It’s pizza people, but not as we know it…
Dutch version coming soon…
Just like pizza, this ‘pie’ was baked in the flames of a wood-fired oven, mainly to test the heat and see if it was ready for the actual bread. Flammkuchen or Tarte flambeé is a specialty of the Alsace region of both Germany and France. It is as versatile as pizza when it comes to the toppings. The version we present here is a classic with cream, bacon and lots of onions. Other slight differences are the rye that is added to the dough, which also makes for an interesting change, plus the rectangle or oblong shape instead of a round disc pizza shape. Our flammkuchen, as you can see in the pictures is still rather round, because of the limitations of our trusty old pizza baker oven. But just for the fun of it and to indicate this is not a pizza, redesign it to anything less round if your oven space can accommodate it.
|Ingredients for the dough|
|makes 2 big Flammkuchen or 4 smaller ones|
|260||g||Italian typo 00 pizza flour / bread flour / plain flour|
|170||g||water at room temperature|
|0||g||flour for dusting the peel (semolina, rice or cornmeal would be ideal)|
Ingredients for the topping
100 g crème fraîche
25 g (heavy) cream
Salt, black pepper and nutmeg to taste
100 g bacon or pancetta
2 red onions, finely sliced
Finely chopped chives for sprinkling after baking
Making the flammkuchen dough
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, combine pizza flour with rye flour and salt. Add the water and instant yeast and knead for 1 minute until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Now add the olive oil and knead for 7 minutes (by hand 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your technique). The dough should only stick to the bottom of the bowl, not to the sides, and should be ever so slightly sticky like a post-it note.
- Transfer the dough to your worktop, very lightly dusted with flour. Using a dough scraper, cut the dough either into 2 or 4 equal pieces, depending on the size of your (pizza) oven and personal preference. Make 2 big ones of around 250 g dough weight each, or 4 smaller versions of 125 g each, also depending on how much you love crust and how you want to present the kuchen.
- Shape each piece of dough into a ball. Transfer the balls to a food safe container with a lit or a sheet pan lined with baking paper and cover it with floured or greased plastic foil. Leave to rest at warm room temperature (around 24 °C / 75 °F) for 1 hour.
- At least 45 minutes before making the flammkuchen, place a baking stone on a rack in the lower part of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible, (most ovens won’t go higher than 300ºC / 570ºF). For our flammkuchen and pizza, we use the Bestron Alfredo pizza maker, it has a stone and two heated spirals and can reach temperatures above 350ºC / 660ºF and gives us a better result than our household oven can. But because of this we have to shape our flammkuchen like a pizza and are limited as to the size. But, as we already stated in the introduction, if you can, shape it more oblong or any shape you like.
Rolling, dressing and baking
- Prepare the topping by mixing the crème fraîche with the cream, then adding the salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Finely slice the onions and chop the chives. Set aside until needed
- Take the first dough ball and place it on top of a floured worktop and lightly sprinkle it with flour. Gently press the dough ball into a flat disk. You can resort to using a rolling pin and roll out the dough into the desired shape or you can gently stretch the dough into shape. You can also start with the stretching and do the finishing touches with a rolling pin. See what works for you and how the dough reacts to the stretching.
- Now place the rolled out dough on the peel or pan. When using a peel, make sure there is enough (semolina) flour to allow it to slide off when placing it in the oven or onto a stone. Spread the kuchen with the cream sauce, making sure to leave the edges bare (around 1 cm / 0.5 inch). Continue the dressing of the kuchen by decorating it with the sliced onions and pancetta.
- Slide the flammkuchen into the oven and/or onto the hot stone and close the door. The exact baking time depends on your oven and temperature, so keep a close eye on it and rotate the kuchen if needed for an even bake. The kuchen will be ready in about 5 to 6 minutes when baking on a stone at 350ºC / 660ºF. If you bake at lower temperatures in a household oven it should take around 10 to 15 minutes.
- When ready transfer the kuchen from the oven to a cutting board. Sprinkle with the finely chopped chives. Wait a minute before slicing and serving, to allow the ingredients to set.
Enjoy the baking and eating!
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