German Flammkuchen Recipe – How to Make Flammkuchen at Home
I still remember my first Flammkuchen…. We were visiting my cousin and her family at their Hotel in Vechta. They served it to us for dinner (my kids even got to help make them) and we were all hooked. Fast forward a few years, and I want to make it here at home in the US. After some trial and error, and testing a few different topping ingredients, I’ve figured out a decent German Flammkuchen Recipe. Honestly, it’s not difficult to make (it’s even easier than Pizza)… it just takes following a few steps.
You can do this!
What is Flammkuchen
Flammkuchen LOOKS like a pizza, and is labeled as “German Pizza” in some places, but it’s not a pizza. The dish was invented a few hundred years ago, as a test for oven heat. In the days of wood burning bread ovens (this is before temperature dials or thermostats for you younger readers) the Germans in the Alsace and the Palatinate would test if the heat of the oven by baking a thin bit of dough. If it was browned at the edges in 1-2 minutes, the oven was hot enough to bake bread.
Now, as Germans do NOT WASTE FOOD….Ever…. This tester piece would be eaten. But, as you can imagine, it tasted much better with toppings, so the Flammkuchen was born. (When the Alsace went back to France, they adopted the Flammkuchen, and changed the name to tarte flambée… (same stuff, fancier name).
German Flammkuchen Recipe
The traditional Flammkuchen is topped with creme fraiche, Speck (bacon), and onions. But you can be creative and switch things up!
Don’t want to use bacon? Use tiny bits of ham (or Schinken)… or leave the meat off!
In my family I have one person who has some trouble digesting raw onion, and another finds every last bit of onion and picks them off because she says “they’re gross”. So onions are problematic. I do have a work-around, just dice onions small and pre-cook… but it is also possible to leave them off altogether.
A little bit of cheese (not gobs, this isn’t American Pizza) like Gouda or Emmental go a long way to add flavor.
Thin slices of Zucchini or other squash are delicious!
Add slices of Mushroom to make Flammkuchen Forestière, it’s amazing!
Sliced Cherry Tomatoes are little little bombs of goodness….
Or take the Flammkuchen into a different direction with slices of pear and goat cheese. Or apple slices with cinnamon for a dessert Flammkuchen.
Honestly, you are only limited by your own creativity. (well, to a point… if you want pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, get a take-out pizza).
This recipe does not use yeast, which makes it fairly easy. You do have a little kneading and resting, but it’s still done in under an hour. Some Flammkuchen recipes use a yeast dough (some even say use the pizza dough from the grocery store that comes in a can…) I’ve tried a few different ones, and every single time, I end up with something that looks more like focaccia. (Clearly it’s user error.)
This non-yeast method is easier by far.
Easy German Flammkuchen Recipe
- Flammkuchen Dough-
- 2 cups 220 gr All Purpose Flour (set aside a few Tablespoons for rolling)
- 1/2 cup 120 ml water (lukewarm)
- 2 Tbl Olive Oil
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche 120 ml (see note below)
- 1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg optional
- 1/4 tsp ground Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Thin Sliced or Diced Onion see notes
- 1/2 cup diced small Bacon or Schinken or Ham
- 1/2 cup Cheese if desired
- Substitute or Add-
- Sliced Tomatoes
- Sliced Squash
- 2 cookie sheets
- 1 sheet of Baking Parchment
- For the Dough;
- In a mixer, combine the flour, salt, oil, and water. When it's fully mixed, take it out and knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes. You will feel it change and get "smoother". (Or you will get impatient, and just stop). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let it rest somewhere warm (not hot) for 25-30 minutes. (I put mine in the microwave so it's out of the way)
- Prep the Toppings;
- In a bowl mix the creme fraiche with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Dice the bacon/speck/ham
- Slice the onions thinly
- Move an oven rack to the lowest level. You can take out the other one, so it's out of the way.
- Turn on the oven to 480 degrees Fahrenheit
- Put a cookie sheet into the oven (if it has a lip, put it in upside down) on the low rack to heat up with the oven.
- When your dough has rested, sprinkle some of the reserved flour on a surface, and roll it out. I do this on top of a sheet of parchment paper to make transferring it easier.
- This part is important. You need to roll it very thin...and it wants to spring back. Just keep at it.
- (I like to roll it to a rectangle, because it needs to fit on the cookie sheet.)
- Spread the creme fraiche over the rolled out dough (try to avoid the edges)
- Sprinkle on the toppings
- To Bake-
- Use the Parchment to slide the whole thing onto a cookie sheet... then open the oven, and slide the parchment onto the hot cookie sheet in the oven. (This way you don't have to juggle the Flammkuchen or fold it or drop it on the ground... or take the hot sheet out of the oven!)
- Bake 18-20 minutes
- When it's all baked, slide it out onto the cool cookie sheet or serving tray. The parchment should slide away easily.
- Slice and eat.
- Mexican Crema mixed with a bit of Greek Yogurt (2/3 to 1/3) whisk till smooth
- Sour Cream mixed with Heavy Cream (2/3 to 1/3) whisk till smooth The traditional recipe calls for thin slices of raw onion that cook while the Flammkuchen is baking. If you like your onion a bit mellower, saute the slices (or dices) in a bit of Olive Oil for a few minutes to soften and even brown a bit BEFORE adding them to the Flammkuchen.
For Even BETTER Flammkuchen…. Use a Pizza Stone
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Step by Step for making the German Flammkuchen Recipe
Mix the dough ingredients together, knead for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface, then wrap into a ball and let rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll it out very thin
Mix Creme Fraiche with seasonings
Spread the sauce on the dough, and sprinkle on toppings
Onion and Schinken
Tomato, Schinken, and Gouda Cheese
Schinken and Gouda Cheese
Bake on top of a cookie sheet or pizza stone
Can’t find Creme Fraiche?
I used both Creme Fraiche and Crema Mexicana while testing my German Flammkuchen Recipe.. The Crema is more available here in my California Grocery stores…. mixed with a bit of Greek Yogurt, it works just fine. Alone it’s a bit too liquid. (even mixed, it’s more liquid than the Creme Fraiche). Some recipes say to use Sour Cream, but to me it’s TOO sour. Maybe mix it with a third of heavy cream to soften the flavor, and make it spreadable.