Austrian Food Special #1: Germknödel

Stop! MoFo Time!
Here’s my first post for this year’s Vegan MoFo, and it’s something I’ve been promising you for years. Now I have finally been able to dig out my grandmother’s recipe and veganize it. So without further ado… I proudly present a traditional Austrian (sweet) comfort food: Germknödel (sweet yeast dumplings)!
(One last quick disclaimer: this recipe will yield enough dumplings to feed a whole family or two, but then they do freeze well…)


1 packet yeast
500 g (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 cup nondairy milk
80 g (1/3 cup) vegan margarine
80 g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
(optional: grated lemon zest)

Filling: 200g (7/8 cup) Powidl
(a sweet preserve made from prunes – but feel free to experiment!)

Topping: 100g (7/8 cup) ground poppyseed
100g (7/8 cup) castor sugar

To serve: melted margarine (optional: rum, cinnamon)
or custard (Alpro custard from a pack will do just fine)

I hope you all know how to prepare a yeast dough, so I can skip that here. (I sincerely apologize, but I have just returned from a rather intense conference a sleep-deprived – but enthusiastic – zombie, and I am still in the process of rebooting my brain. I beg your indulgence.) Once the dough is ready, divide it into pieces approximately the size of your palm (I’m doing my best to try and describe the right size, but in the end it doesn’t matter if they’re a bit larger or smaller; they should just end up approximately the same size because of cooking times!), flatten each bit of dough out a bit, put a spoonful of Powidl (or the filling of your choice if you can’t get Powidl) in the middle, and pinch the dumplings shut. Put them on a surface dusted with flour and let them rest for 10-20 minutes (during which time they should rise a bit more). Cook the dumplings in simmering salt water (place them upside down!) for about 3 minutes with the lid on, then turn them over with a spoon and let them simmer one or two minutes more. (Frozen dumplings take a little longer to cook, but it should be easy to spot when they’re done. They will rise to the surface when it’s time to flip them over.)
There are two traditional ways to serve these dumplings – either with melted butter or custard (I for one have always preferred custard), but either way they must be topped with a mixture of ground poppyseed and castor sugar (like in my picture).
They are my favourite childhood comfort food, and I hope you will like them too.

(Edit, next day: Changed one or two adjectives for more accuracy!)

14 thoughts on “Austrian Food Special #1: Germknödel

  1. Hi Phoenix! Found you in the Vegan MoFo feed and am very excited. These dumplings were my husband’s favorite from a ski trip to Austria when he was a child. He has talked about them for the 18 years we have been together, calling them something like “gumple-scha-noodle.” He would love to know how they are really pronounced :-)

    When you have time (no rush) could you pretty please add the directions for the dough? Dough recipes can have many variations, and I want to be able to get this right. I’m not an expert in yeast dough and wouldn’t know the subtleties of dealing with this recipe.

    Looking forward!!
    Dawn (Vegan Fazool blog, I’m doing MoFo this year, too!)

  2. Thank you for the comment, Dawn, that’s amazing! Here’s the phonetic spelling of “Germknödel” from Wikipedia: [ˈɡɛɐ̯mˌknøːdl̩]. (It’s really hard to describe the umlaut correctly. I wish I knew how to make a recording and embed it here.)
    I’m used to making the dough with fresh baker’s yeast rather than dry yeast, and it goes something like this (I’m praying that my cooking vocab won’t desert me): You dissolve the cube of yeast in about half a cup of the nondairy milk (warmed up to about room temperature!) with a spoonful of the sugar added (I usually use a coffee mug to do this in and use a fork to stir it). Leave it to react for a couple of minutes (it will get bubbly). Meanwhile you pour the flour in a big bowl and make a dent in the middle. Pour the bubbly yeast mixture into the dent, stir a teeny bit of the surrounding flour in, cover it with a dusting of the remaining flour and wait for some minutes more until it’s what we Austrians call a “Dampfl” (and which looks very much like a sourdough starter). You can melt the margarine in the meantime. Then you carefully stir in the remaining ingredients, knead everything together and leave the dough to rise in the bowl (covered with a dishcloth). It should be in a warm room without a draft. (I have successfully left yeast dough to rise in the “cold” oven before, just to keep it out of my kitties’ reach.) After an hour or so, it will have about doubled in size. “Beat it down” and knead it until it’s soft and fluffy. (If you have made yeast dough before, you will know the moment it “feels right”.) It will be ready to form into dumplings.
    Hope that helped – I’m still not getting enough sleep. (But knowing that I made you and your husband happy really made my day!)

    P.S. Don’t panic. A friend of mine has successfully made Germknödel using dry yeast. :)

  3. hey there, fantastic recipe – i’m also blogging about austrian cuisine the whole october – starting on the 3rd! :-)
    i’m very curious how things will differ from yours.
    looking forward to your posts,

  4. Hey there, greetings from your southern neighbour ;) that knödel looks delicious, and I am definitely marking your recipe! We also have similar “knedli” in Slovenia, but we make them with potato dough. Looking forward to trying out this method once VeganMoFo is over! I’m doing a week of traditional recipes as well, and I wonder if there are any similarities given the geographical proximity :)
    Will be checking back on your blog :)

  5. Dearest Phoenix,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to post the dough recipe, that is totally do-able and I am actually going to try it tonight! I’ve got fresh apples and I’m going to make a thick, apple-pie like filling and still use a vanilla custard for on top (I think I’ll do a soy-yogurt based vanilla custard) while I try to find the authentic prune filling online, maybe on amazon or something.

    May I post it on my blog for MoFo once it is done? It will be my pleasure to credit you and link back to this post, of course.

    Mille Grazie (do you speak Italian, too? :-)

  6. Dear Dawn,
    I feel totally honored. Blog away! I hope your version will turn out great. And yes, actually I do speak a bit of Italian, since I grew up rather close to the Italian border. I’ll blog more veganized Austrian food once I’ve recovered from this bout of the flu I picked up at the office. Shouldn’t be long now.

  7. Excellent! I will get it up for tomorrow’s MoFo post!

    Feel better (check out my post tonight, coming up in a few minutes, for a possible cure for your flu!) I made it last night and it was amazing, and I think it cured me!

    <3 Dawn

  8. This is beautiful! I never really ate dumplings as a kid, even though we lived in Germany for a while. I didn’t know what I was missing. I’m bookmarking this recipe!

  9. So far, every time we made more Germknödel than people, we put all the remaining Knödel in the freezer.
    I’d say: stick them in the fridge and boil them the next day; already boiled ones would definitely go rubbery.
    You can keep yeast dough in the fridge overnight (although a quick Google tells me that the results are more even when it’s refrigerated after the first rise), so I’d totally give it a go (but I can’t guarantee the shape of the boiled Knödel).

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