These steamed dumplings are a popular dessert enjoyed across Germany, but they hold a special place in the hearts of those who live in the Rhineland village of Freckenfeld.

When Swedish troops occupied Freckenfeld during the Thirty Years’ War, quick-thinking local baker Johannes Muck decided to make a huge batch of Dampfnudeln as a form of ransom, placating the hungry attackers and saving the lives of villagers in the process.

An ornamental gate was later erected in Muck’s honour, adorned with 1,286 little stone bumps to represent each one he baked – a local landmark that can still be seen today.


For the dampfnudeln

  • 150ml milk
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 70g unsalted butter, melted

For the poaching liquid

  • 250ml whole milk
  • 50g sugar
  • 50g butter


  • STEP 1

    To make the dumplings, heat the milk to lukewarm. Stir in one teaspoon of the sugar and the dried yeast and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until bubbles begin to appear on the surface.

  • STEP 2

    In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, the remaining sugar, egg, butter and the yeast mixture. Stir with a spoon before using your hands once the dough starts to come together in a ball. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and springy. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with film and leave to rise for one hour.

  • STEP 3

    When the dough has almost finished proving, prepare the poaching liquid. Put the milk, sugar and butter in a lidded pan and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved.

  • STEP 4

    Divide the dough into eight equal portions and shape into balls. Pop the dumplings into the liquid, making sure they are sitting on the base of the pan with a little space in between each one. Replace the lid and don’t remove it for the first 25 minutes of cooking. Keep the heat low under the pan so the dumplings are poaching.

  • STEP 5

    After 25 minutes, check the tops of the dumplings feel firm, then remove the lid and cook for a further five minutes. Serve immediately, ideally with vanilla sauce or custard.

Recipe from