A Perfect Weekend Breakfast

With my mouth stuffed full of warm bread as I write, I think there can be few other pleasures on a rolling-into-winter Sunday morning than  your own fresh Dampfnudeln.

It was a bit touch-and-go at times, sometimes because a step was missing from the recipe and sometimes for other reasons (including a dinner out at the home of some friends when the dough was rising). But I made it in the end. I did one batch last night and another this morning. Mmmm. Unfortunately, it was too late by that time to post something last night.

Dampfnudeln, or German Puddings

INGREDIENTS: 1 lb. of flour, 1/4 lb. of butter, 5 eggs, 2 small tablespoons of yeast, 2 tablespoons of finely-pounded sugar {regular or icing sugar will do}, milk, a very little salt.

This essentially breaks down into 4 (simple) steps.  The timings given are mostly mine:

1. Let the flour, yeast and milk mix rise for 30 minutes

2. Combine above with the other ingredients and leave to rise in a warm place (I switched the oven on for a minute, let it warm slightly, then turned it off and popped the covered bowl in there) for 45 minutes

3. Roll into chubby 1-inch balls and place (not touching) in a thick-bottomed, butter-slathered dish (I used a glass casserole dish).  Sprinkle with milk, add more milk (see comments below for quantity) and sprinkle with sugar.  Rise 45 minutes

4. Bake in a ‘brisk oven’ (I interpreted this as 200 degrees C) for 25 minutes, or until liquid has just evaporated and the buns are brown.   Gobble down with jam, honey or butter (if you can wait that long)

In the abridged edition, Step 2 is missing from the ‘Time’ information (Isabella’s advice about how long everything should take).  The quantity of milk is also sketchy (1/4 pint is mentioned, and she later mentions ‘a little more warm milk’ (I found this to be up to 2 tablespoons) and later, ‘sufficient milk to cover them’ (see note below).

This may be an editing oversight, but I have a funny feeling that it was missing in the original.  But as long as the instructions are read carefully through first (which, I confess, my eager rush to be baking something means that I don’t do this as often as I ought), then most of this can be figured out.

We were out for several hours between Steps 2 – 3, but fortunately this didn’t affect the dough (in fact, it was enthusiastically marching over the edges and looking to paint the town – or oven – red by the time we got home).

I couldn’t help but edit one step.  Once rolled into balls and placed in the dish, she says to ‘pour over sufficient milk to cover them’ and leave to further rise before baking.  I couldn’t see how this would possibly allow them to brown and the liquid to evaporate in the given space of time, so I just sprinkled them with milk and added just a couple of centimeters to the dish.

It took 25 minutes (not 10 -15) for them to bake.  The outcome is, however, mightily delicious.  I was surprised that, upon further research, the recipe doesn’t significantly differ from the modern German formula.  So she didn’t simplify or modify it for the non-German Victorian housewife.

Its relative simplicity means that I’ll be making this quite often for future weekend breakfasts.

While we were at it, we also pulled out a chilled bottle of the ginger beer last night while the first batch of Dampfnudeln (is ‘Dampfnudeln’ singular and plural?) was in the oven.  I poured two glasses with more than a touch of the jitters (“This better not kill me,” my boyfriend supportively commented).

The lid flipped off with a lustily effervescent ”phwap”, to my delight and probably to that of a Peeping Tom neighbour across the way, who just happens to be out having a smoke on his balcony whenever I’m in the kitchen, with his eyes unblinkingly focused on our kitchen window.  Perhaps he’s a secret foodie.  We’re putting up curtains today.

The ginger beer wasn’t too bad.  (“It’s not too bad,” said my boyfriend).  I couldn’t taste much ginger, more the lemon.  Perhaps I’ll add more ginger next time.  It wasn’t overly exciting, but with a drop of flavoured syrup it really livens up.

Here’s a link I found to a typical (modern) Dampfnudeln recipe for comparison:

http://www.food-from-bavaria.de/en/reg_spez/einzelprodukt.php?an=186&display_lang=en (it varies very slightly from Isabella Beeton’s, so use whichever version you prefer)

I’m off to make another batch.  Mmmm.

The complete Dampfnudeln recipe by Isabella Beeton can be found at: http://www.mrsbeeton.com/27-chapter27.html

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6 Responses to “A Perfect Weekend Breakfast”

  1. Andreas Says:

    “Dampfnudel” is singular and “Dampfnudeln” is plural.

  2. Manfred Says:

    Hi,
    motivated by your blog about Dumpfnudeln I started to search the internet for this topic and I realized that you touched a complicated topic. So here are some of my remarks about the Dampfnudel.
    It looks like there are at least two types of Dampfnudeln, the Bavarian and the Palatinate type. The Palatine one is the one I know from my mother. These are easily recognized by the crispy and salty bottom. They don’t have anything inside. The Palatinate Dumpfnudel is severed on Saturdays together with potato soup. Another way to serve Palatinate Dampfnudel is together with vanilla sauce or with wine sauce.
    In Palatine there are two villages (Kandel and Freckenfeld) which have a Dampfnudel gate (see: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dampfnudel). These gates are decorated with thousands of Dampfnudeln.
    That recipe of Dampfnudel with wine sauce saved the village of Freckenfeld in Palatinate from being marauded by Swedish soldiers in the 30 year war.
    The Bavarian Dampfnudel is sometimes called “Germknödel”, we occasional have them in our canteen. They have something undefined inside, which contains poppy seeds.
    The Dampfnudel once was the was the reason for the so called “Dampfnudel Krieg” (= Dampfnudel war) in 2008 (see http://www.der-bayern-blog.de/bayern/der-dampfnudel-krieg-pfalz-gegen-bayern ). It was about the naming of the product “Dampfnudel”, which should be protected by EU law. I cant tell you how that war ended (with which peace treaty).
    I’d like to try to answer your question concerning Dumpfnudel vs. Dampfnudeln. It is one Dumpfnudel (singular) and several Dumpfnudeln (plural). This is different from Semmelnknödeln, which is a totally different and feature-length story.
    I hope the above information even increases your interest in Dampfnudeln.

    Manfred

  3. sue Says:

    Hello
    Much enjoyed your lively writing.
    Most recipes I’ve read call for a tight lid on the baker. Not to be lifted even once during baking. Do you use it?

    • modernupstairsdownstairs Says:

      Hello, thanks so much for your comment. I used the lid and tried very hard not to open it (although I think I did, for a very quick second, out of curiosity). This doesn’t seem to affect the outcome, but next time I’ll leave the lid firmly closed 🙂

  4. modernupstairsdownstairs Says:

    Thanks a lot 🙂

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