German Pancakes – Pfannkuchen
There is nothing like the scent of fresh pancakes in the kitchen!
Recently someone asked for a recipe to make (German) pancakes … in a Geman online Community. Every answer to that question was like “I do not have a recipe, I just mix the ingredients without measurement but by feeling”. This seems so be very uncommon for Germans, since we are so obsessed with precise measurements, right? Well, German pancakes seem to be an exception. They are made by feeling and therefore all pancakes are kind of different. So no child has ever watched her mother to measure flour or milk in order to make pancakes and once one moves out, one has to figure it out by themselves. What one needs to know is this: There can be too much flour in the dough but probably not too much milk, and it doesn’t work without eggs!
However, don’t worry, I will not leave you to the science without proper advice about how much of what you need!
I have a cookbook and I will use their measurements – I even tried it out, it works! – and I will also reveal my secret pancake ingredient: baking soda! OK, that is not surprising to you, since everyone here has baking soda in the pantry. In Germany, most people don’t even know how the package of baking soda looks like and where they can find it in the supermarket … and what is baking soda anyway?
Yet soda is in my pancakes since so many years that it goes even back to my time in Germany and the reason is, that it makes the pancakes fluffy and easier to digest. Otherwise you can feel really heavy after eating a pancake, trust me!
Some people like their pancakes thick, some like them very thin and some like them in between. I suggest you try different styles and come to your own conclusion. We love them thin but sometimes we add apple slices to the pan or plums or banana slices – then we need to make them a little thicker.
Pancakes are not a breakfast in my country. They are a lunch and therefor a complete (sweet) meal.
In my family I have made it a tradition to tell the story of the very big, fat pancakes (no offence) to my little ones while I bake them – and they can never hear enough of that story, because – just like my pancakes – I vary the story every time.
In a nutshell the story is about a pancake, baked by three women. It jumps out of the pan, through the window and right into the woods. There he meets different animals like a bear, a wolf, a fox … and they all say “Come here, big fat pancake, I want to eat you” but the pancake answers: ” Oh no, I have already run from three women, the bear and the wolf … and I will run from you, too!”. And this way the story goes on until the pancake meets some really hungry kids (who happen to have the same names as my kids) who are lost in the woods and he feels so sorry for them, that he decides to sacrifice himself. End of story – bon apetit!
Syrup is not the common topping on German pancakes but jam is. We spread it on the pancake (no butter !) and then roll it and eat it like a wrap.
Some people like it with Nutella, I love a mix of cinnamon and sugar and with some apple sauce as a side.
In summer it is a special treat to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of your pancake and add some chocolate sauce.
One can also put asparagus and a white sauce on it and fold it in half and eat it. Some like to fill it with mushrooms and bacon … there are endless possibilities!
I share a recipe made with pancakes, salmon, cream cheese and arugula some day soon …
One important thing though: When you fry the pancakes do not use oil! Instead use butter. It makes a huge difference in the taste and also butter doesn’t get as hot as oil, so there is less of a danger to burn them.
Leftover pancakes: You might think there is no such thing as leftover pancakes but a smart German mother will always bake more than needed and let the leftover cool on a plate. Then she will cut them in smaller pieces and feed them as a snack – dipped in sugar and cinnamon. Or you can also cut them in stripes and add them to a boullion – tada, there is your “Flädle-Suppe”, an other German treat.