Welcoming dear friends - Flammkuchen with red onions
July 24th, 2010

Over the past years it has become a  tradition to welcome our friends from San Francisco with a very informal get-together, a so called Brotzeit. The term is used quite loosely and open to all kinds of interpretations. Putting aside regional differences it’s essentially a cold snack, coming with all kinds of bread, sausages, pickles, radishes, cheeses and what not. And of course, sufficient supply of Bavarian beer!

This time we had to make an exception to the rule and include something freshly baked. Not by coincidence we had skipped our weekly pizza-night routine for almost four weeks in a row now – all because of this Flammkuchen I originally whipped out for my friend Ulrike. It was such a surprise hit! Compared to our pizza process which kicks off at least 24 hours in advance before we can indulge in our first piece, this here can be prepared in 2 hours, no-fuss. No mandatory pre-planning, and – very important during hot summer months – no cold rise is required that occupies precious space on our fridge shelves.

Of course the Flammkuchen didn’t disappoint this time – we had already nibbled away on the typical Brotzeit items (including my favorite, Griebenschmalz), but still everybody had seconds or thirds. A small remaining piece was devoured at breakfast and even then the Flammkuchen could easily hold a candle to our homemade pizza! A new favorite when hosting guests.

Start with the dough: Add both flours and salt to a large bowl, mix briefly and make a well in the center. Dissolve the fresh yeast in lukewarm water, pour into the well and add the olive oil.

Knead well, either by hand or with a machine. I only use my Kitchen Aid for this job and it takes roughly 3 to 5 minutes (medium speed). The dough should come together nicely and clean the sides of the bowl all by itself. If it is too sticky, you can add more bread flour by the tablespoon. Shape into a ball, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for about 45 minutes at a warm and sheltered place. After the dough has risen, punch it down, divide it into 2 equally sized portions, shape them into neat balls and let them rise again under a kitchen towel for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250°C (~480°F) or as hot as your oven permits and place a baking tray on the bottom level, so it gets preheated, too.

Prepare the topping by mixing the Crème fraîche and heavy cream with spices (salt, pepper and nutmeg) to taste, cutting the red onions into thin semi-rings and finely chopping the chives.

Line an extra baking tray with parchment paper. Flatten one dough ball with your hands and either roll it out thinly (similar to pizza dough) with a rolling pin or by stretching and pulling the dough with the back of your hands (be careful, since this dough contains rye flour, it is not as easy to handle as regular pizza dough!). Apply a nice deal of the Crème fraîche mix on top and decorate with some Pancetta and a generous amount of sliced onions on top. Transfer to or slide onto the preheated tray and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until it has gained a nice golden-brown color. I usually discard the parchment paper after 5 minutes of baking (just pull it out very fast), to ensure the bottom develops a nice crust.

Take out and sprinkle with fresh chives and enjoy hot, lukewarm or even cold, the next day.

Flammkuchen

Recipe source: own creation

Required time: ~2 hours (incl. rising), baking 12-15 min.

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Ingredients (yields 2 Flammkuchen):

250 g bread flour (type 550) plus more for handling

50 g rye flour (type 1150)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

175 ml lukewarm water

~15g fresh yeast

1 tbsp olive oil

200 g Crème fraîche or Schmand

50 g heavy cream

fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg to taste

50-75 g Pancetta (or other bacon)

3 red onions, finely sliced

finish with fresh chives and more black pepper

serve with a simple green salad

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