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It's that time of year. The seasons are changing and I've got myself a cold, for which there is no better culinary cure than matzo ball soup.

I can make a pretty mean chicken stock, but my matzo balls leave something to be desired. The Manischewitz directions yield something to eat with a knife and fork. I've tried seltzer water, but it hardly seems to help, and I miss out on the goodness from the stock. How do I get my matzo balls to be light and fluffy?

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Follow-up: While boiling yesterday, I realized what my problem was. I tasted one part-way through cooking and it was still hard as a rock. I let it simmer into oblivion. I ended up boiling them for about 40 minutes and at that point they were finally light and fluffy. –  Ray Feb 20 '11 at 13:09
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5 Answers 5

The key to fluffy matzo balls is very simple. The density is directly related to the egg/matzo meal ratio. Too much matzo meal makes a golf ball. So, what you should do is add matzo meal according to whatever recipe you use less 1 or 2 tablespoons; mix and then add matzo meal a little at a time until you just "feel" the mixture change to a slightly stiffer mix. Ultimately, the mixture needs to be just thick enough to form a ball after refrigeration.

Then refrigerate for 30 minutes and make the balls and boil away.

The biggest problem with making matzo balls is that different matzo meals behave differently. Therefore a recipe with an exact amount may not work; therefore the need to adjust by "feel."

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+1 Very clear technique lesson. –  Ray Feb 22 '11 at 20:16
    
nice answer, but to be complete I would add that cold balls need to be added to boiling water. Balls won't fluff if they are brought to a boil. –  David Feb 23 '11 at 3:32
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Very true and even tastier if boiled in chicken stock instead of water! –  Steve Chernoff Feb 24 '11 at 7:31
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Don't have enough points to up-vote ChernoffDad's answer, so posting it instead: he's absolutely right, as I just A-B tested it. My first batch was a drier mix and I got golf balls. Second batch ws borderline wet, but the time in the fridge allowed the mix to firm up enough to form balls, and they came out great: soft, fluffy, balls that puffed up >3x in size. –  Lil Bil Apr 2 '12 at 5:07
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I actually like the dense ones better (I know, heresy to some), but I've seen a number of suggestions for how to make fluffy ones.

In addition to using seltzer, some people recommend:

Try any of these you need, and send the dense ones to me! (Why is it that you always end up making the ones you don't like? Mine always turn out too fluffy for my tastes.)

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Appreciate the list of suggestions and links. –  Ray Feb 22 '11 at 20:16
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i'm no expert, but it sounds like you may be handling the balls too much (heh heh). try to compress them as little as possible. i usually refrigerate the batter before forming to help it stick together a little better without my hands touching them too much.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Everyone gave thoughtful and helpful answers, but when I went to get to cooking this weekend, I discovered that the problem I've been experiencing was actually another issue altogether. My problem was undercooking, plain and simple. I did incorporate Dani and ChernoffDad's techniques, and I can't say that they didn't help. However, the samples I tasted partway through cooking were not unlike my typical results. It was after extended cooking that these guys really softened up to my liking.

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Follow the recipe, roll the refrigerated matzoh mixture with oiled hands and make SURE to boil for 45 minutes covered. Better if boiled in chicken stock.

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