Dutch Baby, All Grown Up

May  8, 2018

First, put the Dutch baby on your brunch bucket list. Next, make it whole grain. Better, use golden kamut flour and watch your brunch party swoon. This huge puffy pancake, resembling a giant popover, makes for show—without much effort. A 10-year old can put it together.

I was raised on German Pfannekuchen, big skillet-size pancakes, leavened only with eggs and no chemical leaveners, just like a Dutch baby. The Dutch in the name, according to many sources, comes from “Deutsch,” as in German. Reportedly, it first showed up in a Seattle restaurant in the first half of the 20th century.

After playing with half a dozen whole-grain flours over the years, a kamut Dutch baby, with its rich creamy center, emerges a winner. Dolloped with vanilla ice cream, it can even become dessert. Farro flour, with deep grassy notes, makes for a denser pancake. Spelt and whole wheat pastry flour work well, too. Unlike their all-purpose flour cousins, these pancakes billow a bit less, but reward with subtle textures and aromas that plain old white flour lacks. And, of course, whole grain flour adds vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.

Bet Mom would love this for Mother's Day brunch, no? Photo by Ty Mecham

Be sure to give the batter a one-hour rest, or make your giant pancake mix the night before; this allows the bran layer to soften for a more appealing outcome. And don’t forget to peek in on your billowing Dutch baby once it’s in the oven: After about five minutes, the batter will start to crawl up the sides of the pan, slowly but steadily, eventually puffing up all around and above the rim, depending on your flour.

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Don’t waste your time then: Sweeten your strawberries ever so slightly for their juices to draw. Set the table. Have remaining ingredients at the ready. Add perhaps a bowl of honey-sweetened Greek yogurt. Call everyone to the table. Now pull out your skillet and place it in front of all to see—as the Dutch baby will deflate as fast as a popped balloon. Gently toss on strawberries and thyme, and lavishly add confectioners’ sugar. Eat!

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Maria Speck is the author of Simply Ancient Grains and Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (both by Ten Speed Press). Her work has received multiple awards, including a Julia Child and an M.F.K. Fisher cookbook award. Raised in Germany and Greece, Maria is a veteran journalist and food writer with a lifelong passion for whole grains.