Triggered by a recent conversation about “Dampfnudeln” and the method of their preparation, I wrote this post in memoriam of my grandma. “Dampfnudeln” is namely one of her signature dishes…
To begin with, steamed yeast dumplings are a traditional dish from Southern Germany (like Palatinate = Pfalz, where my Dad comes from) and Austria but they are also very popular in the Czech Republic, and in Poland.
DUMPLING FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Please, note: the steamed yeast dumplings are no “Germknödel” or “Buchteln”, as often asserted abroad. These “relatives” need different recipes including other upgrades & methods of preparation.
Of course, there is a wide range of local “Dampfnudel” (= steamed noodle, literally translated) variations.
In the Pfalz (Southern Germany) e.g. the dumplings don`t possess any filling. They are served with a delicious wine foam créme sauce instead of with conventional vanilla sauce. And the Palatines don`t serve a poppy seed dumpling topping either. The beautiful “Pfalz” (Palatine, see photo below) is namely one of Germany`s historical wine-growing districts.
“Dampfnudeln” can be served as a dessert but in our family (including the Northern Germany branch, I belong to), it is served as a main course or even as a side dish together with Palatine potato soup ( also called “Grumbeersupp”) – a fantastic combination, I swear.
Servings: 9 dumplings
500 g flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
75 g sugar
2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
50 g butter
1 cup plant-based milk lukewarm (250 ml)
40 g fresh yeast
1/2 tbsp sugar
For the Pan
3/4-1 cup water
3 tbsp oil
1/3 tsp sea salt
150-200 plum jam (or jam of choice or no filling at all);
2 tbsp poppy seed/sugar mix: 1 tbsp ground poppy seeds and 1 tbsp sugar;
vanilla sauce (see recipe below);
or “wine foam creme sauce” (see recipe below)
or fruit sauce of different berries
In a bowl, combine lukewarm plant-based milk (should not exceed 105 degrees F/40 degrees C), yeast, and 1/2 tbsp sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof the yeast. If it get’s frothy your yeast is fine. If not, your yeast is most likely old and cannot be used.
In a big bowl, combine all dry “dough ingredients” (flour, psyllium husk powder, sugar) and mix with a whisk. Once the yeast has proofed add the yeast mixture.
Add the soft butter as well and knead the dough with your hands. It might appear too wet at first (depends on which flour mixture you used) but the dough consistency will be fine after a few minutes and should look like this:
If the dough is too dry though, add a little bit more plant-based milk. If it appears too wet, add more flour. Put cling foil or a kitchen towel on top of the bowl (you don’t want the dough to dry out) and let it rise for about 30-60 minutes at a warm place. Please, avoid any draft. After that, it should have risen quite a bit:
DO NOT SHOCK YOUR SENSITIVE DUMPLINGS
Divide the dough into 9-10 parts (90-100 grams each) and fill each dough ball with plum jam (or jam/jelly of choice …or with “anything” but love).
Seal the filling and roll between your palms to form a ball. Put all dough balls on a floured plate and let them rise again for about 20 minutes (preferably covered with a towel). Once more: It is very important not to shock the dough by a drop of temperature.
STAY STRONG AND DO NOT LIFT THE LID!
Once the time is up, heat a pan over medium heat, add oil, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Add about 5 dough balls (if you have a big pan you can add more) and put a lid on top of the pan/skillet). Steam for about 25 minutes and do NOT lift the lid, otherwise the dumplings will collapse. I know it`s tough to resist the temptation to have a quick look at the dumplings but you`ve to stay strong! …A transparent glass lid might be a solution to calm your impatience.
LISTEN TO YOUR DUMPLINGS
Usually, you can trust your ears. You will hear when the water has evaporated and the crispy, golden-brown and salty crust (my favorite part of the dumpling) begins to form.
PREVENTION OF DUMPLING CELLULITIS
Another tipp: Lift and remove the lid quickly (if the Dampfnudeln are ready) to avoid that condense water (from down-/inside of the lid) drips on the dumplings. Otherwise the water might damage the smooth skin of the dumplings (cellulitis alike). Dampfnudeln are very sensitive!
Enjoy warm with vanilla sauce and poppy seed sugar…or give the Palatine variant (wine foam créme sauce recipe, see below) a try.
For a gluten-free flour mixture, you can use:
300 grams rice flour (equal amounts of brown rice flour and white rice flour)
200 grams starch (equal amounts of cornstarch and tapioca starch/flour)
You can use 2 1/4 tsp of dry instant yeast instead of fresh yeast
The steamed yeast dumplings taste best when you serve them immediately. You can store leftovers in the fridge (covered). They will become a little bit dry with a paper-like skin the next day but you can simply steam them again for 3-4 minutes with a tiny bit of water and they will be soft again. The leftover dumpling are delicious for breakfast too. You can dip them e.g. in hot chocolate or Café au lait.
Recipe of Vanilla Sauce:
1 cup plant-based milk
3-4 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp sugar
1 vanilla bean
Bring all ingredients in a saucepan to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes.
Recipe of The Palatine Wine Foam Créme Sauce:
2 egg yolks
50 – 60 g powdered sugar (dependent on the wine of your choice)
1/8 l White wine (semidry)
Put water in a pot (about 1 cm high water line) and boil it, then let the water cool down to medium heat. Put a bowl on top of the water pot and mix egg, egg yolks, powdered sugar and white wine with a whire wisk (or blender) until a thick foam is created (like preparing Zabaione). As soon as rills appear in the course of frothing, the céme will be ready.
APPRECIATE YOURSELF AND YOUR GUESTS
By the way, to use cheap/low-quality wine for cooking is very much out of favour in Germany. In most cases, we use the same wine for cooking, which is served for drinking.
And here is finally a picture of the “Pfälzer Dampfnudel” (no filling and no topping but with the special wine foam créme sauce)…
“GUTEN APPETITE!” and “ZUM WOHL!”
…And please, don´t forget to share not only the dumplings but also the rest of the white wine with your family & guests.