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This is one of those delicious recipes that can be ruined so easily. As I made it, I measured out the ingredients – this recipe is a very good one. I did an image search and honestly, I didn’t find one appetizing looking zsemlegombóc anywhere. Yet this is a simple side dish and not at all complicated to make. The first mistake people make is not preparing the bun-cubes. The other is adding too much liquid or an excessive amount of flour to the batter. Like everything else, zsemlegombóc has to have a certain texture; lightness with a little resistance when you bite into a tender dumpling. I also found that adding water to the batter instead of milk make for more attractive looking and better tasting dumplings. Hungarians use crusty buns for this recipe, not at all like the crusty buns we can get in Canada. The best substitution is a foot long piece of French bread, those skinny long Parisian style French breads. Today my friend from With a Glass pointed out that this was a good way to use up leftover French bread.

1 foot section of skinny French bread
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 heaping Tbsp dry parsley
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup bread flour

• Cut the French bread into 1/2 inch cubes with a sharp knife. This makes about 3 cups of bread cubes.
Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium heat.
• Add 2 Tbsp olive oil.
• Add the bread cubes and slowly dry them in the fry pan for about 6-8 minutes, turning often. The bread cubes will get a nice golden color, but none of it should be overdone. If you have a few burned pieces, discard the batch and start over. Don’t try to save some, because the burned flavour permeates the entire batch.
• Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
• Add the eggs, dry parsley, salt and the pepper.
• Add the water and crunch up the bread cubes. Let it rest for 4 minutes.
• Meanwhile put some water in a medium pot and place it on high heat.
• Add a couple of drops of oil to the water and bring to the boil.
• Finally add the bread flour to the bread mixture and kneed to combine.
• Divide dough into 8 parts.
• Wet your hands, shape a piece of dough into a ball and drop it into the boiling water.
• After all the dumplings rise to the top cook for 4-5 more minutes longer.
• Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and let dumplings drain.
• Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in the fry pan and place it on medium heat.
• Add the dumplings and heat through, shaking the pan occasionally and letting them slightly brown, but do not burn.
Serves 3-4


  1. These dumplings (balls?) look extraordinary. I think I have already heard of something similar (or maybe read in my Hungarian cookery book? For me they look extremely appetising and what a wonderful way to use up leftover bread!

  2. I was just leafing through my Culinaria Hungaria last night researching the walnut cake. [long story… I will post about it eventually] It has the photo and the recipe of bread dumplings, but it’s a little different from mine. Sissi you are brilliant! I have to confess I never made them to use up a chunk of day old French bread, I always turn those into breadcrumbs and what a waste when I could have made dumplings! The traditional way to serve them is with a vadas, sometimes I tend to repeat the same old and it takes someone like you to point out the obvious. Indeed, these would be good anytime with something saucy. I am going to add your comment to the main post.

  3. I remember having these only once. My grandmother prepared it to go along with a game stew (moose, I think). They were very good! Her's had actual cubes of bread in them so that when you cut them open the dry pieces of bread cubes were a great medium to soak up and hold the sauce from the stew that went along with it.

  4. My father used to make these and the picture here is the closest I have seen online to what I used to eat. Dad would often use thick toast as it was quicker than frying bread and less chance of burning. He would never have used olive oil as that would not be the traditional way and the flavour would be too noticeable. Lard was the fat of choice, not healthy, perhaps, but delicious. We never used parsley, but that may only have been because I cannot stand the stuff.

    They were also very big and somewhat firmer than English suet dumplings. They were not heavy, but they did not simply fade away or dissolve into the sauce too quickly. Only really had these with a big pan of sauerkraut with three kinds of meat and paprika roux.




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