Flavored flat breads

flavored flat breads

Once upon a time, I was scared to experiment with yeasted dough. I believed that if you didn’t follow the recipe exactly (resting time, kneading time, temperatures, rising time, oh my!) The whole project would fall flat. Well, it turns out that’s not exactly true. And now I have a lot of fun trying out different sorts of breads and yeasted crusts. It doesn’t always work, of course – it’s all part of the learning process.

One revelation for me, was that you don’t have to use the whole small packet of yeast in every recipe! It’s true! I like yeast to do its magical job in raising my dough, but I don’t want to taste the yeast. So I use less. Which also means that you don’t have to use pounds and pounds of flour.

These flatbreads are crispy on the outside and light and layered on the inside. You can flavor them with anything you like. I did one with herbed butter and green peppercorns. And for the other I used smoked gouda and sage. But you can use any combination of herbs and spices that you like. You could use finely chopped nuts. You could use most cheeses. You could add olives or capers. You don’t want anything too bulky, because you’re going to incorporate the flavoring element between layers, and try to roll it out as thin as you can. (Hence making the flatbread flat!). We had these with a bowl of soup, but they’d be good with pasta, or any sort of stew. Or cut into slices as an appetizer. Like all yeasted things, they took quite a few hours, but they don’t need too much attention.

Here’s Blind Willie McTell with This is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread. I love this song!

1 t. yeast granules
1/2 cup warmish water
1 t. sugar
dash of salt.

COmbine all of these things and let them sit till the yeast is foamy.

Meanwhile…

2 cups flour
2 T. olive oil
1 t. salt

In a large bowl, measure the flour and stir in the salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Bring it together into a workable dough. You might need to add one or two tablespoons of warm water.

Knead for 4 or 5 minutes till it’s smooth and elastic, and then put the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning it all around so that it’s all coated with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise while you go about your business.

After about 1 1/2 hours, punch it down, and let it rise again.

After about 45 minutes to an hour, Divide your dough into two pieces. On a lightly floured counter, roll one piece into a big square, as thin as you can get it. (Aim for 1/8th inch) I’d say mine got to be about 16″X16″. Now you add your flavoring. I spread butter on both…the butter helps to make the dough flaky and layer-y in the middle. For one, I combined softened butter with fresh rosemary, thyme, basil and black pepper, and then chopped up (and added) about a teaspoon of green peppercorns. I spread this over the rolled-out dough. For the other, I spread a thin layer of softened butter, and then grated over a light layer of smoked gouda, and sprinkled over some dried sage.

You could try any combination you can think of, though! Rosemary and well-chopped olives. Blue cheese and very finely chopped walnuts. Paprika, cumin and cilantro. Tarragon and lemon zest. Anything!

Now you fold the big square into a smaller square – folding the top down a third of the way, then the bottom up a third to cover that. Then fold in the sides, one at a time, in the same manner.

Now, very carefully so you don’t squish out the filling, roll this square out to be about 1/4 inch, about one foot by one foot.

Repeat with your other half of dough, flavoring it any way you like.

Put both squares of dough on a lightly greased sheet and let them sit for about 1/2 an hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Bake them for about 20 minutes, till they’re puffed and brown.

You can serve them with soup – cut off slices or tear of pieces.

or you can cut them into neat slices and serve them as an appetizer.

Ta da!

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