Dampfnudeln are a regular Friday lunchtime dish in my grandmother’s kitchen. Bread buns are placed on a bed of apples and steamed on the hub for about 30 minutes. They are incredibly light and delicious and I wanted to share the Dampfnudeln recipe here on the occasion of this month’s #BreadBakers theme ‘Steamed Buns’.
The Austrian/German delicacy also featured in the Great British Bake Off 2016 as a technical challenge.
My granny’s recipe, based on Dampfnudel variation from the Innviertel in Austria and I think this version of the recipe is also popular in neighbouring Bavaria. The Dampfnudeln are steamed on a bed of lightly spiced apples. This recipe provides 6 portions.
For the dough
500g strong white wheat flour
7g dried yeast
250g milk, tepid
50g unsalted butter, melted
50g sugar (I use brown sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of half a lemon
For the apple base
850g apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2 cm slices
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp milk
How to make Dampfnudeln
Combine all dough ingredients in a large bowl.
Knead dough until smooth and elastic.
Place back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 45 minutest at room temperature.
Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal pieces.
Shape the pieces into buns and place onto a pre-floured surface.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to proof for about an hour. The buns should grow significantly in size during that time.
Prepare the apples while you are waiting.
Once the dough buns are ready, melt the butter in a large (circa 30 cm in diameter) non-stick frying pan (you need a tight fitting lid for it too) on a low heat.
Evenly distribute the apple pieces in the pan and sprinkle the sugar on top, then add the milk.
Carefully place the dough buns on the apple base and cover the pan with the lid. Don’t take the lid off again (or even slightly lift it) until the buns are fully done as they otherwise deflate.
Turn up the heat to medium to bring the liquid in the pan to boil.
After 15 minutes, turn down the heat to the lowest level and steam for another 15 – 20 minutes.
Leave to rest for a few minutes once the heat is off before you take the lid off.
If you like this Austrian steamed bread recipe, check out this plum preserve filled steamed bread recipe for Germknödel and here are also my fellow #BreadBakers’ recipes.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
I stumbled upon grape seed flour in a small farm shop in Austria and was intrigued by this little known ingredient. Of course, I had to have it to use it in bread baking 🙂 Here are my notes on baking bread with grape seed flour.
Grape seed flour can be made from any variety of grape, each with its own characteristic taste. When added to bread dough, the resulting loaf benefits from the grape flour’s richness of colour and flavour. I’ve noted down my grape seed flour bread recipe for those of you interested in giving this a go!
Grape seed flour (which is actually more like a fine powder) is produced from pomace i.e. the skins, seeds and pulp generated during wine-making. Typically, only 80% of the total harvested grape crop is used to make wine, so it’s a nice way of using the ‘waste’ of the wine-making process. The seeds are pressed to extract the oils, and then, along with the grape skins, dried and milled into flour. Grape seeds have long been used to produce grape seed oil, and grape seed flour is just another alternative.
How to use grape seed flour
Grape seed flour can be added to baked goods. The recommended ‘dosage’ is 5-7% based on the bread’s flour content.
Grape seed flour pancakes are another great option. Just use your standard pancake recipe and add a tablespoon of grape seed flour into the batter mixture.
It can also be added to yoghurt or smoothies and used to thicken and flavour soups or salad dressings.
It adds rich colour and flavour with a slightly astringent yet fruity taste. White wine grapes will lend a tan colour to baked goods, while red wine grapes will add a darker, purple-brown colour to them.
Grape seed flour provides a boost of antioxidants and is high in fibre.
Finally, it’s a gluten free ingredient.
Grape Seed Flour Bread Recipe
Have fun baking with grape seed bread and pairing it with wine. I used grape seed flour from the Urkornhof in Austria, but you can buy grape seed flour online too. The cold-pressed grape seed flour I used combines seeds from both white and red grape varieties into one flour.
When in Ireland last weekend, I picked up a big bag of wheatgerm – an ingredient found in most well stocked supermarkets over there. I use wheatgerm in this recipe for brown Irish soda bread and in this homemade granola recipe. However, Dan Lepard also features a good-looking wheatgerm bread in his book ‘The Handmade Loaf‘ and here is my version of his wheatgerm bread recipe.
What is wheat germ?
Wheat germ (short for germination) is the small, nutritious centre of a wheat kernel.
It’s the part of wheat that sprouts and grows into a new plant and comprises only about 2.5% of the weight of the kernel.
