Russia cooks really knew how to use their noodles.

Egg Noodles with Buttered Bread crumbs

4 large or medium eggs (figure 1 egg per person and adjust other ingredients accordingly)

4 tablespoons olive oil or 100-percent canola oil

4 cups white flour or semolina

Stir together to form sticky dough. (If mixture is too crumbly, add extra oil and warm water a few teaspoons at a time.) Work with hands into a ball of dough. Knead dough well on a well-floured surface until smooth and non-sticky. (If its sticky at all, it will gum up the pasta maker.) Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil 4 quarts of water in stock pot. (Optional: Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, which will keep noodles from sticking together, to the water.)

Divide dough into 3 or 4 equal-sized pieces; flatten slightly and flour each side generously. Feed through well-floured pasta machine according to machine instructions. (Or roll out dough into oblong shape, about -inch thick, and cut into strips. You can also just cut off small wads of dough and drop them into the water to make knoephla, or dumplings.)

Put noodles into boiling water; cook until they float (this will only take a few minutes). Remove; drain and sprinkle with olive oil.

To make buttered breadcrumbs: In a separate frying pan, melt 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in crumbled bread and continue to fry, turning often, until crisp. When noodles are cooked and drained, add to skillet and cook, turning often. Add more butter, if needed.

Printed with permission of The Forum.

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