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Flammkuchen (German Pizza)

When most people think pizza, they think Italy, but Flammkuchen, the crispy and smoky German pizza, is definitely worth your time!

Bacon, caramelized onions, and a creamy base make up this classic German pizza, Flammkuchen, all on top of a cracker-thin, crispy crust.

We do love a big slice of saucy, mozzarella-laden, classic, Italian pizza. But, it’s also fun to explore the way that pizza has taken on a life of its own in regions outside of Italy.

Like this specialty of Alsace, France and South Germany: Flammkuchen (sometimes spelled Flammenkuchen).

What is Flammkuchen?

Flammkuchen (pronounced flam-KOOK-en) comes from South Germany and the Alsace region of France (along the southwestern French-German border).

Translated ‘flame cake,’ flammkuchen were originally used by bakers to test the temperature of their ovens. A bit of dough was taken and rolled flat, topped with crème fraîche, and baked in the wood-fired bread oven for a few minutes.

The amount of time it took for the flammkuchen to bake to nearly-blistered crispness told them the oven’s temperature. If the flammkuchen came out just right, then the ovens were ready to bake their bread!
Flammekuchen, French Alsace pizza with bacon and caramelized onions.

Crispy Thin Crust Pizza

Thin and crispy crust pizza lovers, this pizza is for you!

Flammkuchen is characterized by its incredibly thin, crisp, and blistered crust.

We’re talking cracker-like here folks.

What Is Crème Fraîche?

Rather than a tomato sauce, the dough for flammkucken is spread with crème fraîche (KREHM fresh), a thick, French, soured cream.

Crème fraîche is less sour than American sour cream, so if you can’t find crème fraîche, we recommend using plain, strained yogurt. (Yogurt is naturally thinner than crème fraîche, so we strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to thicken it to a more proper consistency.)

When the crème bakes with the crust, it creates a slightly tart, creamy contrast to the crust’s crispness.

Flammekuchen, German pizza, with a bite taken out on a slate board.

Bacon and Caramelized Onion German Pizza

While you can use any toppings that you like for you flammkuchen, the most traditional combination includes bacon and caramelized onions. These are seasoned only with a bit of nutmeg and black pepper.

Other common variations include

  • gruyère (or Swiss) cheese
  • mushrooms
  • Munster cheese

You can even find sweet versions of flammkuchen that are typically made with apples, cinnamon, and a sweet liqueur.

We went for the classic caramelized onion and bacon version today. Because, really, how can you go wrong with those toppings?

Crisp, creamy, smoky, with a hind of caramelized sweetness.

This pizza makes for a perfect light dinner or appetizer.

Layering bacon, caramelized onions, and creme fraiche on a thin crust for a classic German Flammkuchen recipe.

Our Flammkuchen Recipe

As far as making pizza goes, this flammkuchen recipe is fairly straightforward.

The dough is a simple mixture of flour, salt, water, and oil that mixes together well and kneads nice and smooth. (Kneading to a smooth dough is important because you want your dough to be able to stretch out nice and thin.)

While the dough rests, it’s time to prepare the toppings. 

  • Mix the crème fraîche and nutmeg for your ‘sauce’.
  • Saute up some bacon. 
  • Caramelize some onions in the bacon grease. 

Then, it’s time to stretch the dough. We like to stretch it right onto a baking sheet, that way once it is stretched, we don’t have to move it and risk tearing the dough.

Finally top and bake ’till crispy!

Flammekuchen, German pizza, with a bite taken out on a slate board.

More Pizza Recipes To Enjoy

Pizza around the world has taken on some fun twists. If you’re a pizza lover, give these other variations a try too!

And, for your classic Italian pizza, you’ll love our quick and easy pizza dough or our whole wheat bread machine pizza dough recipes. 

Yield: 1 (11x16 inch) pizza

Flammkuchen (German Pizza)

Flammekuchen, French Alsace pizza with bacon and caramelized onions.

