Anika R.
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#FoodFriday: Großer Hans - North German ...

#FoodFriday: Großer Hans - North German Bread Pudding

Mar 28, 2022

It is Friday and you know what that means: #FoodFriday

Today, we go to the West coast of Germany, to Dithmarschen and Northern Frisia, and look at the Großen Hans. Großer Hans (or Groter Hans in Low German; Big John if translated) is a kind of bread pudding cooked in a bain-marie. It is also called Semmelpudding (bread roll pudding). Often it is served with thick cherry sauce but you can also eat it with pork or other savory food.

There is no one recipe for Großen Hans but many regional and family variations. It used to be that stale bread or rolls were used, but nowadays most people use flour and semolina. Other ingredients include sugar, butter, 3-4 egg yolks, 3-4 egg whites (folded in at the end), some vanilla, lemon, semolina, baking powder, and (rum soaked) raisins. You will also find recipes with chopped up bacon in it. It really depends. Looking at photos and recipes, you will see a large variety, some are made with nuts, some with Quark, some without raisins.

What the different recipes have in common though is the shape and the cooking method. In Germany, you can find special Großer Hans baking pans, but if you live abroad you can use a Gugelhupf form. It’s similar to a bundt cake pan but taller and not as wide.

The batter is poured into the form and then set in a large pot of boiling water. There the bread pudding is cooked for around 1.5 hours, half covered. It is then cut in slices and served as a sweet dessert or as a side dish. Whatever is left over can be fried in butter the next day.

Photo: Großer Hans, Von Sebastian Fischer - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Großer Hans is related to the Mehlbeutel or Mehlbüdel which means ‘flour bag’ in English. The Mehlbüdel is documented as early as 1683, it is especially popular in Dithmarschen. The bread pudding probably comes from England and was imported by seafarers.

The Mehlbüdel is larger than the Große Hans and instead of a pan it is cooked in a cloth in boiling water. It can also contain raisins or bacon. While it spread across Germany, sometimes known as Serviettenkloß (napkin dumpling), it didn’t usurp the dumpling in most parts of Germany.

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