Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy Accident Flatbread

I was planning on making pizza for dinner tonight, so I went to my blog and pulled up my recipe for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.  I made a double batch, like I usually do, so that I'd have enough for 4 pizza crusts.  It's always nice to have extra crust in the freezer.

I started the recipe as usual.  I heated up some water, added the sugar and sprinkled on the yeast.  However, after 10 minutes my yeast wasn't foamy like it should be.  It was more cloudy.  I know, I know, I should've stopped right there and started over with some new yeast, but the yeast said that it doesn't expire until 2014.  I pressed on, mixing in the oil, salt, and flour.  I set the timer for 1 hour to let the dough rise, and of course you can guess what happened.  The dough didn't rise at all.

I wasn't terribly surprised.  I called my husband over and asked if he had any suggestions about what to do with the dud dough.  We each pulled off a piece and ate it.  Yum.  :)  Then I went online for inspiration.  Flatbread came to mind, and I saw that other bloggers said they turned their dud dough into flatbread.

I read a few tips on making flatbread and decided to give it a try.  I spread a kitchen towel on the counter and cut the dough into 32 pieces.  Keep in mind that I doubled the regular recipe of pizza dough, so basically I cut each "pizza" into 8 pieces.  I rolled each piece of dough into a ball and piled them on one end of the towel.  Then I put a damp paper towel over the dough to keep it from drying out.

on the griddle
roll out the flatbread
Meanwhile, I heated up my griddle on the stove.  While it was heating, I grabbed a dough ball, smashed it down on the towel and rolled it out with a rolling pin, flipping it over several times to keep making it thinner.  A dish towel is really wonderful for kneading dough, rolling out dough, etc.  You don't need to use any extra flour that way, and you can always pull the dough off the towel (it doesn't stick).  I also used my hands to spread the dough out and make it thinner, kind of like how you'd make hand tossed pizza but on a much smaller scale.

I sprayed the griddle with butter flavor Pam and tossed on my first potential flatbread.  After a minute or two, it was bubbly and ready to flip. It cooked up so quickly and easily.  It looked greasier than flatbread I buy at the grocery store (because of the Pam), so I cooked the rest of the flatbread without using any cooking spray.  They ended up looking exactly like what I buy at Trader Joe's.  For the price of a little flour, I whipped up 32 flatbreads.  I got into a nice rhythm where I'd put one flatbread on the griddle, roll out another dough ball, flip the one in the griddle, and continue to flatten the dough.  By the time the one on the griddle was done, I had the next one ready to cook.

I assume the flatbread will freeze well since the pizza dough does, and this is basically the same thing.

Needless to say, we're still having pizza tonight, flatbread pizza.  :)

This was my first experience with dud yeast, and it actually turned out well.  Now I have a new flatbread recipe...and so do you.  I've modified the pizza dough recipe to make this easier for next time.  I also added baking powder since most flatbread recipes I've found call for baking powder.

Servings: 16

1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 c warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 c whole wheat flour

Mix the salt, baking powder and 3 cups of flour in the mixing bowl.  Add the water and oil, and mix until the dough starts to come together.  Add the last half cup of flour, and switch to the dough hook.  Knead the mixture for a couple minutes or until the dough is very elastic and all the flour is mixed into the dough.  (You can also knead by hand if you don't have a dough hook.)

Spread a dish towel on the counter and put the dough on top.  Divide the dough into 16 pieces.  (Cutting it in half, and then cutting it in half again, and then cutting it in half again, and then cutting it in half again usually works best for me.)  Roll each piece of dough into a ball and move the dough balls to one side of the towel (to give you some work space).  Wet a paper towel, wring it out and place it on top of the dough balls to keep them from drying out.

Heat up a non-stick griddle (or frying pan).  Don't add any oil or cooking spray.  While the griddle's heating, press down one of the dough balls and roll it out until it's slightly thicker than a tortilla.  You can also stretch the dough with your hands to help flatten it. 

Put the first piece of flattened dough on the griddle, and let it cook until it starts to bubble up a little.  It should only take a minute or two.  (You can use this time to flatten out the next piece of dough.)  Flip the flatbread over, and let it cook another minute or two.  It should be slightly browned on both sides.  Transfer to a cooling rack. 

Repeat this process until all the dough is cooked.

This flatbread tastes just like the whole wheat flatbread sold at Trader Joe's.  It's also vegan.  You can use it to make flatbread pizza, tacos (instead of flour tortillas), or just eat it (perhaps spread with pesto or peanut butter).

Happy eating!

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