Wheat germ is removed during white flour refinement but it is used in whole wheat flour.
For reference, whole wheat and all other whole grains are made up of three primary components:
the bran (outside shell)
the germ (the reproductive element)
the starchy endosperm (used to mill flour)
Wheat germ bread recipe
This is my slightly adjusted version of Dan Lepard’s wheatgerm bread recipe. I use double the amount of whole grains, half the amount of honey and replace orange juice with milk in my recipe version. I also opt for not toasting the wheatgerm due to some nutrients being lost during the toasting process.
Dan Lepard’s tip: “In an act of breadmaking heresy, this bread doesn’t really have an initial fermentation. After kneading, the dough is left for 10 minutes before being shaped and placed in the tin, so most of the fermentation occurs once the dough is in its final shape. Breadmaking flour has a lot of strong gluten, but it is contained within the endosperm. In white flour, all that remains is the milled endosperm; in wholewheat flour this is a smaller percentage of the dry matter. Wholewheat flours should therefore be treated as if they contain less gluten, which means you need to handle the dough les and give it a shorter initial rise. This bread has an extra 25% wheatgerm, which lowers the gluten content further. Be gentle with the kneading, as the bran will tear the gluten if the dough is subjected to a rigorous and extended mixing. ”
80g whole grains – you can e.g. use whole wheat, rye, spelt or Grünkern as I have used
400g strong wholewheat flour
5g dried yeast
60g milk, lukewarm
How to make wheatgerm bread
Place the whole grains in a small saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Ensure the grains remain covered with water at all times.
Remove from the heat, add cold water to the pan so the grains become lukewarm, then drain.
In a small bowl, combine the water and honey and warm up slightly (not too much) to thoroughly mix the two liquids.
In a large bowl, combine the wholewheat flour, wheatgerm, cooked whole grains, dried yeast, salt, the water and honey mixture and the milk.
Form a dough and knead briefly. When evenly combined, cover the bowl and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Use this time to grease a 9 x 24 cm loaf tin (I used rapeseed oil and a silicone pastry brush to do this).
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for 10 seconds.
Shape the dough back into a ball, return it to the bowl and cover.
Leave for 5 minutes and repeat steps 9 and 10 twice more.
Leave for 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, pat the dough into a flat rectangle measuring roughly 25 cm left-to-right by 20 cm top-to-bottom.
Roll the dough inward, starting at the end furthest from you, rolling it tightly.
Roll the dough gently on the work surface, then pat the ends inward so that it will drop neatly into the prepared tin. Lightly flour the dough’s top surface.
Cover the tin with a polythene bag and leave to rise at room temperature for approx. 1 – 1.5 hours, until it has risen about 1 cm over the top of the tin. Ensure to preheat the oven to 220°C about 20 minutes before this time.
Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and, after 5 minutes, remove the loaf from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
As there are some frequently asked questions around storing sourdough starter between bakes, I thought I’d start a post to provide some answers. Here are my notes on how to store sourdough starter.
I put together my first sourdough starter (a rye starter) at the beginning of 2013 and have been using and refreshing it ever since. There have been prolonged periods (four weeks plus) where this particular starter has been left untouched in the fridge. Whenever that happened, I simply stirred the grey-brown liquid that settles on the surface of the sour back into the starter refreshment. 16 hours later, I have a normal rye sourdough starter back in action.
Whether you work with rye, wheat or spelt sourdough starter, roughly the same storage rules apply although wheat leaven refreshments tend to reactivate more quickly than rye.
Sourdough starter needs to be stored between uses i.e. refreshes. Refreshing sourdough means adding flour and water to your existing starter in order to revitalise it and prepare it to be used for baking.
Unless you bake every day (in which case you would just constantly refresh your starter every day and there is no need for storing it away), you need to store your starter at a cool temperature to preserve it.
If more than two or three days are likely to pass before the sourdough is used again, it is best to store the starter in the fridge. If your sour was viable when you last used it, it should keep there for many weeks and revive easily. Please – there is no need for gimmicky sourdough hotels.
A glass jar with screw top or metal clips is suitable but beware of a build-up of gas pressure if you fasten the lid too tightly. Plastic tubs with clip-on lids work well and this is what I typically use as my sourdough starter storage container.
Please note that some space is always needed for the starter to expand when storing it. At the same time, limiting the air space between the surface of your starter and the lid of the container will help to prevent mould growth. So, leave some space but not too much.
