Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day*
This recipe breaks most of the rules of working with yeast, but somehow it still works. It comes together in just a few moments, and you could actually do it all in one bowl if you wished. Five minutes’ time in the morning or early afternoon will yield you a heap of flatbread in just a couple of hours. And even better, you can keep the dough in the fridge for up to ten days, so you can pull it out before dinner and have FRESH FLATBREAD ALL WEEK WITHOUT ALL THE WORK!
I like to use this flatbread to accompany falafel or shawarma, to dip into hummus, or to make flatbread pizza. You can roll it out thinly for a cracker-like feel, or keep it thicker to make it almost focaccia-like. I usually bake it in the oven, but you can also grill it (just oil it up well and put it on a HOT grill).
You will need:
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1 T sugar
1-3 T herbs (optional)
1/4 C olive oil
2 3/4 warmish water
6 1/2 C (32 oz.) All-purpose flour
oil for brushing
Any toppings you wish (optional)
Basically, if you add the ingredients in order and stir after you add the oil, the water, and the flour, you’re done. Which shouldn’t really work, but it does.
To start, add the yeast, salt, sugar, herbs (if you’re using them), and olive oil to a large bowl. I’m using rosemary here, but you can use whatever you like. I will often add oregano, basil, and rosemary when I do traditional pizzas, or turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon when I’m doing something West Asian. You can also omit them, if you prefer. I’ve also used different flavored olive oils, and they work well, too.
Now add the water, stir, and let it sit for a couple of minutes, until you can see that it is getting a little bit of foam action going. I have skipped this part and just gone guns blazing at 85mph without waiting and it worked out fine, but if your yeast is older, you may want to make sure it is alive and foaming before you get two hours in and end up with unrisen and EXTREMELY flat bread. You can see a bit of the foaming action in the second photo here.
Add the flour and stir until the dough comes together and you don’t have clumps of flour on the bottom of the bowl.
Spray the top of the dough with olive oil spray (or any cooking spray will do, really), and cover with plastic wrap. Let your dough sit in a warmish spot for 2 hours (you may need 3 hours if you’re in a cooler area).
Once you’ve waited (im)patiently for two hours, check the dough. If it’s doubled (sometimes mine triples, honestly), pull it out and knead it for about four minutes. I think you can skip kneading, too, but it helps develop the gluten in the dough, AKA keeps it from springing back into a ball shape when you’re trying to roll it out.
Kneading is easy– generously flour your surface, then fold the dough in half and push on it with the heels of your hands, then rotate it a quarter turn. Repeat for four minutes.
When you’re done with the kneading, cut the dough into four or five smaller globs. Put whatever you’re not going to use into containers (with room for the dough to grow, because it will), spray the tops with oil, cover, and put in your fridge, or let rise again for a half hour or so if you’re going full steam ahead.
You can keep them in the fridge up to ten days, and I honestly think you could freeze them at this point, too. You just need to thaw them before using, then allow them to rise about two hours or so. The dough will rise in the fridge, so if it’s going to be a few days, you’ll have to make sure it hasn’t blasted its lid off and started consuming your produce if you go the fridge route. I threw them in the fridge, then pulled one out for dinner tonight, about an hour before I needed it.
I’m making pizzas, so I’ve included when to top your flatbread, if you wish. If you’re just making it plain, disregard the topping instructions.
Turn your oven to 500F and put a baking sheet or pizza stone into the oven while it heats.
Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough. You can also kind of stretch it by hand, like tossing a pizza, but it works best if you roll it at least a bit first. For cracker-like bread, really get it thin; for pizza, ¼” or so is about right.
Put it on the hot baking sheet, prick it all over with a fork, and brush or spray with oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, grape halves, tomatoes, herbs, or just put it in the oven naked.
Bake for 5 minutes, if you’re topping it like a pizza, or 8-10 minutes if you’re just making flatbread. It will start to lightly brown in spots and show no wet areas. I’m adding toppings, so I took it out after 5 minutes.
There’s no need to pre-cook ingredients here, unless you’ve got raw meat, like sausage (which does need to cook up before you use it). I used prosciutto, figs, parmesan, and Cambozola cheese. Keep an eye on it when it’s finishing, as your temp and time may vary, but usually I leave it in for about 5 minutes more.
And you’re done!! A beautiful flatbread pizza, ready for your tummy! And you made the WHOLE THING.
*Checking to make sure I wasn’t stealing something to claim as my own, I found that this ingredient list is found as No-Knead Pizza Dough in the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I have made a few big tweaks, as mine came to me as a list of ingredients scribbled on a scrap of paper, but I want to give credit where it is due!