This is adapted from Ben Ford’s recipe shared at epicurious in March 2009 and influenced by Crisp Rosemary Flatbread recipe in Gourmet (also posted in Smitten Kitchen) that incorporated fresh herbs. Ben actually brought these to a party at our house this year and I’ve been making them ever since. Makes 6 – 12”x 4” flatbreads. Doubles easily.
You can cook these once to a nice brown and use them as crackers, or par-bake them, cool, and re-bake with toppings. Ben’s toppings were very complicated; my toppings are usually simple and using up leftovers.
1 ¼ cups warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ cups AP flour
1 ½ cups WW flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 – 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced fine (optional)
1 – 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced fine (optional)
2 tablespoons EVOO
½ cups grated parmesan (optional)
In a large glass measuring cup, mix together water, yeast and sugar. Let stand about 5 minutes, until foam forms on top. Put flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix until combined. Pour in yeast mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add oil and herbs and mix another 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 5 – 8 minutes. (I usually have to stop the mixer and push escaping dough back down). Dough should be firm and moist, but not sticky.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Turn dough a couple times to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Remove all but the bottom oven rack, and preheat oven to 450, with pizza stone or heavy baking pan inside.
On lightly floured surface, roll out about 1/6 of dough at a time into rough rectangles, about 1/8’ thick. (Keep the rest of the dough covered with plastic wrap.) If using parmesan, sprinkle on a couple tablespoons after rolling out most of the way, then place parchment paper on top to roll cheese into the dough as you finish. Stack flatbreads between layers of parchment paper.
If making crackers: just before baking, brush dough lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse or flaky salt.
Working in batches, transfer 1 or 2 flatbreads to pizza stone or baking sheet, with parchment underneath. Par-bake for about 5 minutes until puffy but still somewhat pale OR bake fully for 8 – 10 minutes until mostly browned. If cooking two together, you may have to switch positions of flatbreads on the baking sheet partway through to achieve more even browning. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Serve flatbread crackers with dip of choice or as accompaniment to soup or salad.
To add toppings:
Assemble desired sautéed or thinly sliced vegetables and/or cooked meats, sauce and cheese (you can’t use anything that is too juicy, so strain the tomato sauce and vegetables and drain any meats). My favorite is mushrooms, shallots and spinach with pesto and fontina cheese. As with a pizza, spread sauce to within an inch of the edge of a fully cooled par-baked flatbread OR brush with olive oil. Sprinkle vegetables/meats/cheeses on top. Brush edges of dough with olive oil. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven on preheated stone or baking sheet until cheese has melted, 6 – 8 minutes.
To serve, it’s fun to add a dollop of lightly dressed micro greens or arugula on top. Then, cut crosswise into slices and serve immediately.
PRINTABLE VERSION HERE: FLATBREAD, two ways