Ralph from Madison, WI (2017 Week 3: Bread)




Madison, WI

Baking Challenge


Give your bread a name and tell us about your recipe.

Pfälzer Dampfnudeln.
My mom used to make Dampfnudeln for us kids for lunch once in a while. I don’t quite remember, but I am not sure she used milk for steaming them. Another classic way (stemming from the Rhineland-Palatinate area) is to just use water, oil, and salt. That makes for a super-crunchy salty bottom, which complements the sweet sauces nicely. My recipe for the dough asked for only one egg but was otherwise similar.
For sauces–I went with vanilla, just as many others did. But we kids loved eating our Dampfnudeln with a mix of butter, sugar and poppy-seed. That is typical of Germknödel (the Austrian version of Dampfnudeln) but we loved it with the Dampfnudel as well. So, I made that and realized how I missed it.

Would you describe yourself as a rogue baker, or do you strictly adhere to the recipe?

Short answer: I am German, I follow the recipe. It’s probably been around for as long as the Reinheitsgebot–no need to mess with it.
Longer answer: Ever heard of a rogue chemist, physicist, accountant? Right! Baking is much less forgiving than cooking when it comes to switching up or adding/leaving out ingredients, so I usually follow my tried and true recipes. However, ingredients differ, no one flour is like the other, so over years you develop a feeling for how a dough or batter must feel. But I try to always keep the ratio of ingredients in mind.

Tell us about how you added a Wisconsin twist to your bread creation.

I used local ingredients wherever I could but the twist lies outside the Dampfnudel. I got some free rhubarb from UW agricultural students which I cooked into a syrup. Add ice and sparkling water and here you have a Wisco Spritz, which we enjoyed with the dumplings.

How did you do?

Rocked it.