A good lid will help keep out unwanted moulds and contaminants, so a tight fitting lid works better than a piece of loose cling film for example.
Using refrigerated sourdough starter is easy. Simply take starter out of the fridge, combine with flour and water (as per the recipe you are using) and you will have an active starter.
The fennel seed is a a beautiful ingredient for bread baking – think subtle aniseed with warm, sweet aromas. This fennel seed bread recipe brings out the best of the seed’s aromatic flavours. A flavoursome breakfast bread for any day of the week!
For my fennel bread recipe, I’ve chosen a combination of flours: strong white wheat and maize flour. Taking a look at other bakers’ recipes, there are plenty of fennel and nut combos, specifically hazelnuts (e.g. Ottolenghi’s fennel seed crackers or Hamelman’s hazelnut and fig bread with fennel seeds and rosemary). Dried fruits such as raisins, cherries or figs are also popular fennel seed companions (e.g. Andrew Whitley’s semolina, raisin and fennel bannock). As such, I’ve opted for a fennel bread which includes nuts and dried fruit and it works beautifully.
Fennel Seed Bread Recipe
My recipe uses a fruit, nut and fennel seed soaker to infuse some of the liquid that goes into the dough to extract some extra flavour from the seeds and to soften the raisins pre-bake.
I provided options for both a yeast-based and a sourdough-based version of this bread below.
Yeast-Based Fennel Bread Recipe
This recipe is based on a small of amount of dried yeast as the leavening agent.
Soaked raisin, hazelnut and fennel seed mix
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped (you can also use almonds)
6g fennel seeds
100g water, hot
450g strong white wheat flour
75g maize flour
5g dried yeast
How to make fennel seed bread
Prepare the raisin, hazelnut and fennel seed soaker by lightly toasting the fennel seeds in a frying pan for a few minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and roughly crush with the pestle. Combine the fennel seeds and other soaker ingredients in a bowl, stirring before covering the bowl. Leave to rest for a few hours or overnight.
After this, combine all of the main dough ingredients and add the liquid from the soaker.
Form a dough and knead for 10 minutes.
Place in a bowl and cover for about an hour. The dough will have visibly risen by then.
Take the dough back out of the bowl and fold in the raisin, hazelnut and fennel seed soaker until distributed evenly throughout the dough.
Shape the dough into a round loaf, cover the outside with flour and place into a pre-floured proofing basket.
Cover the proofing basket in a polythene bag to prevent the dough from drying out.
Rest for an hour or two until the dough is fully proofed.
Preheat the oven to 220°C and – if you are using a baking dome – preheat the dome from cold at the same time.
Turn out the fennel seed loaf onto the baking dome plate (or otherwise a baking tray lined with baking paper) and score the bread with a scoring knife. Cover the dome if using.
Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 200°C for another 45 minutes. Take off the baking dome lid for the final 10 minutes to brown the loaf nicely.
Cool on a wire rack.
Sourdough-Based Fennel Bread Recipe
This version of the recipe doesn’t use commercial yeast, but uses sourdough starter instead.
25g wheat sourdough starter
100g strong white bread flour
Soaked raisin, hazelnut and fennel seed mix
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped (you can also use almonds)
6g fennel seeds
100g water, hot
350g strong white wheat flour
75g maize flour
How to make fennel seed bread
Refresh the sourdough starter by combining the sourdough ingredients mentioned above in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover with a lid and set aside at room temperature for at least four hours or overnight.
At the same time, prepare the raisin, hazelnut and fennel seed soaker by lightly toasting the fennel seeds in a frying pan for a few minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and roughly crush with the pestle. Combine the fennel seeds and other soaker ingredients in a bowl, stirring before covering the bowl. Leave to rest for a few hours or overnight.
After this, combine all of the main dough ingredients with 200g of the refreshed sourdough starter (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake) and add the liquid from the soaker.
Follow steps 3 to 12 as in the yeast-bread recipe version above. However, please allow more time for step 4 and step 8 as the process will take quite a bit longer using sourdough instead of yeast.
Weekends are my time for experimenting with food and this morning I was looking to Northern Ireland for inspiration. Visiting Belfast last year and stopping by at St. George’s Market, there was a huge variety of potato farls on offer and I’ve been a fan ever since. Irish potato farls are simple ‘breads’ made from potatoes, flour, butter and salt. Try my potato farls bread recipe for a simple and comforting treat.
