Dampfnudeln (literally steamed noodles) are German steamed rolls. They are made from a yeast dough, then cooked in a tightly closed pot with butter and water (or milk). Dampfnudeln can be savory or sweet. Even the sweet varieties are often served as meals. My favorite way of eating them is in a pool of vanilla sauce and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
I first tried Dampfnudeln in a small cafe in Garmisch-Partenkirchen after a day exploring the Zugspitze- the tallest mountain in Germany. It was the perfect end to the day. Dessert for dinner, but not overly sweet.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a town in southern Bavaria near the Austrian border. Originally, it was two separate towns, with Garmisch in the west and Partenkirchen in the east. They combined in 1935 prior to the 1936 Olympic Winter games. Even with the forced union, each town still has its own distinct characteristics. It is a gorgeous area with numerous lakes and mountains to explore.
We only spent time walking around the town and exploring the Zugspitze, but there is much more to see. It is a big area for winter sports and I also want to go back someday to see the Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge).
Information from DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Munich and the Bavarian Alps
More information on Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Don’t be in a hurry with these dumplings and open the lid too early. The pot must have a tight fitting lid until all the water has evaporated and the dumplings are crackling. Opening the lid prematurely will prevent the buns from rising and becoming soft.
The texture is best the day they are made. If you have any extra, place them bottom side up on a plate, cover with a towel, and refrigerate. Eat the remainder by the next day with jam, nutella, or slice the extra up and fry them with butter.
Dampfnudeln mit Vanillesoße (German Steamed Dumplings with Vanilla Sauce)
Adapted from Grandma’s German Cookbook
2 egg yolks
4 1/4 cups milk, divided
1 1/2 ounces (30 g, ~3 tablespoons) cornstarch
2 ounces (60 g, ~1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon) sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 pound 2 ounces (500 g, ~3 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
1 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees F), divided
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 pinch sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cups water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
To make the vanilla sauce: add egg yolks to a small bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until thick and creamy.
In a small bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons milk and cornstarch.
In a small saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and sugar. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the pod. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove the vanilla pods and whisk in the cornstarch and milk. Continue to boil and stir for 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat. Slowly pour a couple of tablespoons of the mixture into the beaten eggs while stirring. Pour the warmed eggs into the pot, stirring constantly, and place over to medium-low heat. Heat until the mixture thickens. Serve warm or refrigerate until chilled.
To make the dumplings: In a large bowl, add flour and make a well in the center. Pour in 1/4 cup of the warm milk and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Gently stir the yeast into the milk and a small amount of the flour. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes, until the yeast becomes frothy.
Pour in the remaining milk, egg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix together with your hands and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 40 minutes.
In a wide pot or large, deep skillet, combine water and remaining salt. Bring to a boil and add the butter. Once melted, arrange the dough in the pot with 1-2 inches between each ball. Cover with a tight lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes without removing the lid. Remove lid once all liquid has evaporated and dumplings have a crust on the bottom (there will be a crackling sound). Remove pot from heat and gently take out dumplings.
Serve hot with vanilla sauce and powdered sugar.