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Friday, 22 July 2011

Easy End Of The Week Flat Breads

You can either use this recipe to make your own flatbreads or use pita breads from the supermarket if you're too knackered or in a hurry, just bake them for a shorter time.  You can use any toppings you like, whatever you have in the cupboards or fridge that needs using up and is to your taste. 

These are great for a quick dinner when the cupboards are mostly bare or an easy weekend lunch. I normally make these if we have an influx of my daughters friends wanting dinner or lunch. They can help make the dough and choose whatever toppings they like (within reason) from what we have available.

6 cups plain flour, no need to buy proper bread flour if you haven't got any

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 sachet instant dried yeast (7g instant yeast)

2 tsp dried mixed herbs (optional)

2 Tblsp olive oil, cooking oil or melted butter

(625ml) 2 1/2 cups of luke warm water

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, salt, flour, yeast and oil.  Make a well in the centre and pour in  most of the warm water then mix it thoroughly to form a soft dough, adding the rest of the water if needed.  Turn it on to a lightly floured benchtop, adding more flour if necessary, then knead until smooth and springy.  This takes approximately 5-8 minutes by hand, or if you cheat like I do, then it's 5 minutes in a stand mixer with the dough hook doing all the work for me.

Once the dough has been well kneaded, put it in a lightly greased bowl to rise.  Cover the bowl with cling film and microwave on low power for 1 minute.  Rest the dough for 10 minutes then repeat heating it on low power for 1 minute and then let it rest for another 10 minutes.  After the second rest the dough should have doubled in size. If you don't have a microwave, or aren't in a hurry, just set aside the bowl of dough in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen enough, punch the dough down then knead lightly and divide into 2 or 4 pieces. Roll and stretch dough into rectangles and transfer to them to baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Add whichever toppings you like and then bake the flatbreads in a preheated oven at 210°C for 20-30 minutes. The flatbreads should be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Toppings/Flavour Suggestions

Vegetable Feast

Spread some tomato paste, ricotta, or cream cheese over the bread and then add some finely chopped onions, peppers, tinned sweetcorn (well drained) and finely chopped mushrooms. Sprinkle with some grated cheese or a drizzle of olive oil.

Ham and Cheddar

Spread some  tomato paste over the bread and then sprinkle over chopped ham and grated cheddar cheese.

Ricotta, basil, tomato and parmesan/hard cheese

Spread the ricotta over the bread as a base flavour,  then put some slices of fresh tomato, basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese on top.  Drizzle with a little olive oil (optional).

Thyme, bacon and feta cheese

Spread the dough with tomato paste, scatter with finely chopped bacon (rind removed), crumble over some feta and sprinkle with fresh or dried thyme.

Garlic and parmesan/hard cheese

Brush the dough with olive oil, sprinkle with 3 chopped cloves of garlic, grated parmesan/hard cheese and a little salt.

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