After last night’s (7th September 2016) Great British Bake Off’s episode on bread, I had a whole heap of messages on my phone
‘Viola, do you have the recipe for German steamed bread?’
‘Viola, what’s the recipe for danfnudel?’
‘Vee, have you ever made them Dampfnudel things?’
‘Did you ever try danf noodle when you were in Germany?’
‘Woman, you gotta put that danfnoodle bread recipe up on the website’
‘I never knew the Germans ate danf noodle bread’
As part of my modern languages degree I spent some time at the University of Jena and a language school in Berlin, and on both visits I just couldn’t keep out of the German bakeries.
Germans have around 300 different types of bread. They’re fabulous bakers and I have box files of German recipes which have arrived in beautifully hand decorated boxes since I started putting my own bakery recipes on this website – One of my German friends saves every little ribbon, sticker and pretty pic she comes across and recycles them to disguise the recycled box the mail is packed in, which never fails to make my postman smile.
Anyway, back to that Dampfnudeln recipe. To be honest, this was my first time making Dampfnudeln. I used a 10 inch / 25 cm diameter x 3 inch / 7.5 cm deep saucepan which turned out to be a little cramped, with my steamed doughnuts getting just a little bit squashed – they needed another few centimetres to breathe.
Having said that they turned out pretty gorgeous, though with just a hint of golden on the base, I think I put a little too much milk in at the start.
Though everyone on bake off last night seemed to time theirs for 15 minutes, mine did take a full half-hour, though I kept the heat quite low.
My lid was not see-through, though I don’t believe this put me at a disadvantage at all, as I wasn’t tempted to meddle by looking in at them. Instead I listened – listened with my ear to the pan for the point at which the liquid had all evaporated and the Dampfnudeln began to sing.
Though it’s warm here today, I did put my dough in the hot press to rise for 45 minutes.
I went for a blueberry sauce which I made very simply by adding a little water to blueberries and shaking in sugar to sweeten. I simmered the mixture to make a syrup and reduce it down a little, then pushed the mixture through a sieve and there was the sauce.
Now if you’d like your Dampfnudeln to be firmer on the outside, swap the milk for water. You could also leave out the liquid altogether and simply steam your German doughnuts out on a base of sliced cooking apples, a bit like the recipe for Apple Doughdy.
Be sure to make plenty of fruit sauce to serve with Dampfnudeln – imagine eating large plump regular doughnuts without the fried crust, and you’ve pretty much imagined what Dampfnudeln taste like – they need a sauce. Germans often serve vanilla sauce alongside fruit sauce with these doughnut dumplings.
Hats off to all the bakers in the tent on last night’s bake off – no wonder the presenters talked of rising fear along with the rising damp.
Just like your first time making pancakes or crepes, making Dampfnudeln takes a little practice to get to know exactly how much liquid to use according to the diameter of your pan, and the humidity of the day. And don’t forget to listen out for when they sing.
The Great British Bake Off is on BBC 1 on Wednesdays at 8 pm. It’s filmed in Welford Park in Berkshire.
Michael Georgiou, the youngest in the tent, left bake off in the third episode last night.
Here’s a little song to sing while you’re making your Dampfnudeln – the Dampfnudel song!
And if you’ve any Dampfnudeln left the next day, slice them and dip in beaten egg on both sides. Fry in butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.