Flammkuchen, literally ‘Flame Cakes’ are sometimes known as German Pizza. Covered with finely diced white or red onions and speck or bacon and a scattering of chives, they are perfect for wolfing down with a chilled glass of Riesling or a mug of Glühwein (German mulled wine).
My easy recipe is super simple to make at home for a tasty German inspired meal or snack.
WHAT ARE FLAMMKUCHEN?
While they might not be as well known outside of the country as schnitzel or pretzels, Flammkuchen, literally ‘Flame Cakes’ are Germany’s answer to pizza.
Originating on the French-German border at Alsace, where they are known as Tarte Flambée (also flame cake) they are thin and crispy flatbreads.
Traditionally covered with a topping made from crème fraîche, bacon and onions they are super flavoursome and a delicious meal or snack. If you like thin crust pizzas you will LOVE these.
Wait… I thought Pizza Was Italian?
It is, but the idea of topping simple flatbreads with delicious ingredients and cooking in a wood-fired oven is almost one of the oldest recipes in the world, with versions in nearly every culture. Alsatian Flammkuchen is actually often known in the USA as ‘German Pizza’
What toppings are on Flammkuchen?
While there are plenty of regional variations , the traditional toppings are very simple. This is a white pizza with a sauce made of crème fraîche or a big dollop of sour cream which cooks down to a wonderfully tangy, white cheese topping.
Vegetarian Flammkuchen have become popular in recent years, with thinly sliced pear and feta replacing the traditional speck.
Because the dough is so thin, it’s best to use only a handful of ingredients to top your dough, rather than overloading it. One of my favourite things about the toppings is that a little goes a long way. That means it is a great way to feed a crowd on a budget.
Where do people eat Flammkuchen?
Wherever there is a fair, festival or market, you are sure to find a stall selling this German-style pizza. They’re particularly popular around harvest time and are always available at Germany’s famous Christmas markets.
Where I live in southern Germany, these thin and crispy pizzas are incredibly popular at all the big fairs like the famous Oktoberfest.
Do I need a pizza oven to make German Pizza?
I find that the pizza crust is perfectly crisp in a conventional kitchen oven, though if you are lucky enough to have a pizza oven, go right ahead!
HOW DO I MAKE FLAMMKUCHEN?
Flammkuchen are quick and easy to make with only 4 easy steps:
- Step 1: Make a simple dough and allow to rise briefly
- Step 2: Mix together the creamy topping and slice your onions and bacon
- Step 3: Bake in a hot oven
- Step 4: Enjoy hot, with a glass of icy cold white wine.
You can prepare the dough in advance if you like, but the fact of the matter is these are thin and crisp pizzas, so there’s no need for an extended rising time. Half an hour is more than enough.
Of course, if you are super organised you can very quickly knock the dough together in the morning, then leave it to rise in the fridge during the day.
That means when you come home after a long day, you can go into the kitchen, heat the oven, and take the dough out of the fridge. By the time you’ve poured a glass of wine and are ready to start cooking, the dough has warmed up and everything is ready for you.
This recipe is easy, delicious, filling and it looks equally impressive when serving to guests as for a weeknight dinner. You’ll find the recipe card with all the details of how to make flammkuchen at the bottom of the page.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I halve this recipe?
Yes! Halve all ingredients, except the yeast.
Can I make Flammkuchen in advance?
They are best enjoyed immediately after cooking. You can, however, make the dough up to 48 hours in advance and let it rise in a covered bowl, in the fridge.
Can I add different toppings? Can I make them vegetarian?
Yes, of course. They are fundamentally similar to a white pizza. Mushrooms and blue cheese with leek would be nice!
Don’t overload the dough though or else you’ll end up with the dreaded soggy bottom. Remember simple toppings are best and avoid very liquid ingredients.
What to serve with Flammkuchen?
Serve with a crisp green salad and a cool glass of white wine like a German riesling, or in winter with a big mug of glühwein.
The temptation, knowing this is a German recipe, may be to serve them with beer, but this dish comes from the wine growing regions, so when you are eating the real thing, a wine is usually preferred.
What is the difference between pizza and flammkuchen?
They both are topped flatbreads, but Flammkuchen is always rolled out very thinly and almost always topped with creme fraiche (no tomato sauce here!)
Why is it called tarte flambÉE?
The region that they come from , the Alsace, has belonged to both Germany and France over the centuries and both German and French are spoken there. Tarte Flambée is simply the French name for this tasty snack.
Looking for more delicious and easy German RecipeS?
I have loads of them! Definitely start with my famous Oktoberfest Roast Chicken or Bavarian Roast Pork recipes. If you fancy something sweet, try my Easy German Apple Cake or Classic German Strawberry cake instead!
Flammkuchen (German Pizza)
Flammkuchen, literally ‘Flame Cake’ is Germany’s answer to pizza. These tasty thin and crunchy flatbreads are topped with rich creme fraiche, bacon and onions and are incredibly flavoursome.
