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Making German Pancakes

Updated on December 29, 2014
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Raye gardens organically, harvests rainwater, strives to eat locally, and honors the gods from her home in the Pacific Northwest.

My Family's Traditional German Pancake

There are a variety of recipes in the world which carry the name "German Pancake." What you will read about here is the variation that I grew up with and which I continue to love and have worked to perfect.

This is a one or two person serving, made in a 9"-10" dish, most often a pie plate. The main ingredients are just milk, eggs and flour. If you have kids, they will love watching the edges puff up through the oven door as they bake.

This was a family favorite on weekends when my mother made them when I was growing up. In college this became the popular "morning after" breakfast made for friends who'd stayed over and spent the night when my roommate and I had parties. Now one of my favorite incarnations is cooking it for friends when I am traveling and stay at other people's homes. It's quite a delicious thank-you for hosts!

Baked with a metal pie plate in June 2009 at a friend's house.  I think this is the best I've ever produced!
Baked with a metal pie plate in June 2009 at a friend's house. I think this is the best I've ever produced! | Source

How Did You Like This Recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of German Pancake Recipe

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: One pancake, serves 1-2 eaters

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C whole milk, you can also use raw milk or half and half. Lowfat milk will decrease rise somewhat but works too.
  • 1/2 C high-gluten flour, multi-purpose flour works too
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ground nutmeg, just a sprinkle
  • lemon juice
  • powdered sugar, in a sifter

German Pancake Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix eggs and milk until frothy.
  3. Blend in flour until lumps are almost gone. Sprinkle in nutmeg to taste and blend lightly.
  4. When oven comes to heat, put butter into pie plate and place in oven to melt/heat butter. A metal deep-dish pie plate produces the most dramatic crusts. You want the butter to be crackling hot but not browned.
  5. When butter is ready (melted completely and just starting to brown), quickly remove pan from oven and pour in batter. Return to oven to bake for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Edges should rise as pancake cooks. When edges are browned and center is firm and dry it is done. (18-20 minutes)
  7. Remove from cooking pan and put onto a large plate. Sprinkle with lemon juice, dust to taste with powdered sugar. Serve whole or sliced like a pizza.
Here is the "classic" rendition of my family's version of the German Pancake, topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar.
Here is the "classic" rendition of my family's version of the German Pancake, topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar. | Source

Pie Plates for Baking

Norpro Stainless Steel Pie Pan 9" X 1.5" Thanksgiving New Durable Mirror Finish
Norpro Stainless Steel Pie Pan 9" X 1.5" Thanksgiving New Durable Mirror Finish

In my experience, this is THE primo pie plate to use. The metal allows for a very even and high temperature which helps gives the best loft to the pancake by getting those edges cooking as soon as you pour in the batter.

 

What Dish To Use For Baking

For close to forty years, my mom baked these in glass pie plates. When I was in college, I was gifted a set of ceramic baking pans that had nice smooth rises to the edges, and the largest of these became my dedicated German Pancake baking dish.

But then, in the summer of 2009 when I made one at a friend's house using a steel pie plate, it literally took the pancake to a whole new level! My jaw dropped when I pulled the pancake out of the oven. And when I got home, a German Pancake bake-off was conducted and the results are undeniable: you get a much more dramatic and consistent edge rise with the higher heat that steel delivers. My whole family has now switched how we cook them. I was really surprised that after 20 years to see such an improvement, but it just goes to show how you can always learn something new about a favorite dish!


Step-by-step German Pancakes

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mix two eggs...with a half cup milk...and a half clup of flour...Blend but leave ever so slightly lumpy.Melt 2T butter in cooking pan in oven, do not let it get browned!Pour egg batter into heated butter, sprinkle lightly with nutmeg, return to hot oven.Pancake shell starting to puff up as it cooks.Well-puffed pancake shell almost done cooking.Powdered sugar mill sprinkles just the right amount of topping.German pancake topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar
Mix two eggs...
Mix two eggs...
with a half cup milk...
with a half cup milk...
and a half clup of flour...
and a half clup of flour...
Blend but leave ever so slightly lumpy.
Blend but leave ever so slightly lumpy.
Melt 2T butter in cooking pan in oven, do not let it get browned!
Melt 2T butter in cooking pan in oven, do not let it get browned!
Pour egg batter into heated butter, sprinkle lightly with nutmeg, return to hot oven.
Pour egg batter into heated butter, sprinkle lightly with nutmeg, return to hot oven.
Pancake shell starting to puff up as it cooks.
Pancake shell starting to puff up as it cooks.
Well-puffed pancake shell almost done cooking.
Well-puffed pancake shell almost done cooking.
Powdered sugar mill sprinkles just the right amount of topping.
Powdered sugar mill sprinkles just the right amount of topping.
German pancake topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar
German pancake topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar

Glass Pie Plates Work Too

Pie Plate,2-Pc Set,9",Glass
Pie Plate,2-Pc Set,9",Glass

These were the style of pie plates I first used to make this type of pancake, and they are much easier to find in the world and less costly, and this is what you will come across in most people's kitchens, so know that glass plates will work just fine too.

