Bake Off Challenge – Week 3: Dampfnudel

Confession: I’m not a fan of plums, or plum sauce. Neither am I a fan of custard. So despite being two things that technically should have been made this week, I have done neither. I went for a far easier (and tastier) option: melting chocolate, and Dairy Milk no less. It wasn’t even Tesco Value. But let’s face it, the sauces were not what we were interesting in making this week.

If you were watching last week’s episode and already knew what a dampfnudel was (or thingy-majiggies as I have been calling them) then credit to you, because I was there gawping at the screen through its historical backstory trying to figure out how the hell I was going to tackle this week’s technical.

There was one thing I did know however:

“Do not remove the pan lid”

At least not until Paul’s recipe tells you to.

Ready, Set, Dough!


So, here’s what I ended up with:


Just ignore the whopping big crater

Now I have made bread before. Back in High School in Hospitality and Catering we did an entire project on bread – and yes, it’s as dull as it sounds. But it did mean we made a lot of bread so for the kneading and folding, I knew what I was doing. After working through the initial sticky phase it’s just a simple case of punching it and folding it again and again until you are left with a smooth surface. Folding it inwards after the initial proving is a bit trickier mainly due to your own personal judgement. The idea is to knock all the air out out of the dough before putting them into the poaching liquid and to be honest, I wish I knew how you can tell. I just kept folding inwards and inwards until the mixture started to return to a sticky state. Then I sprinkled a bit more flour to stiffen it up.


Don’t use a too much flour when kneading your bread dough. Too much and your dough will become too dry. It’s all about balance.

The real challenge turned out to be when there was nothing you could actually do. And here’s why.

When the dough balls had been placed in the poaching liquid, and I’d followed Paul’s golden rule of leaving the lid be, all you can do is watch and wait and judge, which is easier said than done. For starters, Paul’s recipe gives you an estimated time of 25-30 minutes. Watching them underneath the pan lid was agonisingly painful. The poaching liquid intermediately bubbled and the tops of the dampfnudel looked like they were starting to prune and I did everything I could to stop myself from lifting the pan lid.

It was a good thing I didn’t because when I did after the 25 minutes of waiting, the tops were still far too doughy. That’s why you can see a whopping great crater in one of my dampfnudels in the photo. I had to leave it for a further 10 minutes under the lid before cooking them for the further 15 minutes with the lid off. Don’t worry, that part is in Paul’s recipe. What probably didn’t help was that each dough ball was the size of a cricket ball. That’s a lot of dough to cook through all the way and I didn’t want to go the way of Rav with his dampfnudel that could be rolled back into a ball.

I wasn’t sure what we were actually looking for with the taste. They were described as tasting a lot like iced buns and for the most part, I think I accomplished that. They probably could have still done with a bit longer on the heat. The dough wasn’t raw, but I don’t think it had been cooked all the way through. Looking back it may have been better making more than the required 12 dampfnudels, to spread the mixture a little further, especially considering how much each dough ball grows. They may have been smaller, but they may have cooked better and quicker.


The smoother you can roll your dough balls, the better. If your dough is too dry then this will be more difficult to accomplish this.

The bottoms weren’t very caramalised either, despite being on the heat a lot longer than asked for. There were signs of caramalisation, but it was faint and lacked the colour you would usually expect. Whether this was to do with the lack of heat, or the size of the dampfnudels, I don’t know, but the trend with this technical seemed to be all about time and judgement.

There were very filling all the same, and the combination with the melted chocolate was magical.

Last week’s Viennese Whirls remain at the top of the food chain (for now). Let’s hope that I don’t have to appease a Swedish army any time soon.

Here’s hoping that my artistic skills with pancake batter are better in this week’s challenge.

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Want to have a go at these thingy-majiggies? The recipe is available from the BBC website, but for a shortcut, click here.


2 thoughts on “Bake Off Challenge – Week 3: Dampfnudel

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