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.
For Even BETTER Flammkuchen…. Use a Pizza Stone
Step by Step
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 in my tests. 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.