As far as I can think back, Hefeklösse have always been my favorite dish. These sweet German dumplings are so good that even as a little girl I couldn’t stop myself and would sometimes wolf down five or six of these larger-than-baseball dumplings. To this day, my mom will always make them for me whenever I visit knowing I just can’t resist.
Luckily with time I mastered to make my own Hefeklösse almost as good as my mom does them (you probably know, nothing tastes better than what comes out of your mom’s kitchen).
Hefeklösse are sweet dumplings, made with flour, yeast, butter, milk and sugar. There are lots of varieties – some people steam their dumplings, others bake them – and names. Hefeklösse may also be called Dampfnudeln or Germknödel, just to name a few. Sometimes these dumplings are served with vanilla sauce, other times with fruit compote or even fresh berries.
My Hefeklösse are steamed and served with hot berries. They make a full meal – so don’t make the mistake to prepare Hefeklösse for dessert. Two of these dumplings are usually enough to fill you up – unless, of course, you’re an addict like me.
So, here we go. The process may seem to be a bit long and difficult, but I am sure you can master it. I’ll give you step-by-step instructions…
Recipe for about 10 dumplings, enough for 4 people:
500g (1 lb) flour
¼ l (1 cup) milk, room temperature
30g (a little more than 1 oz.) fresh yeast, if you use dry one, check instructions, use enough for 500g (1 lb.) flour.
1 large egg
100g (1/2 cup) butter
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
A pinch salt
Two cups of fresh or frozen berries.
1. Put the butter into a small pot and let melt over medium heat, make sure not to brown it. Once fully melted, let cool for a few minutes.
2. Put flour into a large bowl.
3. Mix milk, butter, sugar, egg and yeast and add to flour. For the yeast to work, it is important that the mixture has the right temperature – it should be lukewarm, not warmer. Usually using room temperature milk and the still warm melted butter will do the job. But check with your hands, before adding the yeast.
4. Knead dough thoroughly (I usually do it with my hands).
5. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside at a warm place for an hour. The dough should rise.
6. Lightly dust a cutting board with flour. Using your hands form about 10 round dumplings and place on cutting board. Make sure there is some space between them as they will rise a little more. Cover dumplings with the kitchen towel and set aside for 15 minutes.
7. Prepare a pot for steaming the dumplings. You may use a pot with a steaming insert, but I got better results doing it the old-fashioned way my mom used to do it. Fill a large pot with water (an inch or two will do). Place a kitchen towel (use the one you used for covering the dough) on top and fix with a kitchen twine. Make sure to lift up any lose ends, so they don’t come in contact with the hotplate (after all, you don’t want to burn down the house).
8. Place4-5 dumplings onto the towel (make sure it doesn’t sag too much, if it does, tighten the twine), and cover with the lid.
9. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to low to medium to allow the water to simmer. Steam the dumplings for 15 minutes. Remove them (best with a fork, beware of the hot steam), add the second batch and steam for another 15 minutes.
10. Serve the first batch right away. Serve with either fresh or hot berries. Use two forks as your silverware. This way you can tear the dumplings apart instead of cutting them.
I usually heat up two cups of frozen raspberries with a tablespoon of water and 2-3 tablespoons sugar. Add some starch for better texture (mix 1 teaspoon of starch with a tablespoon of cold water and add to the simmering berries). Let cool to warm or lukewarm before serving.