 

The Gluten-Free Question

I've gotten quite a few people asking me about making these gluten-free. Let's take a moment folks. This recipe is for a bread product that is very light and which is meant to rise a lot. The structure inside baking dough that creates that effect is....Gluten!

If you make a German pancake with gluten-free flour, it will be a nutritious and celiac-compliant flying disk with no rise. Edible, but not the same thing at all. Different taste and texture result.

Serving Suggestions & Cooking Tips

For yummy variations, try your German Pancakes with these flavor options!

  • Top with lightly grilled veggies for a savory brunch treat.
  • Adorn with fresh strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Cut the German Pancake in half and pair up with a few strips of honey-cured bacon

Want To Make A Better Pancake? Try these tricks and tips...

  • Use organic eggs and raw milk from your local farmer's market for a super fresh variation that comes out lighter and fluffier. Test your egg freshness by putting them in a bowl of water: super fresh eggs will sink to the bottom, and not float at all.
  • The recipe will work with low-fat through whole milks, but you get better rise out of the pancake when you've got more butter fat in the milk.
  • Use only white flour for this recipe. Any substitutions wind up being too heavy for the pancake. It's not meant to be healthy, it's meant to be delicious and aesthetic.
  • If you have trouble with the pancake not rising (aka the Frisbee factor), check to make sure the pan is large enough and that the butter does not get too browned before cooking. If those both check out, vary the milk type to see if you get better rise by increasing or decreasing the fat percentage.

Pancake Commentary

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    • relache profile image
      Author

      Raye 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      It's a lot of puff too. It's 1-2 people per pancake depending on it you have anything else to serve with it.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      that is a large, way too large pancake for 4 person! More like a pie to me. Thanks for the recipe

    • relache profile image
      Author

      Raye 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I have been making some spectacular ones from fresh farm eggs here in Vegas this winter.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Now that is a big pancake! The recipe looks delicious.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Perhaps that is why my Mum's worked so well in the Aga - PS - you might like to check the 'Nutmeg'

    • relache profile image
      Author

      Raye 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Sallybea, my version also does well cold with jam, although it's often hard to make any leftovers last that long. I have never had the results as glorious as in that old Chicago stove. All that cast iron really does the trick.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      This is what we call Yorkshire Pudding which is traditionally eaten with Roast Beef for Sunday dinner but mine, I confess, never comes out looking quite like yours, so I can't wait to try out some of the tips you have here. My mother's Yorkshire would spill over the sides with glorious crispy risen batter and my brother just loved eating it cold spread with jam.

    • relache profile image
      Author

      Raye 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      They taste even better than they look...!

    • janderson99 profile image

      Dr. John Anderson 3 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

      WOW these look fabulous!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      I happen to love German pancakes, especially with cinnamon apples. Thank you for the recipe and congrats on reaching 200 hubs!

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      This looks so good!! I am used to the good old American but this sounds awesome.

    • LULU SUE1987 profile image

      LULU SUE1987 5 years ago

      Thanks for this good recipe. I cannot wait to try it.

    • profile image

      JenniferWilliam 6 years ago

      GermanPancake picture is luscious! I will try the recipe because the ingredients are easily available.

    • profile image

      GermanDelight 6 years ago

      Sounds absolutely fabulous.

    • profile image

      walt price 6 years ago

      1st time I had one,40 yrs ago, was at the old pancake house in Portland Ore. (not the chain). Ben making them since The best pan I found is the cast iron fry pan

    • kiwi91 profile image

      kiwi91 6 years ago from USA

      This looks delicious! This is my kind of pancake. I'm going to try this out someday. I'll report back with the results!

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 7 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      That sure looks yummy! I love Pancakes and can't wait to try it.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I made these for my girls this morning. I had a glass pie plate and whole milk. It was tasty, but I think I'll get a stainless steel dish and use half and half (like the recipe calls for) next time to see if that makes it puff up more.

      The girls loved it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I love german pancakes and dutch babies. Have to try this out next weekend!

    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

      Oooh. This is an awesome recipe to come across! Must try. So hungry. :o

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