Can I show you one of my favorite things to make on the weekend???
Flatbread. It's from a fantastic book called Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce and words cannot describe how good it is. You'll simply have to try it yourself.
After all the whole rising process is complete and out of the way, this is what you start with. Roll it out to about 1/4".
Then I drizzle some olive oil over it and use a brush to cover the whole circle. Then season with salt and pepper and whatever other spices you'd like. I like oregano. Then, into the pan it goes...
After a couple minutes in the pan, the top side will start to bubble up. That's your sign to flip it.
Beautiful golden brown....
Is that perfection or what?
I couldn't help myself....it was calling me.
You need to make this. Really. It may look difficult, but don't be intimidated. It's simple. I actually find the final act fun. The dough is easy to work with and I love to watch it bubble up. And it's absolutely delicious. More than delicious. Eat it with tzatziki, hummus, Giada's mascarpone chive dip, baba ganoush, parmesan and mozzarella, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, with a salad on the side, or just straight up right out of the pan...the possibilities are endless.
adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
for the dough:
olive oil (for the bowl)
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup spelt flour
(I found spelt flour in the organic section at my grocery store, although some stores have specialty flours these days. I think you could probably sub whole wheat flour, but I haven't tried that yet)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
for the big finish:
cornmeal or flour for dusting and rolling out
fresh ground black pepper
(or any other herb or seasoning you desire)
Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil.
In a separate bowl add 1 packet of yeast to 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Add tablespoon of honey, and wait about 10 or 15 minutes for yeast to bubble up. ( I usually manage to screw this up somehow or another and always end up doing it twice. If there isn't any action from the yeast after about 10 minutes, just throw it all out and try again. My problem is usually that the water is too hot.)
Gently mix the 2 flours and salt together in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Once yeast has bloomed, add it to the flour mixture and gently stir with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together. At this point, I knead it gently for about 5 minutes in the same bowl (to keep the mess down) until the dough is together and soft. It will be slightly sticky and more so the more you knead it. Add a little flour if necessary to ease the kneading.
Once dough is kneaded, I gently shape it into a small ball and set it into the bowl that was oiled earlier. Run a dishcloth under the faucet for a minute, wring it out really well, and place it over the bowl, so top of the bowl is completely covered. Then set the bowl somewhere warm and let dough rise for around 2 hours. It should double in size. (I normally turn my oven up to 350 degrees and set the bowl on the stovetop so it will be warm enough.)
After 2 hours has passed, gently fold the dough over, deflating it and reshaping it back into a ball. Arrange, so that the smooth side is facing up, recover, and let sit again for another 1 1/2 hours.
The rising process takes a long time. If you are not able to make the flatbread when the second rise is completed, just put a lid on the bowl and stick it in the refrigerator to cook up the next day.
When ready, Heat up a 10 inch pan over medium heat. I drizzle the pan with olive oil initially, but only before the first flatbread. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces (roughly the size of a large lemon). On a generously corn-mealed or floured surface, roll the dough out into an irregular circle about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Drizzle circle of dough with olive oil and using a brush, gently brush olive oil to cover dough. Then sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning of your choice onto dough. When seasoning is done, place the dough disc in the pan oil side down. This is when I season the other side of the disc. After a couple minutes the dough will start to bubble up on top. That's your cue that it's about ready to flip. The bottom side should be a light golden brown. Flip that bad boy over and cook the other side for about 2 to 3 minutes more.
I put mine on a plate covered with parchment paper until the entire batch has been finished. When the entire batch is done, I space out all of the flatbreads in as close to a single layer as possible on a cookie cooling rack to cool. This should ensure that the flatbread doesn't get soggy if you aren't going to eat it all the same day.
It will store in a gallon sized ziploc bag or a tightly sealed container with a piece of parchment paper between flatbreads for 2 to 3 days. When you want one, fire up the broiler and warm it up for a couple minutes on each side.