Recipe: Pumpernickles’ Matzo Balls


Pumpernickles matzo ball soup was so popular, they made 50 gallons a week. According to owner Brad Hartman, “My matzo balls won’t kill anyone – they’re not hard as a brick. They’re also not zero substance. They’re just right!”

Matzo Balls

SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 24, 1996
YIELD: 12 to 14 balls


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups matzo meal (see note)


In a medium bowl, stir together the eggs, oil and water.

In a large bowl, stir together baking powder, 1 pinch salt and matzo meal Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with your hands or a spatula until well-incorporated with only a few small lumps remaining.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. (This step is important. If you try to cook the balls without letting them set, they will be leaden and never cook in the center.)

Bring about 2 gallons of water to a simmer in a covered pot large enough to hold the matzo balls without crowding and deep enough so that they may float. Your largest soup pot is ideal. You may have to use two pots. Lightly salt the water.

Oil your hands lightly with vegetable oil. Scoop up about 3 tablespoonfuls of mix and roll lightly between your hands to form a ball. Drop into the simmering water, repeating until all the mix is used. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Avoid a rapid boil. To test doneness, cut a ball in half. The color should be even throughout the matzo ball. If the center is dark, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve in bowls of chicken soup.

(If you will not be the using the matzo balls within a few minutes, drop them into a bowl of ice water. They will hold in this water for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat for a few minutes in hot chicken soup.)

Note: During Passover, omit the baking powder. Add another pinch of salt and increase cooking time by 5 minutes. Pumpernickles used Manischewitz-brand matzo meal because the slightly coarser grind makes for a better texture in the balls.