About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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The German Pancake

January 30, 2022

Two blog posts back I said the next post would be about the first picture on that blog post.  This above is the picture of a German pancake. People have given them many names ,Dutch Baby, Cloud pancakes, Bismarck and maybe others. It is all about fiddling with the recipes.  There are other Cloud pancakes that look like a regular American pancake but very puffy. 

A few weeks ago, my daughter sent me a link to a recipe to make these cloud pancakes and so I decided to try it.  This is easy to make but I know them by the name German pancake and would I have cooked this in 1943?

My first thought was it was a Dutch baby pancake since I have made those before.  These are eaten with most any type of topping, fruit, syrup, powdered sugar and lemon juice.

Then  my curious mind  wondered if this used to be  a flat custard like pancake and someone figured out how to make it rise like this to be impressive and now they have all kinds of names. 

So I decided to do some research to find the real German Pancake.

To my surprise, I found German Pancakes mentioned in 1882 here in the U.S. There may be earlier than that but that was as far back that I researched. It referred to a custard like pancake.

Then in 1899, a story in the paper about German Pancakes.  

The story reads,

"I don't feel hungry," said the man from Michigan, as he sat down at the table of a Chicago restaurant, and hastily glanced at the bill of fare.  He asked the waiter to bring him half a dozen German Pancakes.

The waiter allowed a look of polite astonishment to fit over his usually impassive face.  "Folks don't usually order more than one," he said in a apologetic tone.  The man looked angry.  "I guess I know what I want," He declared, bringing his fist down on the table so that the imitation cut-glass sugar bowl lid rattled. "City people may think it polite to eat only one flap jack, but I'm a native of Michigan, and when I was a boy I used to eat ten German pancakes for breakfast. Are you going to fill my order?

The waiter bowed and disappeared. The man read a paper for awhile. then he fidgeted . Finally he complained to the head waiter that he had not come to the city to spend the day in a public dining-room. At the end of 15 minutes, six waiters approached his table.  The first-deposited a platter of the largest size. In the center was a pancake 18 inches in diameter.  It was flanked by pieces of lemon and half concealed in powdered sugar,.  The second and third waiter bore duplicates of the first pancake as did the fourth, fifth and sixth.  There was not room on the table for all the pancakes, so two of them were placed on a side table. The waiters looked very serious, but the persons who were enjoying a luncheon began to smile. One man laughed aloud. 

The visitor  looked-at his check, which called for $1.80. Then he surveyed about 14 square feet of German pancakes. 

"These things seem to have grown since I was a boy," he observed.  Three men chuckled so audibly that they attracted attention. The owner of the pancakes frowned at them. Then he ordered the waiters to give each a pancake.  Twenty persons stopped eating to express their merriment. 

The man from Michigan immediately became good-natured.  He consumed two of the pancakes, gave the waiter who had taken the order half a dollar and when he paid his bill remarked that hereafter he would get the measurements of things to eat before he picked them out from a Chicago bill of fare.

This is a slice of the cloud pancake.  I think the story above indicates the beginning of the change for the German pancake.

After the year 1900, there were recipes for this pancake.  In 1928 an article that described the pancake being a sort of omelet and bread in one.  The bread is more like a spoon bread than anything else but it also is a bit like a popover.

When I read that, I knew right away this was the pancake that rises up the side of the pan I first knew as a Dutch Baby.   It gave a recipe, "One-half cup flour, one-half cup cream, mix well, add two whole eggs, one tablespoon of melted butter, seasoned with sugar, vanilla essence and one pinch of salt.  Have a hot pan ready with a little butter in it, pour dough to cover the pan and bake in a really hot oven.  Serve with any kind of preserves or salad. It was described after the recipe her method and how she only add the vanilla if she was using it for a dessert.  Ham was mentioned in another recipe.

Many of the recipes were very similar.

Then I found this German Pancake recipe from 1938. Pictured above.

1938.  It is taller but thinner than the recipe that is going around today. 

Charles and I like this recipe the best. We decided we better try them soon because food rationing is going start soon with our ww2 study. Coffee and Sugar is the only food we are rationing at this time.

The recipe is;  3 eggs, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 3/4 cup milk. 

Beat eggs without separating; add the flour and salt and part of the milk and beat until batter is smooth.  Add balance of milk and melted butter.  Pour batter into a large well greased frying pan and bake in a hot oven about 20 minutes.  The ideal frying pan for this purpose should be heavy with slightly curved sides.  Remove pancake to large hot platter; sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar and cinnamon and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over all.   Roll pancake and serve.  Or the pancake may be rolled with jelly or wild cranberries which make a delicious filling.  Wild cranberries are very small and are preserved and imported to us from Europe.

The recipes before this one always mentioned heating the pan and some said add vanilla and this recipe did not so I decided I would add just a tiny bit of vanilla and also heat a buttered pan in the oven before pouring in the batter.  It says to bake in a hot oven but does not tell what temperature so I baked it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. 

We ate ours with cinnamon, lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Syrup is good on it too. But as we ate it we thought that the cinnamon would be better put in the batter and cooked.

We made another German Pancake from a recipe dated 1944 and this one above was not impressive at all and too much work and called for a 500 degree oven which burned the butter so I will not even post anymore aboutit.

This morning was another day to make a German Pancake and I combined the 1928 and the 1938 recipes and this is the recipe.

3 eggs

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon melted butter and extra to butter pan

3/4 cup milk

Several shakes of cinnamon depending on how much you like cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

This looks like more cinnamon than it actually was.  I would say a little over half a teaspoon. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees. You will want to put your well buttered or oiled cast iron skillet or Pyrex dish or whatever you are using in the preheated oven after you have beaten the eggs so the pan can heat up.  Just do not burn your butter/oil . We use a cast iron skillet.

Beat eggs without separating; beat until good and frothy, add the flour and salt and part of the milk and beat until batter is smooth.  Add balance of milk and melted butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat until a bit frothy again and then pour into the heated pan.  Bake in the hot oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar and squeeze the juice of half a lemon all over. 

These German Pancakes remind me of a light egg custard pie. Light in taste and light in weight of the pancake.  They are fun to watch to see how high they will rise up the side of the pan.

So that is my research for the German Pancake, Aka, Dutch Baby, Aka Cloud Pancake that were being cooked in 1943 and well before that.

I hope you found this interesting, Grandma Donna

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