Co-founder of the company and co-author of the Great Dumpling Cookbook, Petr Kosiner, originally worked as a cook/waiter. He started cooking in Germany, where he got married in the 1990s. The Germans were “paf” from his bun dumplings, he said, on the contrary, he learned from them how best to prepare kloss or spečle.
Gingerbread or herbal? The main thing is the quality of raw materials and handwork
“Our children especially liked their raspberry and blueberry dumplings. We have been buying them at rohlik.cz for years. I love that they process them all by hand and put pieces of fruit in them. And you can tell that only from high-quality ingredients. They taste just like mom’s,” smiles one of the loyal customers of Knedlík Láznička, Pavel Jonáš from Prague.
Recently, he and his family used to buy various types of dumplings with the mentioned brand on the virtual farmers’ market scuk.cz.
They have already tried about thirteen varieties, including such delicacies as gingerbread, Hana cabbage or herb. “And we buy potatoes practically every week. Of course, you will pay a little more than if you buy a frozen semi-finished product, but the quality cannot be compared,” adds the grateful diner.
They continue a centuries-old family tradition: A small bookbinding workshop has grown into a prosperous company
He brushed off the past glory of dumplings
The company was founded at the end of 2012 – at a time when nutritionists mainly contributed to the unflattering image of the traditional Czech side dish and the quality of dumplings in Czech retail and most restaurants was not common. However, Petr Kosiner decided to brush off the well-deserved fame of Czech dumplings.
The story of Láznička Dumplings actually starts to be written in his childhood, when he enthusiastically peeked under his grandmother’s hands while making the dough. Cooking became his hobby and eventually his profession. Dumplings, whose preparation according to old family recipes, he didn’t want to keep to himself.
The creation of the company, which was supposed to bring a fresh wind with the scent of tradition to Czech gastronomy, did not take long. And the delicacies from Láznička immediately began to arouse interest. Today, the company offers customers more than 100 types of dumplings, of which over 350,000 packages will be produced this year.
Svihák spa by the stove
And how did the business, which he shares today in Prague’s Petrovice, get its name? “In the army, I did my service in the kitchen and I liked to sing along, most often Jiří Schelinger’s hit Švihák lázneský. That’s why I earned the nickname Láznička, which has stuck with me and given the name to the company as well,” says Petr Kosiner with a smile.
Already in 2014, we started publishing a dumpling series on our Facebook, today it has 245 episodes and is far from over
The co-founder of the company is investor Vladimír Zikmunda – a skillful strategist and businessman with an entrepreneurial spirit, who liked the potential of Kosiner’s idea and wanted to develop it further. Together, they started a dumpling adventure and at the same time started dumpling education.
“Back in 2014, we started publishing a dumpling series on our Facebook, today it has 245 episodes and is far from over. Dumplings are anything but boring. And many of them can also be included in modern healthy nutrition, which may surprise many. You can prepare excellent gluten-free variations, herbal or even pumpkin”, reveals a little of the richness of this delicacy, Vladimír Zikmunda.
At the same time, Láznička’s dumplings are based on honest ingredients. They use only freshly ground flour delivered directly from the mill. Czech potatoes from Vysočina and Polabí figure in the recipes. They basically add pieces of fruit to the fruit dumplings.
Smoked meat for the stuffed ones is prepared by a butcher to measure for them – exactly according to the chef’s requirements. They even bake their own pastry with a fine-tuned recipe, thanks to which the dumplings get the right taste.
Shortcuts do not lead to quality
“We are clear. From the beginning, we prepare the dumplings honestly, actually as if they were made at home. Shortcuts simply do not lead to quality and exceptional taste. No additives, substitutes, preservatives, added dyes or other chemicals. Our production remains a manual affair. We leave only the kneading and dividing of the dough to the machines,” explains Petr Kosiner.
The quality of the production is also confirmed by the laurels that the goodies from the Knedlíky Láznička workshop have collected over ten years. Since 2014, they have been continuously celebrating successes in the Česká chústovka and Dětská chústovka competitions, in which they have already won 33 awards.
This year, in the contest of tastes for those who follow a healthy diet, they presented brynzáky and also a gingerbread checkerboard dumpling for venison, which is inspired by the castle recipe from Konopiště.
