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How to make Flammkuchen

This weekend was time for flammkuchen or cake flambee as it called in French. The kids got pretty excited as they expected something sweet but in the end they also liked the traditional version of onions and speck. I went to a German butcher to get my smoked speck and it was delicious. Not too smokey or salty and the perfect topping for a flammkuchen. We cooked the flammkuchen in a normal oven (fan forced) and they turned out nice but if you happen to have a pizza oven or stone it will make the crust much crispier. We made our flammkuchen with yeast dough however you can also make a dough without yeast. I will try this next weekend and will compare the two version in another post.
In Germany, flammkuchen is sold at many weekend market and traditional German restaurants or biergardens and it's offered with endless variations of toppings, sauce, and dough. Traditional Alsatian flammkuchen would be with speck and onions or as a sweet version with apples and brown sugar and cinnamon, nom nom. Don't forget the beer or if you lucky enough to be in Germany and the right season Federweisser. I found German butchers here in Sydney and German beer but Federweisser - no luck. Let me know if you know where to get it here, I'd be thrilled. There is another beautiful dish called zwiebelkuchen (onion cake) that goes very well with Federweisser and I love it but that will be a different post.
In Sydney you can get flammkuchen at the Loewenbrau in the Rocks.

Flammkuchen directly translates as "flaming cake." It's considered just as much as French (they call it tarte flambée) as it is German since this pizza-like dish is from the Alsace region of France around the upper Rhine river, which has shifted between German and French control for centuries.
French kings annexed the region in the seventeenth century, which the Germans took back after the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. France won it back after World War I and Germany again annexed the region after invading France in 1940 until U.S. troops "liberated" the region in late 1944.
Legend has it that in the old days of wood-fired bread ovens, the bread bakers of Alsace would put their flammkuchen into the oven at peak heat in order to determine the temperature before inserting their bread. Hence the name flammkuchen or flaming cake—if the oven was too hot, your flammkuchen would literally catch fire. Therefore this practice became a simple method to determine when the oven would have the perfect temperature before you inserted your precious loaves. 

Hot from the oven - mmh!

Speck and onion- traditional toppings.

Kneading the dough.

Until smooth.

Sour cream, speck and onion and heat, that's all you  need!

The dough has to be very thin.

Recipe for flammkuchen with yeast dough:
Serves: 3-4
For the dough:
350 g plain flour
50 g wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast or 20 g fresh yeast
250 ml lukewarm water
1 pinch sugar 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the topping:
250 g sour cream
50 ml cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
125 g speck, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and oil. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until the mixture is combined. Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.
2. Brush a bowl lightly with oil. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead (or use a kitche aid with a dough hook) for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in the prepared bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
3. Meanwhile combine sour cream, cream and garlic and season with salt and pepper, refrigerate until needed.
4. Preheat oven to 220 degrees on fan forced (Gas 8).
4. Turn out dough and knead again on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough very thin until it fits onto an oven tray. Put dough on baking paper and slide on baking tray.
5. Spread sour cream mixture on dough and sprinkle with onion and speck.
6. Cook in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until cooked.

Enjoy with friends and cold German beer. Koestlich!

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