This Sourdough Discard Dutch Baby or German Pancake has a crispy outer crust and a soft custardy middle with a slight sourdough tang.
A Sourdough Dutch Baby is a great way to use sourdough discard and makes a quick easy breakfast that can be customized with a variety of toppings.
Lately, I’ve been transforming as many recipes as possible to make them sourdough-friendly. I hate waste and really enjoy the ritual of feeding my sourdough starter daily. I always have sourdough discard waiting to be used.
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Why you will love this recipe
- This Dutch baby is so easy to make. The blender does all of the hard work.
- Easily customize the Dutch baby to pair it with your favorite sweet or savory toppings.
- You can use either sourdough discard or active sourdough starter.
What is a Dutch baby?
A Dutch baby, sometimes called a German pancake, has thin crispy puffed-up edges and a thicker custardy center. Dutch babies puff up as they are baked in a hot cast iron or metal pan and deflate once they are removed from the oven. They can be savory or sweet.
What do Dutch baby pancakes taste like?
Dutch baby pancakes taste like a cross between a crepe, a pancake, and bread pudding. The edges are thin and crispy like a crepe while the center is thicker and softer like a pancake with a little bit of custard texture like bread pudding. They have a subtle sweetness with a faint vanilla aroma.
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is the part of your sourdough starter that you usually throw away when you feed it. I feel guilty about throwing away food and am always looking for ways to reduce food waste.
Sourdough discard adds tons of incredible flavor to baked goods. The lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough discard adds flavor and tenderizes wheat proteins.
This recipe can use sourdough discarded from any step in the sourdough starter process. It can be bubbly and freshly fed, dormant from sitting in your refrigerator, or anywhere in between. It also doesn’t matter what type of flour your starter has been fed with. All-purpose, whole wheat, or any variety of flour will work.
Sourdough Tip: Keep a glass jar in your refrigerator to store your sourdough discard. Continue adding to it until you have enough to make your chosen sourdough discard recipe.
- Eggs: Large and at room temperature.
- All-Purpose Flour: No need for any fancy flours, all-purpose flour works great in this recipe.
- Sourdough Discard: I always have discard I am looking to use up. This recipe uses one cup.
- Milk: Feel free to use whole, 2%, skim, or whatever dairy milk you have on hand. I have not tested this recipe with non-dairy milk.
- White Sugar: Omit if making a savory dutch baby.
- Salt: My preference for cooking is kosher salt.
- Vanilla Extract: Omit if making a savory dutch baby.
- Butter: Unsalted is preferred. Does not need to be at room temperature.
- 10-inch Cast Iron Skillet or 6-quart enamel-coated Dutch oven
- Blender: This is the Ninja Blender set I currently use.
A note about the cooking method
Most Dutch baby recipes suggest preheating your pan while the oven preheats and then pouring the batter into the hot skillet. I have had mixed results with this method. Sometimes my pan wasn't hot enough and my Dutch baby didn't rise properly. Other times my pan and butter heated for too long and the butter burnt. Also, I loath having to pour cold batter into a hot skillet. I always have visions of my favorite Dutch oven cracking due to thermal shock.
Then I stumbled upon this article from Cook's Illustrated. They tested different batters and cooking methods in order to create the perfect Dutch baby. Their conclusion? Start cooking your dutch baby in a cold pan in a cold oven. This cooking method takes a bit longer but has always worked for me.
This cooking method creates tall crispy sides while still maintaining a custardy middle. As the oven warms gradually, the center begins to set and becomes thick and custardy before the pan becomes hot enough for the edge to start to puff and rise.
Add the eggs to a blender and blend for about 30 seconds until light and foamy.
Add the flour, sourdough discard, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt to the blender and blend for an additional 30 seconds until smooth. Allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes.
Pour the batter into the center of the pan and place it in the oven. Set the oven to 375 degrees Farenheight. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the center is just beginning to color. Do not open the oven while baking.
Serve warm with your favorite toppings.
Frequently asked questions
You may have noticed there are no yeast or chemical leaveners in this recipe nor do you whip the egg whites separately. So what makes a Dutch baby rise? Steam! A Dutch baby rises as the liquid in the batter turns to steam. Heat causes the gluten and egg proteins to form into a flexible structure trapping the steam inside.
Because the edges of the pan are hotter than the center the edges of the Dutch baby rise more than the center and become crispy.
Once out of the oven, the Dutch baby will quickly collapse as the steam holding it up evaporates in the cooler air outside of the oven.
You didn't rest the batter.
Resting the batter for about 10 minutes after mixing allows time for the gluten to form. The batter needs to be flexible enough to stretch as the steam expands without breaking. After resting the batter give it a quick 30-second whirl in your blender just before pouring it into the hot pan to work in some additional air.
I prefer to add my toppings after the dutch baby has baked. I don't want anything weighing down the batter so that it can achieve its maximum puffiness.
Sweet dutch baby
For a seasonal sweet treat top your dutch baby with in-season fruit. Fruit can be used fresh or be lightly sauteed in butter. You can use fresh berries, like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries, stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, or, plums, or sauteed sliced apples with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Or keep things really simple with just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Savory Dutch baby
Dutch babies can also be savory. When making a savory dutch baby omit the sugar and vanilla. After baking your Dutch baby try adding toppings like cooked sausage or bacon, cheese, sauteed vegetables, and fresh herbs.
- Fried eggs, sausage, sauteed diced bell peppers, and hot sauce
- Smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and chopped fresh dill
- Sauteed kale, crispy bacon, and Parmesan cheese
How do you store leftover sourdough German pancakes?
Refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat microwave for a minute or two until heated through.
- Room temperature ingredients mixed together easier.
- Blend the eggs first. We want to trap as much air as possible before adding the other ingredients.
- Bake in the lower ⅓ of your oven closer to the heating element where the heat will be more intense.
If you are new to sourdough starters, I've created a sourdough gift guide that lists all of my favorite sourdough products.
Thanks for Reading!
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