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Monday, July 9, 2012

Flatbread Three Ways

Flatbread Three Ways

To start, I apologize for not updating more often as of late but it’s been HOT! While that may seem like an odd reason for not blogging, allow me to explain. My kitchen and stove and beloved oven have been off-limits by order of the man of the house. Since the air conditioner has been running full-stop for nearly a week, adding any extra heat to the inside of the house has been a bad idea. So dinners lately have been confined to cold things and things that can be prepared with minimal actual cooking. I did, however sneak a bit of kitchen wizardry into the evening the other day. Quick-rising, and quick cooking, it was easy and most importantly, delicious.
A simple yeast dough is the base for this recipe, and it has multiple applications for the creative kitchen-er. I make two types of flatbread with this one single recipe, as the dough is divided into two balls. The first was an olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary. The second was olive, onion, and anchovy. Tonight I will make pizzas with the same method and I imagine they will be just as delicious. So here is the easy dough recipe, followed by the two variations I used this week.

3 ¾ c. flour
1 packet instant yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 ¼ c. warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil

In food processor, combine dry ingredients and pulse to combine. Add water slowly with olive oil and pulse until it forms a sticky dough. Flour a board or countertop and transfer the dough, kneading for only a minute or two until it is smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with saran wrap or a kitchen towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours until double in size and very spongy.
Turn dough out again on floured surface and knead lightly. Divide in half, dusting with flour if too sticky. Cover again for 10 minutes and let rise.

Then you are ready to work with the dough and do anything you want with it! I think it would make a fine traditional white bread if left as one ball instead of dividing in two. But here is how I did it.
Place one ball of dough on a baking stone or sheet, making sure it is floured enough to work with without sticking to everything. Press it flat with your fingertips, working from the center outward, pushing and stretching it to the edges of the pan. Make it as thin as you wish, but try not to puncture the dough. I like my flatbread with a little thickness to it, so I left it at about half an inch thick. Cover the flattened dough with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and make sure the rack in in the lower half. Make dimples in the dough with your fingertips. Brush with olive oil and add toppings. Bake until golden brown about 15 – 18 minutes. Cut and serve!
So that's the basic... now for the two variations...
Now the toppings:
Chopped fresh rosemary, about 1 ½ Tbsp.
1 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
A sprinkling of sea salt.

And the other:
1 onion, sliced thin and sautéed in butter until soft and golden
8 black or kalamata olives, chopped
2 anchovies, minced.
You are welcome to omit the anchovies if you do not like them, I think maybe next time I will omit them. It made for a very salty flatbread. Savory and delicious, yes, but quite salty. In place of the anchovies, use a sprinkling of sea salt or maybe some chopped capers.

The other use for this recipe is a pillowy soft pizza dough. My favorite pizza is what my husband calls “F---load of Goodness.” While everyone’s tastes in pizza differs, and you of course may top it with whatever you want to, here is my suggestion:

Garden Fresh Summer Pizza:
Olive oil
¼ c. store-bought alfredo sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced, or garlic-pressed
1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 bag baby spinach, torn into small bits
1 tomato, finely chopped
½ red onion cut into thin slivers
6 mushrooms thinly sliced.
½ red yellow or orange pepper (or use a combination!) chopped
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh oregano
Dash cayenne pepper
Grated parmesan cheese

Brush dough with olive oil and spread with chopped garlic. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until just set, but not beginning to brown. The dough will absorb the oil, this is good. Spread with alfredo sauce and cover with chopped veggies, cheeses, and chopped fresh herbs. (You know how to make a pizza, I don’t need to instruct that). Dust very lightly with cayenne pepper, trust me, it makes a big difference. Bake another 12-15 minutes, until crust is brown and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

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