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Assistant Cook
Apr 11, 2004
Sure could use some advice. My efforts to make flour based dumplings for a chicken or a beef stew fail miserably. As soon as they hit the hot liquid they start to absorb it like a piece of fresh bread and I end up with a pot full of soggy mush. I've tried steaming the raw dumplings first to "harden" up the surface but all this did was delay for a very short time the trip to mushdom. One cookbook says "...avoid putting dumplings directly in the hot broth....". I can't figure out how to cook them in the stew without putting them in the broth.

Is there somebody who can give me a bit of advice - or a lead on where I can get a little smarter? I sure like dumplings but not when they swell up to fill the whole pot!!
I am no expert and have never made dumplings before... but maybe smaller dumplings?
I need some more information, Can you post your dumpling recipe, or tell me if the raising agent is self raising flour or if it's yeast? YOu could have more success with a yeast based dumpling. Also what fat is in the dumpling. Butter and selfraising flour make light dumplings, but they end up being sponges and falling apart. Lard or suet and yeast based dumplings tend to be more resilient and keep their shape.

And is your broth a light liquid or thicker like a gravy? The lighter the liquid the more of it is going to be absorbed into your dumpling and the mush potential is greater.

Good luck!
A few tips on getting firmer dumplings:

Less liquid in the recipe
Less leavener - I use none
Make sure your broth is fully simmering
Let your dumpling batter sit a while for the starches to fully hydrate
My grandmother used to freeze the suckers.... then threw them in boiling hot water. Took them out and put them in the actual entree at the very end of the cooking process. I remember cause I used to steal them while they were cooling. :) I ate about 7 or 8 of them once. She wanted to kiil me! :LOL:
When I make dumplings, I drop them right onto meats or veggies that are at the top of the stew. They should kind of sit half into the liquid and half above. Maybe you have too much broth. You could try taking some out and then after the dumplings steam...put it back. I put the lid on after I drop them in ...to steam them. The batter should be a little thinner than a bisciut dough. In fact, something you might want to try is to use a biscuit mix like Jiffy and add a little extra milk (to thin it some) and parsley (for a little color). That will make a fairly nice dumpling for stew. I have a sister that does that. Good Luck ;)
skippysan said:
I am no expert and have never made dumplings before... but maybe smaller dumplings?

I thought they were already small but I will try smaller on one of my next trials.....


My recipe is;-
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

I tried first with a chicken recipe that had a somewhat thickened broth (thickened by starting with a roux). But the absorbtion of the liquid caused me to try next with a unthickened beef broth in a very liquidy stew. Again, the liquid was absorbed and the dumplings became dirigibles!

Prior to this recipe, I had tried a similar recipe except it had 3 Tbsp shortening (I think I used margerine) and then steamed them for 5 minutes before adding them to the stew. But they were so solid and heavy I could of used them for paper weights! Perhaps I need to find a better balance.....


I make stews with a lot of liquid - and that might be my problem. Your suggestion about removing the liquid and then returning it after these little guys harden sounds like it would be worth a try.

Sorry but adjusting the liquid will not provide you with a solution. Steaming the dumplings mirrors the low moisture approach and that has done nothing to solve your problems.

That recipe has way too much liquid and possibly too much baking powder as well. It seems to me almost thin enough to pour. Cut the buttermilk in half and use 1 t. of baking powder and you'll be fine. And some sort of fat might help in the flavor department. Add 2 T. of butter (not margarine - that stuff'll kill you).

Or, better yet, go with the dense recipe (replacing butter for the shortening of course) and add 1 T. of buttermilk and 1/4 t. baking powder each time you make it until the dumplings are tender and fluffy enough for you without disintegrating. Note: puffiness comes from the baking powder, tenderness from the buttermilk.

Thanks for the advice. Looks like a lot of interesting specific changes that I can try.

Herb Dumplings

Here's my recipe for the dumplings:

Herb Dumplings

3 tablespoons shortening
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 cup milk

Cut shortening into flour, baking powder, salt, sage and thyme until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk. Drop by spoonfuls onto hot beef or vegetables in stew. Do not drop directly into liquid. Cook uncovered over low heat 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer.

This is a recipe I got from a very dear old friend years ago and it has never failed me yet. It is great in soups and stews. The dumplings do not turn to mush. 1egg beaten,1/3cup milk,1cup flour. Add 1/4tap salt. Stir with a fork until thick. Drop by tsp into boiling broth. cover and cook 12 to 15 min. you can bigger dumplings and let them cook longer. Give em a try, they are great. Just made some with sweet and sour cabbage over them. YUM :D
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