Pour the lukewarm water into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast and sugar.
Let it stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast and sugar completely.
Set in a warm, draft free place (such as a turned-off oven with pilot light on) for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture almost doubles in volume.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with a large spoon until it is smooth and well mixed.
Beat in the 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and the warm milk, salt, nutmeg and yeast solution.
Then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
Mix with the spoon or your hands until the dough is firm enough to be gathered into a compact ball.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it by pushing it down with the heels of your hands, pressing it forward and folding it back on itself.
Repeat this procedure for about 10 minutes, lightly flouring the surface from time to time to prevent the dough from sticking.
when the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a bowl coated with 1 teaspoon of soft butter, drape it with a towel and let it rise in a warm draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in bulk.
Then punch the dough down with a sharp blow of your first and knead it again for 3 or 4 minutes.
Flour your hands lightly, pinch off pieces of the dough and shape them into 12 balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Lay the dumplings on a floured board and allow them to rise again until doubled.
Spread a damp kitchen towel over a rack set in a large roasting pan and on it arrange the dumplings about 2 inches apart.
Add enough water to the pan to come to within 1 inch of the rack.
Bring to a boil over high heat, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to moderate.
Steam the dumplings undisturbed for 20 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch.
Serve as hot as possible on a large, heated platter.
Traditionally the dumplings are served with meats, or stewed fruit compote.
The Cooking of Germany Time Life.
An alternate way to cook the dumplings is to bring a large covered kettle of water to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and drop in as many dumplings as will fit without crowding.
When they rise to float on the top, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a platter and serve.
My German family eats them by tearing them open with two forks, then pouring in melted butter and sprinkling with coarse white sugar.