“The word farl literally means ‘fourths’: they are shaped from a circle of dough cut into quarters.” The Guardian
Potato Farls Bread Recipe
A simple recipe, success guaranteed. Have the potato breads with your cooked weekend breakfast or simply with butter.
Potato Farls Ingredients
1 kg floury potatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)
How To Make Potato Farls
The day/evening before you plan to make the potato farls, cook the potatoes and mash them with a potato ricer or regular potato masher.
Add the butter and season to taste.
Leave to cool, cover and place in the fridge overnight.
On the day of making the potato farls, add the flour (and thyme if using) to the mashed potatoes until well combined and smooth.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half.
On a floured work surface (to prevent sticking), flatten the dough into a round shape. You can do this with your hands or with a rolling pin. The round should be approximately 5mm thick.
Cut each circle into quarters.
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot.
Add the potato farls in batches (use a dough scraper if they stick to the surface), and fry for four to five minutes on each side, or until golden-brown on both sides. I don’t use extra butter to do this.
Keep warm until ready to serve.
Irish potato farls can turn your breakfast into something extra special but if you are looking for other breakfast options, take a look at these:
I’m a big fan of using seeds in bread baking – why not add extra nutrition and taste in the form of seeds when baking? One minor complaint I have about most seeds I usually use (sunflower, pumpkin, flax chia) is that they lose their crunch when baked into bread dough. However, I have just found a seed that is as crisp as ever when added to bread. Whole hemp seeds (i.e. hemp seeds with their outer shell still on) lose none of their toasted crunchiness which makes them a fun and unexpectedly unique addition to breads. Here is my wheat and rye based hemp seed bread recipe, give it a try!
From a nutritional perspective, whole hemp seeds are a good source of insoluble fibre, protein, essential amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids and minerals including iron, magnesium and potassium.
Hemp Seed Bread Recipe
This sourdough bread recipe with whole hemp seeds creates an unusual loaf with plenty of crunch.
Hemp Seed Bread Ingredients
125g wholegrain rye flour
25g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter
Whole Grain Soaker
50g grains e.g. spelt or rye grains
125g wholegrain rye flour
75g toasted hemp seeds
How To Make Hemp Seed Bread
Start by preparing the sourdough and the whole grain soaker.
Firstly, combine all sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well, then cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 to 24 hours.
In a small bowl, combine the whole grain soaker ingredients, cover and set aside for 16 to 24 hours as well.
On day 2, combine 250g of the sourdough starter (the rest goes back into the fridge for future sourdough bakes), the whole grain soaker and all main dough ingredients except the toasted hemp seeds in a large bowl.
Form the dough, then turn out the dough onto your work surface to hand-knead for about 10 minutes.
Add the toasted hemp seeds and knead them all in until evenly distributed.
Put the dough back into the large bowl, cover and rest for about an hour or two. During this time, the dough should visibly expand.
Turn out the dough and give it another quick knead before shaping it into a round loaf.
Cover the loaf with flour before placing it seamside up into the pre-floured proofing basket.
Cover with a polythene bag to ensure the dough doesn’t dry out and leave to rest for several hours at room temperature (how long exactly will depend on the temperature in your room; it took three hours in my kitchen) until fully proofed.
In time, preheat the oven to 220°C and, if you are using a La Cloche baking dome, (as I did), preheat this from cold at the same time.
Turn the loaf out onto the baking dome plate or onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes before turning the temperature to 190°C for another 50 minutes. If you are using the baking dome, take the lid off for the last 10 minutes to further strengthen the crust.
I’m sure my Austrian roots have something to do with my slight addiction to the flavour of caraway seeds. In Austrian cuisine, caraway seeds are used abundantly, from flavouring roast pork to enhancing salad dressings. Most notably, Austrian dark breads frequently use caraway seeds as part of the Brotgewürz which is used to flavour the loaves. Caraway seeds are superb bread flavour enhancers, some of the top seeds to add to breads and perfect for rye breads specifically. Here is my caraway seed bread recipe, based on a combination of wholemeal rye flour and white wheat flour, leavened with sourdough.
Are caraway seeds good for you?
Caraway (carum carvi) belongs, like coriander, fennel and celery for example, to the family of Apiaceae or Umbelliferae. Not technically seeds, caraway ‘seeds’ are the split halves of the dried fruits of the plant.
