I make spätzle (German noodles) often enough that I don't need a recipe to put them together. It's not a rough go - flour, salt, eggs, and just enough water to make the consistency stiffer than batter and not so stiff as dough. I know it's right by how it feels when I pull up on the wooden spoon. The dough is pressed through a spätzle machine into boiling water and is done when the noodles rise to the top. Easy!
So, imagine my confusion when the batch for tonight's dinner came out more like oatmeal than like noodles. I thought maybe the dough was a bit too wet, so I added flour. Then I thought maybe the water wasn't boiling enough? I turned up the heat and waited until there was a roiling boil...but still got sticky goo. The dough was fine. It tasted right and it felt right. The water was ok (how wrong can you go with boiling water?). Chris thought maybe it was the weather but I've made spätzle in all weathers - it's not fickle like pie crusts.
And then, my eyes landed on my new stack of ice cream bowls. Which made me think of ice cream bread - a recipe we've tried a few times that uses self-rising flour. Which made me think of last week, when I was stuck working in town and Chris made Cherry Stuff for a dessert party at a neighbor's house. Drawing all this together in my head, I finally asked Chris if we still had the ice-cream bread flour (I had it stuck in an inconvenient place, so it wouldn't be confused with all-purpose flour in the bin I use all the time). Chris immediately looked into the inconvenient cupboard and reported that, no, the weird flour wasn't there anymore. So much for having it hidden!
So, a word to the wise (or at least to those cooking spätzle): Use all-purpose flour. Self-rising flour just doesn't work.