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Making Egg Noodles

I made noodles for the first time. I don't know why I was intimidated by them. They ended up being the easiest thing to make and were so satisfying to eat. (So easy a two-year old and 12-year-old could do it... see photo below.) Many, many times I have had recounted to me the story of a person's mother or grandmother making noodles and the fond memories of seeing the rolled out sheets of dough hanging over the backs of chairs or drying flat on top of a bed.

In their book Krasna Amerika: A Study of the Texas Czechs  1851-1939, Clint Machann and James Mendl wrote "Soup (polevka) was an important part of the noon meal (obed). Rolled-out, paper-thin egg noodle dough, spread on a table or draped over chairs, was a common sight in a Czech home. After drying, the sheet of dough was rolled out and cut into thin strips, to be used in various kinds of noodle soup." (pages 140-141)

I don't remember my grandmother making noodles, but my mother remembers her Aunt Bessie doing it and being so quick, so skillful at slicing the dough strips into the super thin noodles, maybe 2 inches long.  I wrote above that the process was easy, but I didn't say I was good at it. I can see why it might take years of practice to roll the dough out thin enough and to slice the strips fine enough to have a respectable noodle and go down in the annals of family lore.

I recently found this SUPER FANTASTIC website on Slovak cooking and the author has a really wonderful visual story about the noodle process. If you're thinking of making them yourself, you should look at it for reference.

Immediately below is the recipe I used mainly because it made a small quantity... enough for just one pot of soup that served four generously. It was easy enough to put the recipe together and roll out the noodles to dry before starting the soup. Then I just checked the dough periodically until it was dry, but still a pliable. I sliced the noodles up and let them dry more while my soup simmered on the back on the stove on a Sunday afternoon. Seriously, the endeavor was easy (and fun) enough that making several batches at one time and having them in the pantry would be very doable.

Homemade Noodles (Nudle)
From Generation to Generation: Czech Foods, Customs, and Traditions, Texas Style
published by the Historical Society of the Dallas Czech Club, 1980

1 egg
pinch of salt
flour (enough to make very stiff dough)

Combine egg, salt and flour and knead until very smooth. Take a small ball of dough and roll out until very thin and even. Spread out to dry. (At home we always put a clean sheet on top of the bed and had noodles drying.) When the dough is almost dry, but still pliable, roll it up and cut into any width you prefer.)

Putting the two-year old to work kneading the noodle dough.

Noodles drying on a pillow case... note my extremely uneven cutting.
Getting these ultra thin and uniform would take years of practice!

Luckily, they tasted the same no matter what they looked like.
Swimming in a homemade broth,  they were so yummy. 

There are lots of interesting bits of info about noodles and chicken soup in this blog post/comment string, too.

There are also many, many more recipes and I'm interested in the variations. Here are a couple...

Noodles (Egg)
From Mrs. Mat. Rozypal, Sinton, Texas from Memorial Book and Recipes from the Czech Catholic Home for the Aged in Hillje, Texas, 1957 (reprinted in Recipes Old and New by the K.J.T., 1996)

Use as many egg yolks as you desire. For each egg yolk measure 1/2 egg shell of water. Whip up egg and water, add mix flour into mixture until it is impossible to get anymore in. Now lay out on floured board and toll out as thin as possible (one sixteenth inch or less). Roll up and cut in strips and lay out to dry. If desired you may spread the whole sheet out over a line or chair back and let dry before cutting.

From Joyce Macha (Mrs. Simon) Bartos from Our Favorite Recipes sponsored by the Ft. Bend County Czech Heritage Society, Rosenburg, Texas, no publication date

3 eggs

Beat eggs and add enough flour to make a thick dough that feels like pastry dough and can be rolled out real thin in pastry-sized flats. Let dry on sheet and cut fine into noodles. he let dry for several hours before putting to freeze for later soup making. To cook, place in boiling, salted water until done. Cook liek spaghetti. Add to chicken broth for good chicken soup. his recipe was given to my mother, Edna Horecka Macha, by my Daddy's sister-in-law, Annie Klima Macha, in the 1930s.


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