German Soup Dumplings (Maultaschen)
Beef, Dumplings, Pork, Soups, Swabian

German soup dumplings (‘Maultaschen’)

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Last Updated on 4 months by Tim

Today’s recipe is a very special one. I’m going to show you how to make German soup dumplings from scratch. They’re not as delicate and tiny as their Italian and Chinese counterparts. Instead, they’re large, hearty, and served inside a rich beef broth.

It’s a recipe from the Southern parts of Germany. It was originally invented to hide the meat from the gods during the fasting season. I mean, who can blame the monks for their meat cravings?

Up until today they remain insanely popular and are part of nearly every Southern German restaurant menu. Making these dumplings from scratch, however, seems to be on the way of getting a forgotten art. They’re readily available as instant food and for a lot of people the process seems to be too involved. But let me tell you, these are 100 times easier to make than ravioli or wontons.

German Maultaschen are wrapped in noodle dough

If you’re familiar with making your own pasta, preparing the dough will be a breeze. It’s the same egg pasta dough that is used to wrap ravioli. The basic ratio is 1 egg to 3.5 ounces (100 g) of flour. Add some olive oil and salt, and there you have it, homemade noodle dough.

For making noodle dough, I recommend you to use German-style dumpling flour, also known as spätzle flour or “griffiges Mehl” in Germany. This flour is similar to cake flour (German Type 405) but it is milled more coarsely and the dough, therefore, retains a little bite when cooked and the dough sheets won’t stick to the pasta machine. If you don’t have access to dumpling flour, substitute cake or all-purpose flour instead.

If you google the word ‘dumpling flour’, the first recommendations are usually for Chinese-style dumpling flour. But this is not the flour you are looking for. This is one is milled very finely to a powder and it’s usually bleached so the dumplings are unnaturally white. Don’t use that. Look for coarsely-milled wheat flour.

When mixing the dough, don’t add additional water too early. It will look like your dough won’t come together at first, however, after a few minutes of kneading you will see that all the flour gets incorporated. The worst thing you can do is add too much water to your dough so that it later sticks to your pasta machine.

It’s important to let your dough rest for at least half an hour to let the flour fully hydrate. Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter or in the fridge for longer rests. It’s impossible to roll out tense and unevenly hydrated noodle dough thin enough without breaking it. Don’t rush this step.

The filling is a mixture of ground meat and bratwurst

It’s best to prepare your filling while the noodle dough rests. The traditional way to fill these German soup dumplings is with a mixture of ground meat, bratwurst filling, and wilted spinach.

Make sure your ground meat isn’t too lean. It should have about 30 % fat content which is the usual amount for mixed ground meat that consists of half pork and half beef.

You can take any pale bratwurst you can locally source. Remove the casing and finely mince the filling. It’s best to use a food processor for this but it can also be done by hand.

After you’ve mixed together all the ingredients for your filling, always make sure to taste it. You cannot adjust the seasoning later on. I have no problem tasting the raw filling. However, in case you’re not into tasting raw meat and bratwurst, pan-fry a small burger patty and taste the cooked filling. Then, decide if the filling needs more salt. But be careful, bratwurst is usually very salty already.

Tips for assembling your soup dumplings

For rolling out the dough, it’s best to use a pasta machine. In case you’re unfamiliar with the process of rolling out pasta dough, Serious Eats has a great tutorial on that topic.

There’s no correct way of how thin your dough should be. Roll it out to your desired thickness. Remember that the dough will get thicker as it cooks. So it’s best to stay on the thinner side. You want it to be a little transparent like you can see on the recipe picture. Just remember to make your Maultaschen wrapper a little thicker than me, in case you have something to hide from the gods.

Once you’ve rolled out your dough, it’s time to assemble your dumplings. Fill your noodle dough by spreading the filling on the upper third of the dough sheet and then roll it towards you. Seal the edges by brushing on a little water and divide it into smaller dumplings. The process for forming the dumplings is nicely illustrated in the video below:

However, please note that they use too little filling and don’t roll the dough tightly enough. Here are my reference pictures for the proper amount of filling:

How to cook and serve German soup dumplings

The dumplings can either be cooked directly inside the beef broth you’re going to serve them with or separately in lightly simmering water. I prefer cooking them separately to keep my broth clear.

Don’t let your water or broth boil too heavily or your dumplings might fall apart. You just want to steep them inside the hot liquid until the filling is cooked through which usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Make sure your broth or water is lightly salted so that the flavor and seasoning remain inside the dumplings.

The traditional way to serve them is in a rich beef broth along with a Swabian potato salad. The potato salad is supposed to be added to the broth at the table. You can see the proper way to eat Maultaschen in the recipe picture. Now, of course, I don’t want to be pretentious. Everyone should enjoy the food however he or she likes. But if you’re eating them alongside as two separate dishes you’re missing out on a great experience.

4 Comments

  1. What a great, easy and comforting dish! I usually have most of these ingredients on hand so I can’t wait to try your soup soon.

  2. Sehen süper aus , wir essen sie gerne

  3. Pingback: Goulash soup ('Gulaschsuppe') - My German Table

  4. Pingback: How Germany lost thousands of years of culinary knowledge - My German Table

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