The effect of caraway is mainly related to the essential oil containing Carvon, which has a stimulating effect on the stomach and a soothing impact on the bowel. Two digestive bonus points at once.
At the same time, the delicate, aromatic but slightly bitter taste of caraway adds a completely new dimension to breads.
Caraway seed bread recipe
A great bread for tasty sandwiches or creamy vegetable soups. Delicious also with pastrami, mustard and gherkins (my personal favourite). Add slightly more or less caraway seeds than recommended below to intensify or lessen the flavour kick. The sharpness of the mustard and gherkins works incredibly well with the distinctively bitter, yet warm and sweet taste of the caraway seeded bread.
Why make a plain loaf if you can make it so much more interesting with seeds! This seeded sourdough bread recipe uses a mix of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and linseed – a loaf packed with nutrients, protein and minerals.
Seeded sourdough bread recipe
This recipe uses both rye and wheat flours as well as a tablespoon of malt extract. A tremendous flavour combination, enhanced further by the delicious seed mix.
Combine the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and keep at room temperature for approx. 16 hours.
Dry roast the seeds in a frying pan (no oil!) and toast the mixed seeds for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Place in a bowl, pour over the hot water, cover and keep at room temperature for approx. 16 hours.
Combine 300g of the sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), the seed mix soaker and the main dough ingredients in a large bowl to form a rough dough.
Knead for 10 minutes.
Cover and leave to rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
Butter a lidded pullman loaf tin, then move the dough from the bowl into the tin. Squash the dough in quite firmly and evenly.
Cover the tin with the lid and place in the fridge overnight or approx. 12 – 16 hours. It should have risen significantly during this time.
Take the pullman loaf tin out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 190°C for 20 minutes.
Bake at 190°C for 1 hour. Remove the bread from the tin approx. 15 minutes before the hour is up and put back into the oven – the bread will get a much better crust that way.
Remove from the loaf pan and leave to cool on a wire rack.
If you are new to baking bread, here is a simple recipe for an easy white sandwich bread bloomer, a great recipe for beginners in bread making. This basic white bloomer bread recipe is guaranteed to spark your love for bread baking. Perfect for families with the need for a constant supply of fresh sandwich bread. No need to buy the industrial pre-sliced loaf that comes with added processing aids, emulsifiers or preservatives and is made far too fast with too much yeast. Take note that only four ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast or natural leaven) are required to make bread.
Why bake at home?
Here are some reasons why you might want to venture into baking your own bread at home.
You’d like to eat bread based on the four basic bread baking ingredients, knowing exactly what’s in it and allowing it sufficient time to rise with a small amount of yeast
You want to fill the house with the smell of freshly baked bread – rather than the bin with plastic wrapping
You’d like to bake homemade bread that’s perfect for sandwiches and toast in the morning
You want – like my brother in law – to bake the very best vehicle for your PB&J sandwiches
Or you simply can’t be bothered to go to the store/supermarket for bread
Here is all the equipment you’ll need to make a basic white bread bloomer:
The quantities below are for a 1.3kg loaf tin (baking a 1.3kg white bloomer bread), but they are easy to adjust for other bread tin sizes. Ensure that the total weight of the loaf adds up to the volume of your loaf tin. The dough hydration of the loaf is at 64% (calculated by dividing the water content of 480g into the 750g of flour).
750gstrong white wheat flour - get the best strong white wheat flour you can buypreferably organic
No need to add sugar or butter or milk or oil as suggested in many recipes - keep it simple
How to make white bloomer bread
Combine all ingredients in the large mixing bowl and - with your hands - form a rough dough
With your dough scraper, turn out the rough dough onto a clean working surface and knead by hand for at least 10 minutes until the dough has become elastic and smooth. Have a jug of water next to you when kneading and wet your hands every now and then to keep the dough well hydrated.
Shape the dough into a ball and place back into the bowl, cover with the lid and leave to rest for about 45 minutes at room temperature. During this time, the dough should grow in volume significantly.
Punch down the dough and shape into a loaf which fits into the loaf tin well.
Place into the loaf tin and cover with a plastic bag, leaving room for the dough to rise at the top, so you avoid the dough sticking to the plastic.
Leave to proof for 1 hour or so until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C for at least 15 minutes.
Place the loaf tin (without the plastic bag) in the oven (on a shelf that leaves ample room at the top for the bread's "oven spring").
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C and bake for another 35 minutes.