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I'm really impressed how here in Bavaria people can cook some delicious things... Well I fell in love with Käsespätzle. I keep having trouble making them just like at the restaurant, where no matter what, the chef doesn't want to tell me his secrets.

I basically buy the Spätzle at the supermarket, let them cook 1 minute in salted and boiling water, then put them (without water of course) in a wok with some olive oil. Meanwhile I "fry" onions chopped into small rings in a bit of oil until they become brown, and I prepare some grated Gouda cheese. I put onions and cheese on the Spätzle and I stir until the cheese melts. Easy.

The difference between mine and the restaurant's are the following:

  • The Röstzwibeln ("fried onions") are not totally crunchy
  • The consistency of the Spätzle is somehow different
  • The entirety doesn't seem to develop crunchy sides after the last steps

While I'm ok with the fact that the supermarket-Spätzle cannot be super-good, I don't get how to cook the onion and I feel that I'm using a wrong cheese (beware: I don't want CREAMY stuff, I want the CRUNCHY one!).

Can anybody help?

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In order to get crispy-crunchy fried onions, you need to deep-fry them at a high temperature. Pan frying just won't get them crunchy, they'll just get softer and softer as they get browner and browner. I don't know where you are from, but we have a product in the US that is ubiquitous in late fall, particularly on the Thanksgiving table. Perhaps something like this could give an effect more like what you want?

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Here's an Amazon search that shows similar products from all over the world.

You say you know that supermarket-spatzle can't be super good, so I am not even going to go there. I'm sure you could find highly rated recipes yourself.

As far as cheese having crunch, the key there is to not stir it while it is getting a bit brown, either under the broiler or on the stovetop (or both, to get crunchy surfaces on both the top and bottom). Also consider using aged Gouda instead of young. That will reach a crunchiness faster, and the flavor will be more intense, allowing you to use less, which will also make it easier to get crunchy.

EDIT: Another thing you can do to get crunchy cheese is to bake it into crisps first, then crunch them up and sprinkle them onto (and into) your completed, or nearly completed, dish. That way you can get melty (with the same cheese baked in) and crunchy if you'd like. That will work with any hard, aged cheese like Parmesan or aged Gouda.

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That picture is from Giada De Laurentiis's recipe for Parmesan Crisps.

  • I live in Bavaria, but since I'm a stranger here I'm not used to the German cooking... So, we have too those Röstzwibeln. But these I'd prefer not to use and fry my own thing. So you basically say only to put the onion in a deep pan with hot oil... Is it enough? Also could you give me some advice on the Gouda cheese?What do you mean for "seasoned"?The one I buy is always 3 to 6 months seasoned, but I have no clue of that means young or anything else.Some recipes also include Emmentaler. Which is best? – Noldor130884 Oct 23 '14 at 5:07
  • I have read that red onions crisp up better than other types of onions. Also, you probably want oil temperature at about 190C or even higher. Keep the onions moving while in the oil, and be ready to quickly drain them well, first on a rack, then on paper bags. – Jolenealaska Oct 24 '14 at 1:47
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    @Noldor130884 The aged cheese is more flavorful. Gouda can be found aged for as long as 5 years, although I have never had it aged that long. At 18 months, the flavor is powerful, and the cheese is much harder than Gouda that has not been aged. I'm not a huge fan of Emmentaler anyway, but it seems to me that it would melt too creamy for what you are looking for. The aged cheese (and I very much like aged Gouda) is going to be a lot easier to get crispy. – Jolenealaska Oct 24 '14 at 1:50
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    So I managed to prepare them yesterday: even though if the aged gouda wasn't that good (I will eventually try another brand), it melted exactly to the point it began to go crunchy. About the onions: I sliced them, CAREFULLY rinsed and added salt and sugar. Then I basically fried them like you would with french fries. I'm happy to say: IT WORKED! – Noldor130884 Nov 17 '14 at 14:21
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I don't have much to add on the subject of onions and cheese, but making your own Spätzle is not that difficult and totally worth the trouble. I use this recipe from The Galley Gourmet, and have found it to be very similar to what I've eaten in Bavaria.

  • Thanks Marie-Claire. My aim is to obtain the best similarity to the ones I eat in the restaurant here, but also to keep it a "fast-to-serve" dish. – Noldor130884 Oct 23 '14 at 5:10
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    They can become fast to serve if you have a potato-press like this one: chefline.co.uk/images/Potato-Press.jpg! The dough is really whipped up quickly, and you can shape the Spätzle with the press. I have yet to find store-bought Spätzle that match the home-made ones. Also.. I may eat Spätzle today! – Layna Oct 23 '14 at 7:23
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About the onions:

I have not made them this way for a while, but: Prepare them by covering them in sugar and some salt (I never had any measurements... sugar/salt ratio tended do depend on what I was planning to do with them) and leaving them standing like that for a bit while your oil/fat heats up.

When frying-time comes, the onions should be quiet moist on the outside. Cover your onions in flour, and fry in lots of fat. Place them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess fat you will have.

If anyone has a hint on sugar/salt ratios or frying-times, please comment, my only possible advice is: mix to taste, and fry till crispy.

  • I heard about the sugar trick more than once in order to make them brownish... But it doesn't work making them crunchier. I think flour and deep pan is the way. I'll try again this weekend – Noldor130884 Oct 31 '14 at 7:17

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