Making your own dough is easy with my step by step instructions.
for the dough:
- 250g (1 ½ cups) plain or all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 7g dry yeast / 21g fresh yeast (1 sachet or half a cube)
- 3 Tbsp oil (e.g: sunflower or olive oil)
for the topping:
- 200g (1 cup) crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp vegetable stock powder
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 250g (½ lb.) bacon, very finely diced
- small bunch chives, sliced
- black pepper
- MAKE THE DOUGH: In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar and sea salt. Stir the yeast into 150ml (5 oz.) warm water until dissolved, then add to the bowl along with the oil. Knead for 5 minutes until you have a smooth dough that is stretchy and elastic. Shape into a round, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- MAKE THE FILLING: Meanwhile, prepare the filling by stirring together the sour cream or crème fraîche, onion, thyme, stock powder and nutmeg in a small bowl. Heat the oven to 250°C /475°F / Gas 9 and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment paper.
- ASSEMBLE: Divide the dough into two, and use a rolling pin to roll each out bit of dough very thinly on a lightly floured surface. You can either make two rounds, or two long ovals, each half the size of the baking tray. Lift the dough onto the prepared tray, spread each with half of the crème fraîche mixture, then sprinkle over the bacon.
- COOK: Cook the Flammkuchen for 12-15 minutes until the dough is golden brown and crisp.
- SERVE: Slice, sprinkle with chives and black pepper and serve hot.
- WINE RECOMMENDATION: A crisp Riesling or Gewürztraminer is the traditional accompaniment to Flammkuchen.
I find a baking sheet or oven tray is sufficient to cook delicious flammkuchen in a conventional kitchen oven, but if you have a pizza stone, then absolutlely use it! After all, the authentic base of this type of flatbread is extra crisp from the flame-fired oven.
Types of flour: At home in South Germany, I use our standard flour to bake with. It is called 405 flour and is similar to Italian '00' flour.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: ½ a flammkuchen
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 779Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 1377mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 32g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
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Flammkuchen is usually eaten in fall with Neuer Wein / vin nouveau – that is a very young wine which has just started to ferment. It is cloudy from the yeast, somewhat sparkling and has low alcohol.
You can get Flammkuchen at Christmas Markets then and only then would you drink Glühwein with it.
PS the literal translation „flame cake“ is not appropriate.
As a professional translator, I’d never use the word „cake“ in this context.
The origin of the word „Kuchen“ in middle German refers to savory baked goods like quiches.
„Savory crispbread“ would be a more appropriate translation
Thank you for dropping by and leaving this interesting comment. It is certainly true that Flammkuchen season is in the harvest time – though here in Bavaria they are available year round in many restaurants (as they should be, they are delicious!)
Here in Bavaria and much of South Germany the drink you are talking about is not called “vin” or “Wein”, but rather Federweißer. As we are being pedantic here, this is because partially fermented grape must is not a wine yet, rather a product on the way to becoming wine. In Austria they call it Sturm or Blitz, which I often think must have something to do with the effect it has on your guts or the speed with which one seeks out the nearest WC!
With regard to your assertion that Glühwein and Flammkuchen are only consumed together at Christmas markets, I can only presume that you are presenting personal experience as fact. I can’t imagine anyone would want to drink Glühwein in the summer months anyway!
I have to respectfully disagree with your translation of Flammkuchen, professionally or otherwise. As a native English speaker I can assure you that crispbread is entirely inappropriate, as it refers almost exclusively to rye baked hard breads (Knäckebrot) in the Scandinavian style.
Perhaps we can agree on ‘tart’, such as used in Zwiebelkuchen (onion tart). I also think it is a great shame to omit the fact that these tarts or Kuchen are traditionally wood-fired over a flame (hence the “flamm” in the name of this dish). To leave it out in favour of “Savoury” is simply not appropriate.
I’ve so enjoyed your thoughtful words and I appreciate the time you took to leave this comment.
Thanks for responding Jay. Yes, I agree on „tart“ and indeed „crispbread“ is wrong, it was late when I wrote it, so my bad.
Yes the wine is also called Federweißer but in the Pfalz/Elsass we just call it Neuer Wein. So there you have it, the regional differences.
And I think we‘d both agree if someone non-German would ask for a „German pizza“ they would get a puzzled look from the Wirt. 😉
Zum Wohl (what we say here in the Pfalz) and Guten Appetit!
My pleasure Aleenia. I love language and especially etymology so I was delighted to have this chat with you! Lucky you living in the beautiful Pfalz. So many delicious wines right on your doorstep! I have a favourite Silvaner from Wachenheim that I can never resist ordering.
You’re absolutely right, calling it German Pizza would certainly receive a strange look around these parts! My research tells me that is how our lovely friends ‘across the pond’ search for it online, so I’ve added it in brackets to nudge them in the right direction 😉
Zum Wohl und einen schönen Abend noch!