Saturday, May 25, 2013

Easy Peasy Also Healthy Flatbreads

I love pizza.  Hey, I am originally from NYC -- home of the best pizza!  Flatbread is basically a pizza but with a little flair! Yesterday while I was at work I got a craving for veggie flatbread!  So after work I decided to stop at the supermarket to pick up some pizza dough because I didn't start any in the morning.  But when I took a peak at the ingredient list I started to think it wasn't such a good idea.  I couldn't identify about half the ingredients.  I dropped the dough and headed over to the produce section to pick up some yummy veggies and headed home to make the dough.  It is simple and takes about 5-8 minutes to prep.  I was able to get it started before I headed back out to pick up my son from day camp (school was closed for the Memorial Day weekend).


You'll need some basic ingredients:

3 Cups bread flour (or all purpose)
1 1/4 C whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast (or 1 packet)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 C warm water

I use a kitchen aid mixer using a dough hook because it is easiest but you can certainly do this by hand using a rubber spatula.  I simply added the flour, salt, and yeast to the mixing bowl and gave it a quick mix with a spoon.  After I attached the dough hook and added the oil and water (sometimes I need just a bit more water so you may need to add another table spoon or so of water).  The water should be warm from the tap.  If it is too hot it will kill the yeast.  If it is too cold it won't activate the yeast quickly and it will take forever to rise.  If you really must know, warm water should be about 95 to 110 degrees F but I rarely measure this. 

When you mix the dough it should pick up and mix into a ball.  Once the dough formed into a ball, I let rest 2 minutes.  I used this time to wash my measure cups and spoons.    I then mixed the dough again for about 1 minute longer.  You can either continue to kneed the dough with the dough hook for another 3-4 minutes or take the dough and kneed by hand. If you like to get your hands messy, go for it!  Flour your counter and kneed the dough by hand for about 5 minutes.  This is a good stress release, lol!  But sometimes I just don't feel like cleaning up the counter so I knead it in the kitchen aid!

After I kneaded the dough I took it, made a ball and placed it on a clean dish towel.  I added just a little olive oil to the mixing bowl to lightly oil the bowl and put the dough ball back in and covered with the dish towel.  I left it on my counter.  Normally it takes about 1 1/2 hours to properly rise but I got a late start so I turned on my under the counter lights to add the process. 

When I came home it hadn't risen as much as I would have liked but I used it anyway after about 1 hour of rising.  At this point you can use this dough to make 3 12 inch round pizzas.  But I didn't want pizza.  I used it to make 4 (or you can make them smaller and make more) flat breads.  2 were oval, one was a rectangle and 1 was a triangle.  I just simply pulled a piece of the dough, rolled it into a ball and then started to stretch to form the shape I wanted. If you prefer thin crust, stretch the dough thinner and if you like it thicker, don't stretch it so much.  It is up to you.

Here is where you make them your own.  Put what ever you like on them.  I used just a little bit of marinara on the bottom.  I also use fresh mozzarella on flat breads since I am going for a different feel from pizza and I don't want the ooey, gooey, stretchy that for another day.  You could also used feta cheese or gorgonzola  instead, that would be really tasty. Oh, gorgonzola and pear with arugula sounds so good!  I digress. 
I made one with only cheese for the little little.  But the others I did different variations using broccoli, red pepper, red onions and mushrooms.  Other toppings that would be nice include olives, spinach, arugula, fresh tomatoes, zucchini, etc.  Use what is in season or what you enjoy eating.  You could even add meat if you want something heartier. 

I made them into 4 fairly big flatbreads but you can make them into  smaller individual flatbreads. They make great meal or you can make the smaller flatbreads into an appetizer.  I can't wait for the rain to stop here because flatbreads are delicious when grilled.  Stay a few weeks I'll post my grilled flatbreads!

Give 'em a try.  They are easy, delicious, versatile and you'll feel pretty good serving these to your family and friends!    


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