Sweet Yeast Dumplings (Dampfnudeln, Germknödel)

Dampfnudeln and Germknödel, what’s the difference? However they are called they are popular in Alsace, Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria. Both names refer to dumplings made with a sweet yeast dough. They can either be steamed, as is common in Austria, in which case they are called Germknödel (with the ‘Germ’ standing for yeast). Or they can be cooked in a liquid mixture of cream, milk, butter and sugar, in which case they are called Dampfnudeln. With regional variations, they are commonly served with vanilla Sauce, fruit sauce, fruit compote, and/or sprinkled with poppy seeds. In Bavaria, they made be stuffed with a bacon-onion mixture.

Germknödel in Vanilla Sauce with Poppy Seeds
Dampfnudeln, Germknödel
Course Dessert
Cuisine Alsace, Austria, Bavaria, Czech, Germany


  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsp
  • 2 eggs
  • grated lemon peel
  • pinch salt
  • 7 Tbsp butter 5 Tbsp melted and cooled

For the vanilla sauce:

  • 5 fl oz whole milk
  • 5 fl oz heavy cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 1-3/4 oz superfine sugar

For the plum sauce:

  • 4 ripe plums roughly chopped and pits removed
  • 1 fl oz medium orange, juice only
  • 1-3/4 oz demerara sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon


  • Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and use your fist to make a well in the top.
  • Sprinkle the yeast over 4 tablespoons warm milk. Pour this mixture into the well in the flour, add 1 tablespoon sugar, cover with a little flour, and let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the dough with 1/2 cup milk, the eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, grated lemon peel, and a small pinch of salt.
  • Pour in the 5 Tbsp cooled melted butter, and knead into a dough. Cover and let rise, about 1 hour, knead briefly, and then let stand once again so the dough has another chance to rise.
  • Prepare the poaching liquid: Combine the 2 Tbsp butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1 Tbsp sugar, and a small pinch of salt in a large pot with a tight-fitting cover, stir well, bring to a boil and turn off the heat.
  • Roll the dough into little balls and place these closely together inside the pot. Cover the pot tightly, leaving ample space for the dumplings to rise. Check that the lid fits tightly enough so that none of the steam can escape. (If necessary place a clean dish towel between the edges of the pot and the lid to form a tighter seal.)
  • Cook the dumpling over medium heat for about 20 minutes. No peeking! When the dumplings are done and all the liquid absorbed, the bottom crusts of the dumplings will make a faint crackling sound. Then (and only then) remove the cover. Take out the dumplings with a spatula.  Serve immediately.

For the vanilla sauce:

  • Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat to just below boiling point then remove from the heat.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla paste, flour and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Pour over the warmed milk, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes stirring continuously until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside. Cover the surface of the sauce with cling film, to prevent a skin forming.

For the plum sauce:

  • Pur the plums and orange juice into a large saucepan. Sprinkle over the sugar and cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Increase the heat and boil for 10 minutes, squashing the plums using a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon. Leave to cool slightly, then blend to a thick sauce. Set aside.