Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dumplings, Dampfnudeln - and Dampflings

A recent discussion on Eat Words had a few of us wondering about the etymology of the word dumpling. I got rather carried away with the idea that our English word is related to the German Dampfnudeln and practised saying Dumpfnoodler to myself experimentally, under my breath, for a long time. However, no-one (except me) seemed too impressed with this theory - oh well. Anyway, by then I'd got completely hooked on the idea of these billowing, dumpling-like, yeasty, steam-baked rolls and realised I just had to make some - and I've christened them Dampflings:


The recipe:

Makes 9-10 Dampfnudeln

250g flour

25g sugar

a pinch of salt

10g fresh yeast, crumbled in small flakes

125ml milk

50g butter, cut in pieces

2 egg yolks

butter for greasing the casserole/tin

  • Put flour, sugar, salt and crumbled yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook fitted; mix well
  • Put milk and butter in a microwave-safe cup and heat to lukewarm in the microwave
  • Add egg yolks, mix well and add to flour etc. in the bowl
  • Mix to a smooth dough and knead till the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl and feels thoroughly silky and no longer sticky to the touch - I needed to add 3-4 teaspoons flour in sprinkles to achieve this
  • Encase the bowl in a big plastic bag, leave at room temperature (about 20 degrees in my kitchen at the moment) till dough has doubled in bulk
  • Tip out dough onto a board (or better still, a marble slab) and deflate. Roll it up like a fat bolster and cut into 9-10 equal-sized pieces with a dough scraper or knife
  • Roll each piece of dough round and round under your cupped hand till it plumps up nicely - don't add any flour to the board or the dough will skitter around too much - you want a bit of grip so it plumps up nicely, but of course it shouldn't stick to the board so you may need to add a dusting of flour
  • Arrange rolled out/plumped up balls of dough in a generously buttered, heavy, ovenproof casserole 26 cm diameter (I used an enamelled cast-iron one, which worked a treat - must have a lid) in a flower formation. They can be quite well spaced apart as they billow up most satisfactorily to fill the space
  • Brush dough with melted butter, cover pan with a lid (glass is ideal, so you can keep checking and glowing with pleasure at how they're doing/fretting because they're not rising) and leave on the counter while you heat the oven to 190 C
  • After about 15 minutes, put casserole (with lid) in preheated oven and steam-bake the Dampfnudeln for 30-35 minutes or until plump, golden brown and fragrant
  • Around here (Alsace, Black Forest, Switzerland) they're served with creme anglaise/vanilla sauce, but we're not pudding people so we had them with cheese - disgrrrrrracefully delishus