September 20, 2010
I know that we limit ourselves when we make blanket pronouncements, that we sometimes cannot predict who we’ll be and what we’ll want or be attracted to and so it does not behoove to rule things out in their entirety. And still, I can promise you this—I will never, ever, ever give up bread.
Bread is one of the most beautiful things we have invented as human beings. It is near-universal and universally satisfying. Bread can be rustic or elegant, dead-simple or decadent, sweet or savory, mixed in one bowl or proofed over many hours. I unabashedly love bread in all its forms—I have a whole file cabinet of food memory devoted to bread products of one kind or another: garlic knots from Brooklyn Pizza Company in Tucson, the really soft rolls of my Southern childhood, Jill’s mama’s hot water cornbread, the incredibly pilowy Roomalli roti I ate in India, fresh tortillas from my favorite bakery here, Friday challah at my Jewish school, my mom’s whole wheat carrot bread, and on and on.
While I’m not a bread-making expert, we have dabbled a little bit here—foccacia, ciabatta, challah, and fall-perfect apple muffins. These little rosemary flatbreads deserve to be added to the filing cabinet under the folder headings “good for guests,” “crackly,” “sprinklings of salt.” While the process of rolling and cooking them isn’t quick, they are not technically complicated to make and are a great bread “bridge” for those of you scared of/intimidated by yeast.
And I could eat this whole stack of them by myself.
These guys pair perfectly with all kinds of dips, cheese, & olives, making them a great addition to a wine happy hour or tapas dinner.
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 T chopped rosemary, plus a few extra sprigs
1 tsp. baking power
¾ tsp. table salt
½ cup water
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
flaky sea salt
Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in the oven as it preheats.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, & salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the water and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour with a wooden spoon. Gently knead the dough until it comes together.
Keep the dough covered in the bowl to keep it from drying out, pinching off a golf-ball sized piece to roll out on a piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough nice & thin, but don’t worry about making a circle—asymmetry is good here.
Brush the dough with extra olive oil, pressing in extra rosemary leaves on top. Sprinkle with a little sea salt, then slide the dough—parchment & all—into the oven, baking until it’s puffed and golden-brown in places, 8-10 minutes.
While the first flatbread bakes, roll out another. When the first is done, cool it on a rack, discarding the parchment paper. Continue until all the dough has been used.
Once cool, the flatbread will keep for a few days in an airtight container.