Flammkuchen is a German thin pizza baked in a wood-fired oven. You can get traditional Flammkuchen at most festivals and cultural celebrations but also in some relaxed open-air eateries. We first tried Flammkuchen in a vineyard in Germany, and since we adapted this recipe to ensure you can bake a delicious Flammkuchen at home, in your own oven. The result is excellent!
What is Flammkuchen
Flammkuchen means flame cake in German. Sometimes referred to as Tarte Flambée in French, Flammkuchen is seen as a speciality of the historic regions of Alsace, Saarland, Baden and Pfalz at the French-German border region.
Originally Flammkuchen used to be just a layer of thin dough baked in the wood-fired oven for just a couple of minutes. Then the recipe evolved to be covered in white cheese or crème fraîche, onions and lardons.
Nowadays, you can get all sort of toppings on your Flammkuchen and some recipes have been adapted for vegans and vegetarians alike.
Flammkuchen vs pizza
I know what you are thinking if Flammkuchen is basically German pizza, what is the difference between Flammkuchen and actual pizza? Flammkuchen might have acquired the nickname German pizza but Flammkuchen is much thinner and with very different toppings. While pizza is round and known for its base of tomato sauce and mozzarella, Flammkuchen has more rustic flavours: crème fraîche and onions. The Flammkuchen is paper-thin whereas pizza is much thicker.
So the two might look the same and share some ingredients, but their crust and toppings are very different.
Traditionally, Flammkuchen is covered in a layered of crème fraîche, topped with thin-sliced onions and lardons. These toppings evolved to contain bacon, sausage, pepper, caraway and even nutmeg.
But what's more important is that Flammkuchen and its toppings were adapted to satisfy the diet needs of vegans and vegetarians. A vegetarian Flammkuchen is topped with crème fraîche, grated cheese, onions and seasoning, whereas a vegan Flammkuchen uses vegan sour cream, vegan cheese and onions. You will find some vegan and vegetarian varieties topped with olives instead of meats, just to make the Flammkuchen more filling.
Our recipe was adapted for vegans. Below you will learn how to make a traditional vegan Flammkuchen everyone will love!
Flammkuchen is served at many fairs, celebrations and Christmas markets. You will see it served in many shapes: round, oval and even square. Flammkuchen is shaped by hand so it comes down to the baker's personal preference.
We find it easiest to make our Flammkuchen in an oval shape. We use a rolling pin to shape the dough, and if needed, we stretch it a little more with our fingers.
If you find it easier, you can shape it into a rectangle using your rolling pin.
How to make Flammkuchen
Gather all your ingredients: flour (we used type 550), 1 sachet of instant dried yeast, a little sugar, warm water, olive oil and a little salt.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it rest for about 15 minutes until it begins to foam. This tells you that the yeast is working and it's alive.
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, and olive oil. Make a well in the middle and add the foamy yeast mixture once it's ready.
You have two options now. You either knead the dough by hand or by using a standing mixer with the hook attachment.
Kneading by hand: Once all ingredients are combined, move to a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough.
Kneading with a machine: Allow the machine to knead your dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes beautifully smooth and elastic. There should be no residue left on the sides of your bowl.
Move the ball of dough to a highly floured bowl and cover with a damp towel for about 45 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
In the meantime, prepare your Flammkuchen toppings to have them handy for the assembly. Preheat the oven to 185C/ 365F.
When the dough is ready, knock it back and divide into four equal parts. Roll each part into the desired shape for your Flammkuchen. You should try and roll the dough as thinly as you can manage. Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet. Add the desired toppings and bake in the centre of the oven for around 5-7 minutes until the sides of your Flammkuchen begin to get a little brown.
Your aim is to obtain a beautiful golden brown around the edges.
Vegan Toppings we love to use
To make Flammkuchen vegan, we recommend using Vega sour cream from Dr Oetker. We found it very similar in taste to actual sour cream and crème fraîche so it's the closest we ever got to the real thing.
We then add thinly sliced red onions because we prefer their flavours. You can use yellow onions and even shallots if you want.
We add a layer of grated vegan cheese from Simply V. We have a list of of our favourite vegan products so make sure you have look.
We then add a handful of kale, salt and pepper as seasoning. If you want you can add slices of olives or even mushrooms if you prefer.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.