Flammkuchen is a specialty of Alsace, which lies on the border of France to southern Germany, that is closely related to Bavarian rahmfleckerl and, of course, pizza.
Originally, flammkuchen (or "flame cake") was a bit of dough rolled flat, covered in sour cream and baked in 2 to 3 minutes in a very hot, wood-fired oven in order to check the oven's temperature and suitability for baking bread and other items.
Often burned at the edges, it has made a comeback as a fast-food goodie covered with all sorts of toppings like bacon and onions.
- For the Dough:
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/3 cup rye flour (or more bread flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cake (15 g) fresh yeast OR 1 1/2 teaspoons (3 to 4 g) active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- For the Topping:
- 1 cup crème fraîche or schmand
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 2 to 3 ounces bacon or pancetta
- 1 to 2 cups thinly sliced onions
- Snipped fresh chives and black pepper for garnish (optional)
Make the Dough
- Place bread flour, rye flour and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, dissolve fresh yeast or active dry yeast in some of the lukewarm water. If using instant yeast, stir it directly into the flours. See this page on substituting one yeast type for another.
- Add the yeast, remaining water, and oil to the center of the flour and stir to combine. Knead by hand or machine for several minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy and clears the sides of the bowl.
- Adjust the consistency by adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time or sprinkling a little bit of water over the dough and kneading again. When kneading by hand, just wet your hands and knead for another minute.
- Shape the dough into a ball and spray or coat with a thin layer of extra olive oil. Place in a bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
- De-gas (punch down) the dough gently and divide into two pieces. Shape both into a ball, coat with oil and let rise for 20 to 30 minutes, covered.
- While the dough is rising, heat your oven to 450 F. If you have a baking stone, place it in your oven. If you do not have one, place a cookie sheet upside down in the oven to heat as well.
Make the Topping
- Mix the crème fraîche or schmand with the cream to thin. Add salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
- Chop the bacon into small pieces and slice the onions which can be red, white, spring onions or a combination.
Assemble and Bake
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom side of a baking sheet and sprinkle it with a little flour. Flatten or roll out dough balls with a rolling pin and by stretching by hand (as you would pizza dough). Make them as thin as possible without ripping in the middle. Place on the parchment paper.
- Apply half of the crème fraîche to each kuchen and spread almost to the edges. Sprinkle evenly with bacon and onions.
- Slip the parchment from the inverted baking sheet to the bread stone or cookie sheet that is heating in the oven. You may have to bake one flammkuchen at a time because of space.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is golden brown on the edges. If you wish, remove the parchment paper halfway through. It should pull out easily from under the kuchen.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle chopped chives or freshly ground pepper on top, if you wish. Serve warm or cold.
Edited by Lora Wiley-Lennartz