Guest Recipe: Sourdough Spätzle

An illustrated recipe by Johanna Kindvall

We’ve got another guest recipe this week, the second one from my friend Johanna Kindvall (who gave us her sourdough knäckebröd recipe last fall). This time around it’s sourdough spätzle (Johanna is an umlaut-exclusive recipe developer).

If you don’t already know them, spätzle are eggy noodles that originate in Eastern Europe. The word means “little sparrow” in Swabian, a German dialect, because— when they are made the traditional way, by scraping the dough off of a board using a knife or bench scraper—they look a bit like small birds.

Spätzle are easy to make, and delicious, whether served alone as a pasta tossed with a little butter and cheese, as a starch alongside a saucy stew or braise, or as a noodle for soups. As Johanna illustrates, you can form them all sorts of ways, using a dedicated spätzle maker, a spätzle “lid”, a wide-holed colander or perforated spoon and a flexible dough scraper, or the aforementioned dough scraper and cutting board.

And as Johanna mentions, this recipe works with fresh or “aged” excess starter. If you don’t have any on hand, just mix up a batch—50g flour, 50g water, and 50g starter should do the trick—and let it proof until at least doubled before using.

I’ll let Johanna take it from here. Thank you for sharing, J!


(PDF download)

If you are looking for a good use of the excess amount of sourdough starter that is about to take over your refrigerator I suggest making spätzle (translates from German to “little sparrow”). It’s easy and delicious. I think that the starter gives these classic egg noodles a more interesting flavor.

I suggest serving spätzle with goulash or any other meat or vegetable stew. Cooked noodles can be lightly sauteed with butter or baked with cheese in the oven. I also like them dropped into a bowl of soup (especially beet soup) just before serving.

Johanna’s recipe notes:

  • Any hydration of the starter works, just adjust with more flour or water to get the right consistency.

  • Both sleepy or lively starters will work in this recipe.

  • I suggest all-purpose flour but spelt flour or a combination of all-purpose and rye flour works well too. 

Sourdough Spätzle

serves 2

2 large eggs

pinch salt

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

150g (100% hydration) sourdough starter

105g all-purpose flour (plus more if needed)

about 3 tablespoons water (if needed)

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs with a pinch of salt and nutmeg, add the starter and stir until well-combined. Fold in the flour a little at the time and mix until you have a smooth and stretchy thick batter (neither too wet or too stiff). If the batter feels too thick or dough like, add water or adjust with more flour if the batter isn’t thick enough.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then salt generously. Work in 2 or 3 batches, using your preferred method (spätzle lid, colander, or perforated spoon) to press the thick batter through with a spatula or dough scraper. You can also use a generously moist wooden chopping board and “cut” the noodles directly into the pot. When the noodles float up to the surface, let them cook for another minute or so. With a sieve or slotted spoon transfer the noodles to a bowl (if you like, mix in butter or olive oil to prevent them from sticking to each other). Clean the lid between the batches with cold water. Continue cooking the rest of the noodles until all have been cooked.