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Dampfnudeln, or German yeast dumplings, are an easy treat to make and a classic Bavarian kitchen staple. They can be enjoyed with savory or sweet accompaniments. They are made with a yeast dough and have a light, airy texture that melts easily on the tongue. Let’s jump right into the recipe.
For the dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour regular or gluten-free
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2/3 cup milk warm
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the steam pot:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and melted butter.
- Add the yeast.
- Using the dough hook of an electric mixer, knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Slowly add the milk.
- Shape the dough into a ball using your hands. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a clean dishtowel. Put it in a warm spot in your kitchen and let the dough rise for an hour.
- Spread flour on your counter or kitchen table and roll the dough into a thick sausage shape.
- Cut the dough into 5 pieces and roll each one into a small ball. Let them rest for an additional 15 minutes.
- Heat the butter, sugar, and milk in a large pot with a lid on low heat on the stove. This will be the pot for cooking the dumplings.
- Using kitchen tongs, place the balls of dough into the pot with a little space between each one. They will rise significantly while cooking. Put the lid on the pot and leave it on. Lifting the lid regularly to check the dumplings could make them deflate.
- Steam the dumplings on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, then turn the heat down to low and steam them for 18-22 minutes more.
- The milk will have completely evaporated when you no longer see bubbles forming on the bottom of the pan, and you will see less steam on the lid. You will also hear a sizzling sound.
- Turn off the heat. Leave the lid on for another minute to let the dumplings get just browned on the bottom.
- Carefully lift the lid off the dumplings and use kitchen tongs to gently lift the dumplings out of the pot.
- Let the dumplings rest on a plate for another minute more and serve.
Notes & Tips
Keep an extra-close eye on the dumplings in the steam pot as they finish cooking. Overcooking will burn the bottom of the dumplings.
Check the expiration date on your yeast. Expired yeast won’t help the dough rise.
Use warm, not hot, milk during the step where you add the milk. Boiled milk could have a negative impact on the bacteria of the yeast.
Dampfnudeln literally means “steam noodles” in English, but they are also called German yeast dumplings since they aren’t actually noodles!
Yes, you can easily substitute vegan butter for regular dairy butter in this recipe. Other substitutions you can make include using a vegan egg substitute for the egg yolk and non-dairy milk.
Yes, you can use active dry yeast instead. Keep in mind that active dry yeast will need to be dissolved in milk first before you add it to the other ingredients.
Heat 1/3 cup milk on the stove until it’s warm, then turn off the heat. Add the yeast and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The yeast will become active when it starts to bubble. Add the yeast to the other ingredients in the same step where you add the milk.
Optional sides or compliments
- Potato soup
- Homemade vanilla sauce
- Ice cream
- Hot coffee or tea
- Fruit compote
What do dampfnudeln taste like?
Dampfnudeln have a delicate golden crust and a warm, yeasty, and delicious interior.
Dampfnudeln taste best when they are fresh, but you can store them in the fridge or freezer to save for later.
Store the leftover dumplings in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for up to three days.
To freeze, put the dumplings in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag, or wrap them in aluminum foil. They will last for up to a month.
You can reheat the dumplings in the microwave. First, sprinkle them with a little water so they don’t dry out. Next, microwave on 50 percent power for 20 seconds at a time. Be careful to not overheat the dumplings or they will start to deflate. Serve warm with vanilla sauce.
Another way to reheat the dumplings is to cut them into slices and fry them in a little oil or butter on the stove. Keep the heat as low as possible and lift the dumpling slices regularly while cooking so they reheat evenly.
According to legend, during the Thirty Years’ War, Swedish troops demanded a ransom from the citizens of Freckenfeld in western Germany. A baker and his wife served the hungry troops over a thousand dampfnudeln, and in exchange the soldiers spared the city. Freckenfeld’s coat of arms features the dampfnudeln gates that are located just outside the city. The earliest written recipe reference to dampfnudeln was in 1811.