When most people think pizza, they think Italy, but Flammkuchen, the crispy and smoky thin crust German pizza, is definitely worth your time!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

For the Toppings

  • 1 c crème fraîche, or 1 c Greek yogurt, or slightly over 1 c plain yogurt, strained *
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ lb bacon, diced
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced thin
  • ground black pepper (to top)
  • Cornmeal (for the pan)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 500F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, water, and oil. Mix until a dough begins to form, the turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is soft and smooth, 3-5 min. Set the dough aside and cover it with a towel.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together crème fraîche and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a large sauté pan, sauté bacon over medium high heat, until it is cooked about halfway to crisp, 2-4 minutes. Remove the bacon (keeping the grease in the pan) to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  5. Place the sliced onions into the hot bacon grease and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 10 min. Remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Roll and stretch the dough out into a rectangle, roughly 11x16 inches. Place the dough onto a large baking sheet that has been generously dusted with cornmeal. Layering bacon, caramelized onions, and creme fraiche on a thin crust for a classic German Flammkuchen recipe.
  7. Spread the crème fraîche mixture over the crust, leaving just a little bare crust border. Distribute the caramelized onions over the crème fraîche, and sprinkle the bacon over the onions. Finish everything off with a dusting of black pepper.
  8. Place the baking sheet with the pizza into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pizza is crisp and the edges are starting to darken.
  9. Remove from the oven, cut, and serve immediately with some good wine.

Notes

*To strain your yogurt, place it in a couple layers of cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl for 20-30 minutes.

Want to convert to WEIGHT measurements? Have a look at our ingredient conversion guide

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1/4 of recipe

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 853

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram. Don't forget to tag @curiouscuisiniere!


We love this recipe so much, and we make it often. So, we’ve updated our pictures since we first shared it on Curious Cuisiniere. But we’ve left some original images here, in case you’ve found us in the past and are looking for that old, familiar image.

Bacon, caramelized onions, and a creamy base make up Flammkuchen, this classic German pizza, all on top of a cracker-thin, crispy crust. | www.curiouscuisiniere.com

Bacon, caramelized onions, and a creamy base make up Flammkuchen, this classic German pizza, all on top of a cracker-thin, crispy crust. | www.curiouscuisiniere.comBacon, caramelized onions, and a creamy base make up Flammkuchen, this classic German pizza, all on top of a cracker-thin, crispy crust. | www.curiouscuisiniere.comBacon, caramelized onions, and a creamy base make up Flammkuchen, this classic German pizza, all on top of a cracker-thin, crispy crust. | www.curiouscuisiniere.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cities Are Smells – In a champagne supernova in the sky

Sunday 31st of January 2021

[…] is the scent of dusty Russian churches, Alsatian pizza and warm glühwein on Christmas […]

John Neugebauer

Saturday 19th of September 2020

For a suggestion...saute the leaves if Swiss Chard, add to the bacon and onions. Top with the Swiss Cheese. Also, use the Roggenbrot recipe for the crust....

Sarah Ozimek

Sunday 20th of September 2020

That sounds delicious John! Thanks for sharing!

Corinnea

Friday 4th of September 2020

Seriously spot on. Just made this tonight and I will make it over and over.

Sarah Ozimek

Saturday 5th of September 2020

So glad you enjoyed it!

Sheryl

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Hello I would like to know if I gave you a or several German recipes could you translate them to English? I have been in German many time and I adore their cakes and desserts so I bought a recipe book thinking I could figure out the recipes..

Sarah Ozimek

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Hi Sheryl. We would be willing to tap into our resources and give it a try! Feel free to email them to us at sarah(at)curiouscuisiniere.com.

Ava

Friday 8th of May 2020

Fine recipe but dough absolutely needs more liquid. If you follow this you won't get a dough.

Sarah Ozimek

Monday 11th of May 2020

Hi Ava. Have a look at our video if you’re having trouble with the dough. The hand kneading is important to get the dough to come together.

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