February 29, 2008

Not so flat flatbread

Well, it may not be flat, but it sure tastes delicious and was a cinch to make. This bread is great for dipping, and along with hummus (recipe provided below) and a few veggies, makes a great snack or light meal.

However, the topping is flavorful enough that the bread can stand on its own. The topping was inspired by a sudden craving for zatar (or za'atar), a Middle Eastern spice blend usually composed of sesame, thyme and/or oregano, salt and sumac. Not having any sumac lying around, I faked it and simply brushed the top of the bread with olive oil and sprinkled it with sesame seeds, sea salt, dried thyme and oregano.

Why it turned out so puffy, I'm not sure- it may be that I didn't roll it flat enough, or I let the loaves overproof during their second rise. Probably both of these factors contributed to the bread rising dramatically in the oven. But as with most baked goods, it's the taste that counts.

This is my entry into Bread Baking Day #7, hosted by Chili und Ciabatta.
Update: See the roundup here!

Not So Flat Flatbread
Makes 8 small breads.

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat)
1 package (2.5 tsp) yeast
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups hot (~120 F) water
2.5-3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 tsp salt

olive oil
dried thyme
toasted sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl, mix whole wheat flour, yeast, and sugar.

2. Add hot water and olive oil, and stir vigorously for about 1 minute, until mixture is smooth.

3. Add white flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between additions, until you have a shaggy and soft, but homogeneous, mass. Towards the end, you'll have to use your hands to incorporate the last of the flour.

4. Let dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes. Use that time to prepare a clean, floured surface for kneading.

5. Sprinkle salt on dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until salt is evenly distributed, and dough is smooth and soft.

6. Let dough rise in a warmish place until doubled in size (This only took 45 minutes for me- there's a lot of yeast in this recipe).

7. Place baking stone*** on lowest rack in oven, and preheat to 450 F.

8. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Gently press dough out into a flat circle, then divide into 8 portions. Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

9. Working with one portion at a time, roll out into a thin, approx. 6 x 8 inch rectangle. If dough doesn't want to stretch and keeps springing back when you try to roll it, cover and let it rest for another 10 min.

10. Once all pieces have been rolled out, place on peel or well-floured cutting board, cover and let rise for 20 minutes, until they're slightly puffy.

11. Working in batches of 2 or 3 (depending on the size of your baking stone), first either dimple the loaves with your fingertips, or flour the handle of a wooden spoon and press onto bread to make 3 or 4 lines (see photo above). Then brush the tops of the loaves with olive oil, and sprinkle on toppings.

12. Slide loaves onto baking stone and bake for 6-8 minutes, until loaves are just golden on top. Cool completely on rack.

***If you don't have a baking or pizza stone, bake loaves on greased or parchment lined baking sheets on middle rack in the oven. This may require a little longer baking time.


1 garlic clove, minced or put through garlic press
1 15-oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp plain yogurt
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 tsp cumin
dash cayenne pepper

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Process until smooth.

2. With processor running, drizzle in olive oil in a thin stream through the food chute.

Variation: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus- Add 1/2 to 1 roasted red pepper, roughly chopped, along with other ingredients in step 1.

Makes about 1.5 cups. Store covered and refrigerated.


Petra said...

Thank you very much for this recipe! I love Hummus and I'm sure your flatbread ;-) tastes great wirh it!

Susan in Italy said...

The not so flat flatbread looks wonderful and anyway, you can fill the pockets in the dough with hummus!