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And what dumplings “from Láznička” can you enjoy today? You can find more than twenty types at the Rohlík.cz e-shop alone. There are now over fifty for restaurants. And the widest range of all is for catering, where the company offers more than 100 types of dumplings, always tailor-made for a specific event.
Big dumpling cookbook
Petr Kosiner also used the aforementioned know-how as a key co-author of the Big Dumpling Cookbook, which was requested by dumpling fans themselves, of whom the company already has over thirty-two thousand on its Facebook page.
“We decided to put the cookbook together during the pandemic, when people had to cook at home willy-nilly. We designed it in such a way that it would make the first steps easier for those new to Czech dumpling cuisine with simple and practical photo instructions and at the same time be a source of inspiration for even the most experienced ones,” reveals Petr Kosiner.
The cookbook contains 144 recipes covering both traditional Czech and modern dishes. “They reflect the availability of seasonal and locally produced ingredients that give this dish an absolutely unmistakable taste, whether it’s February or midsummer,” adds the chef.
Experimenting and playing with recipes
And where do they look for inspiration for all their recipes? They carefully research historical cookbooks, regional and family recipes and are not afraid to go abroad for research. Experimenting with recipes and including healthy and interesting ingredients is the right game for the whole team.
“Before, the skill of making a good dumpling was passed down from mother to daughter. It stopped working in the second half of the 20th century. Dumpling is a bit of a mystery to many. That’s why Jana Florentýna Zatloukalová, the author of the Cookbook for Daughter series, took over the first chapter in the Big Dumpling Cookbook, which introduces the reader step by step to the basics, points out possible mistakes and also explains the whole dumpling philosophy,” explains Vladimír Zikmunda.
According to Petr Kosiner, if one wants to prepare a perfect dumpling, one should stick to honest ingredients and carefully respect the preparation process.
“Every type of dumpling is a little different. A common mistake of beginners is that they try to cook for the whole family straight away. But I would recommend starting with one test cone and one type. Nice little steps. Once you get the hang of the procedure, you can add the amount of dough and experiment,” warns the chef of Knedlíky Láznička.
And what should not be forgotten when preparing a bun or leavened dumpling? It is primarily high-quality flour that gives it structure. They recommend sifting the flour through a sieve. The dough includes yeast, which ensures that the dumpling will not get soggy and will be softer.
“When it comes to bread dumpling, it doesn’t matter if it comes in a roll or a bun, the important thing is that it’s the previous day’s bread that’s cut into cubes and left to air dry. On the other hand, toasted bread is not suitable for preparation. In order to maintain its plumpness, the bun dumpling should not contain more than a third of pastry. And don’t forget to add them to the dough at the end,” advises the chef.
The egg will hold the ingredients together, the extra yolk per kilo of flour will give the dumpling more softness. Bread and classic dumplings rise twice, first the dough rises in a bowl in a warm place, then the shaped cones have to rise covered with a towel for another 15-20 minutes before you let them steam.
The secret to a great dumpling is also salt. “A dumpling that is not salted enough will be bland and uninteresting, it doesn’t have the right kick, it doesn’t taste good. This also applies to fruit and sweet dumplings. In short, salt highlights and brings out the right flavor notes, but you mustn’t overdo it. The right amount is a great alchemy,” reveals the chef.
The pandemic has decided, catering is winning today
Until the onset of the covid pandemic, the deliveries of products from the Spa company were primarily directed to restaurants. Sales in e-shops and catering gradually prevailed. Covid even temporarily stopped sales in restaurants completely.
However, customer interest is still increasing. While in 2019 the company’s turnover was 8.2 million crowns, last year it already exceeded 12 million and continues to grow.
Last year they sold more than 270,000 packages of dumplings. “Due to the very wide assortment (more than 100 types of dumplings) and the custom nature of production, these numbers are influenced by the current supply structure – for restaurants, a package usually equals one dumpling, for Rohlík.cz, the package contains from one to eight dumplings depending on the type. And for catering, the following applies: what is delivered is the original,” explains Petr Kosiner.
Traditionally, the biggest interest among dumpling lovers is the side ones – i.e. bun, potato and Karlovy Vary dumplings. Fruit dumplings are also a great success.
This year, according to company representatives, the turnover should increase to 15 million, and next year it should increase even more, by about a quarter. “Together with Rohlík.cz, we are preparing deliveries of a selected assortment of our dumplings to Germany, whose dumpling potential is huge,” adds Petr “Láznička” Kosiner.