Sourdough Poffertjes

Poffertjes (puffy coin sized pancakes) are a dutch staple here in Germany. They’re sold in paper bags on christmas markets, drenched in butter and generously dusted with powdered sugar. I love the little things, but having to go to a christmas market just to have a portion isn’t very convenient in times when there are no christmas markets. Like… right now. For some reason my poffertjes cravings always start in january.

I think I was 19 when I got my first poffertjes plaat, a special pan with small dents to bake them. It was aluminum and always looked icky from the slight grease patina and scratched up from the cleaning. I’ve upgraded to the heavy metal version (cast iron) years ago and that pan bakes much better and more evenly. The only thing I’m missing is the wooden handle from the old pan. It was so convenient to be able dump all the pancakes at once instead of picking them up up with a skewer when they’re done.

The (still hot and not yet cleaned) poffertjes plaat (left) in comparison to my aebleskiver pan. The poffertjes plaat has very shallow dents that are only about 5cm / 2 inches in diameter.

You don’t need to buy a poffertjes plaat to make poffertjes, a flat pan works just as well. Your mini pancakes won’t get the typical balloon shape, but that doesn’t diminish the fun or the taste. A blender to make a batter completely free of lumps and a squeeze bottle are a big help though.

The original poffertjes are made with a yeasted dough and always half buckwheat and half all purpose flour. Since I don’t use commercial yeast, I have a version with potato yeast (which you can find in my book) and this sourdough version.

I used Luigi, my lievito madre. It’s a stiff sourdough with 60% hydration. If you want to use a thinner sourdough, use less water in the recipe and only add more when the batter is too thick.

For about 100 tiny pancakes you need:

  • 160g lievito madre (age doesn’t matter)
  • 25g all purpose flour
  • 125g buckwheat flour (if you don’t like buckwheat, use all purpose)
  • 1 egg
  • 250g warm milk
  • 140g warm water (only 100g if you use a batter like sourdough)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (optional)
    the baking soda doesn’t just help with the rising when your sourdough is old, it also cuts the sourness and makes things more palatable.

I throw everything into the blender to make the batter. It dissolves the stiff sourdough without an issue and prevents flour lumps.

Let the batter stand for about an hour if you make the version without baking soda and let it bubble up a bit. If you use baking soda, heat your pan or griddle and fill the squeeze bottle with the batter. You can start immediately.

Grease the hot pan and place dollops of dough on the hot surface. With the poffertjes plaat, I fill the dents completely. You need a bit more than a teaspoon per pancake.

Flip the poffertjes when the top is showing bubbles. I use a thin wooden skewer for flipping and removing them. A fork or a small palette is good for a griddle or a normal pan.

Serve your poffertjes warm with a bit of butter and lots of powdered sugar.
I also like them with cut up strawberries and drizzled with warmed nutella.
They’re great cold on fruit skewers or just as is in my breakfast box alongside some fruit.

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