Sweet German Dampfnudels
In the German town Freckenfeld you can find a `Dampfnudeltor` (town gate with stony Dampfnudels all over it) in remembrance of a historical event from the Thirty Years’ War. According to a local legend, the little German town was once spared from being plundered by the Swedish army. In exchange for peace they demanded a satisfying meal for their troops. The town’s baker created the Dampfnudel and saved the town.
Sweet German Dampfnudels (literally, steamed noodles) are delicate yeast dumplings poached in a tightly closed pan with milk and sugar until caramelized on the bottom and fluffy/soft on the inside. In Germany you’d never eat this as a dessert – it’s just too much eating these buns after a big meal.
Just make it the main attraction!
However, Dampfnudels can be sweet or savory.
For the savory version of Dampfnudels, use 1/2 tsp of salt instead of sugar in the dough and replace the milk and sugar in the pan with a dash of salt and water or stock . Savory Dampfnudels go well with anything that comes with a lot of sauce (which can be soaked up by the delicious buns) – your classic Sunday roast with gravy..
I always start by making the vanilla sauce because I think that vanilla sauce has to be cold! – But that’s only me… If you like the sauce to be hot, you can prepare it while the dough is resting. You could also add a fruity component: a raspberry sauce or some fresh blueberries.
Save your day now and make Dampfnudels right away.
- 500 g Plain Flour
- 1/2 cube fresh yeast or 7g/1pack dried yeast
- 125 ml whole milk
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 3-4 t tbsp sugar (if you have a sweet tooth you can add up to 5 tbsp)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 organic lemon, zest grated, 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 200 ml milk or water
- 250 ml whole milk
- 250 g whipping cream
- 80 g sugar
- 1-2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
- 4 egg yolks from free range eggs
Whisk the eggs with a fork in a bowl. In a pan, bring the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla to a boil.
Pour the hot milk-mixture over the whisked eggs, permanently whisking.
Pour the cream-mixture back to the pan and whisk over low to medium heat until thickened.
Pass through a sieve and leave in the fridge until cold.
For the dough, heat about half of the milk until lukewarm and dissolve the yeast in a cup with the lukewarm milk and 1 tbsp sugar.
Sieve the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture, into the well. Cover and let it rest for about 15 min. Meanwhile, melt the butter over low heat in a small skillet.
Start kneading the dough with a hand whisker with kneading attachment or use a food processor with a dough hook. Continuously knead the dough and slowly pour in the melted butter (try to avoid direct contact of yeast and hot butter!) until incorporated. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, whisked eggs, lemon zest and juice. Keep kneading and pour in just as much of the milk as you need to get a dough that is neither too firm, nor sticky.
Work the dough on a lightly floured surface with your hands, folding, pushing and slapping over and over until you have a silky and elastic dough.
Lightly flour the dough, place in a bowl and cover with cling film or a wet kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
Return the dough to the working surface and work the dough over to knock out the air, for about 30 sec.
Roll out to about 2,5 cm/ 1 inch and cut out circles, using a drinking glass ( 8 cm / 3 inch). You should get 6 circles. Form 6 balls and let these rest again for 10 min. on a floured surface.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a heavy-based, high-rimmed iron pan or dutch oven (with a lid and lightly caramelize 2 tbsp sugar over medium heat. Place the dough-balls in the hot pan just lightly touching each other.
Pour in the milk (it should cook instantly) and quickly cover with a lid. Steam for 10 min. on low to medium heat until done (you should hear a crackling sound when it’s finished). To serve, cover with vanilla sauce.
Extra: I have a peppermill, filled with old and dried vanilla bean pieces, it’s great for decoration and for the taste as well.