Spaetzle (traditionally written in German as spätzle) is a hybrid somewhere between a dumpling and a noodle. They are typically made with eggs, flour, and salt, but water should be added if you are looking for a thinner dough.
Traditionally, spätzle are made by cutting the dough into little bitesize pieces and then cooking them in a pot of boiling salted water. Once the pieces rise to the surface of the water, they are skimmed and put aside until ready to serve.
Due to the preparation and cooking process taking a long time, there were several utensils created to simplify the process and cut down the time. Three of the most widely used devices are:
A strainer type (spätzlesieb)
A Grater type (spätzlehobel)
A Ricer (or a Press) (type spätzlepresse)
This article aims to describe all three of these products while providing recommendations on which is best for you to begin your spätzle making-journey at home.
Strainer Type Spaetzle Makers
These devices use a round screen, typically made out of plastic or stainless steel, which has holes that will cut the dough into the required size – usually 0.3 inches in diameter.
Cooking the spätzle is a fairly easy process with this type of device, simply place the screen over a pot of boiling water, and then place the dough on top of the screen. Using a scraper, or anything of that nature, the dough is pressed through the holes and will drop into the pot. Let the spätzle cook, you will know it is done when it rises to the surface of the water, and then take them out and reserve for serving.
When looking for a good strainer type of spätzle maker, there is no one better than the German brand, Küchenprofi. Küchenprofi’s spätzle maker has a specialised rim that is able to fit over any size of pot you may have. The device comes with a scraper, so you do not need to worry about finding one, and the device has a diameter of 10.5 inches. On top of this, it is dishwasher safe and is made of 18/10 stainless steel.
Grater Type Spaetzle Makers
This piece of equipment consists of two separate parts; a dough box, and a rectangular plate with holes for grating on the top (imagine a cheese or vegetable grater.) There are longitudinal tracks for the dough box to slide back and forth on, this ensures accurate and uniform preparation. The plate is typically 30 centimeters in length and made of plastic or stainless steel.
Making spätzle with this device is almost the exact same as using a strainer-type device. Place your dough into the box while the plate is above a pot of boiling water, and then guide the box back and forth on the tracks to push it through. The tracks ensure that all your spätzle are the same size and shape when they fall into the water.
The dough’s viscosity and the speed with which you use the grater are important factors in how long your spätzle will be. Once again, the German brand, Küchenprofi, is the best choice, as they also make grater-type spätzle makers. As with the strainer device, they are made with 18/10 stainless steel and are dishwasher safe. They are 4½ inches wide by 12 inches long.
Ricer (or Press) Type Spätzle Makers
Another product that helps in making the production of spätzle much faster and easier, a ricer type spätzle maker can be the more expensive option. This device uses the process of pressure, applied from top-down, to create a fast and simple way to produce spätzle. Typically, it is a small pot with holes on the bottom, this is where the dough goes, and then a handle/lever is attached which is what applies pressure on the dough.
Although these types of devices can be used for making other kinds of food, such as mashed potatoes, you should never use a product designed for mashed potatoes to make spätzle. Spätzle requires specific sizes of holes to be pushed through, and by using a different device, you would be left with large globs of dough rather than delicate spätzle.
Germany produces the best ricer-type spätzle makers on the market, a popular favourite of Amazon customers is the Westmark Germany Classic spätzle maker which comes with the following features:
The maker itself is able to hold a large amount of dough, and the layout design of the holes will result in classic spätzle.
It is durable; made of coated aluminum, and is 400 x 85 x 110 millimeters.
The two separate parts can be easily dismantled which makes for easier cleaning.
The flattened handle makes for easy gripping, while three grooves allow the device to grip onto any size of pot.
On top of spätzle, it can also be used to make mashed potatoes and purees. It can also be used as a fruit press/
A Quick Spätzle Recipe
3 cups of flour
½ cup of water
1 teaspoon of salt
Fill a pot with water, add salt and bring to a boil.
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well until you see air bubbles.
Make sure to rinse your spätzle press with cold water before adding the dough. (When making large quantities of spätzle, rinse the press in between filling.)
Fill the device with your dough.
Slowly press the dough through the press into the boiling water. For short spätzle, hold the press 2 to 3 inches above the water, for long spätzle, hold it 4 to 5 inches above.
Once the spätzle rises to the top of the water, skim them out with a spoon and rinse them in water.
Set them aside and they are ready for serving!
Clean your device immediately after use, using cold water to thoroughly rinse.