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Good morning everyone!
I’ve got a regular goddamn ding-dang doozy of a recipe for you. I shit you negative! In all honesty it feels like my entire existence has been a precursor just for this moment. I was born solely to bring this into your life.
It is my raison d’être.
This fucker is so unbelievably fucking amazing that I’m going to make this a very special two-part episode of Sunday Gravy. Today we are going to cover all the basics and next week I will bring you the free-form jazz shit on ways to take this simple dish and just elevate the bejesus out of it.
We are going to make – nay! Perfect! Flatbread pizza. From scratch! This stuff is absolutely incredible and ridiculously simple. In all honesty once you perfect this there is no reason why you couldn’t do this as a weeknight meal. From the second you fire up your oven to the moment you deliver this deliciousness into your eagerly awaiting gob can take less than one hour. This includes making the dough from scratch, making the sauce from scratch and any and all prep work.
For the record I am going to experiment with this very same dough later this season on Sunday Gravy for a much different application. I’m going to see if it can be used instead of pita/naan for a dish I’ve got on the back burner.
The second part of this series features a couple of offerings that were some of the best things I’ve ever made and I would have paid a premium in a restaurant to eat the fuck out of them. Which was one of the bonuses to doing a two part feature. I got to devour this deliciousness on consecutive weekends. Win win!
Over the course of two weekends I made FIVE (5) five flatbreads. By the time I did the final one I was a battle-tested veteran of the flatbread wars and ready to fucking bring the heat going forward.
I’ve gotten so good making these that in the future I will probably forego ordering pizza delivery and just make the fucker myself.
Let me prove this to you.
Story time first.
A couple of weeks ago I ventured south to San Diego County. It was to celebrate the birthday of our own Low Commander of the Super Soldiers. I stayed a couple of nights at a nearby hotel that just happened to have a pretty solid hotel bar – I fucking love hotel bars – that also had a decent bar food menu. On the menu was a flatbread with pesto, proscuitto and ricotta. It was pretty fucking tasty.
While I was consuming this dish inspiration hit. “Shit!” I thought to myself, “I can make this bastard at home!”
That’s where this whole concept originated.
First things first!
You may be asking yourself “What is the difference between pizza and flatbread?”
That’s a pretty fucking smart question there, Jasper.
Basically the difference is a flatter crust that requires less of a rise for the dough. The big difference is time. Flatbreads can be slapped together, as mentioned before, in a very short period of time to achieve the end result desired. It’s a crispy, almost cracker-like crust consistency. The time required for a flatbread dough to rise is very short and allows you to slap a finished product on the dining room table in no time and will make you look like a goddamn hero.
You long time readers may remember that we’ve made pizza on Sunday Gravy before.
In fact I will be using the same pizza sauce from that recipe but the dough prep is way different. Notice how nice and puffy the dough is in that photo? That’s due to the pizza dough having at least an hour to rise properly. It produced a dough that most of you are familiar with. A chewy, yeasty delicious dough that comes in mighty handy when you are feeding a group of people and you need the extra dough to stretch out the meal.
We are going after something different today. We want fast, fresh, homemade goodness that can manifest itself in just a little longer than getting a pizza delivered would take.
We also won’t be needing any special equipment, although a pizza stone makes the finished product damn near perfect.
Let’s do this motherfucker!
The only flatbread dough recipe you will need.
1 package of active dried yeast.
2/3 cup of lukewarm water – no need to be precise on temperature since we don’t want a big rise.
2 cups of all purpose flour.
1 teaspoon of baking powder.
3/4 teaspoon of salt.
2 tablespoons of olive oil.
1 tablespoon of honey.
In a small bowl add the yeast to the water and stir until the yeast dissolves.
Next grab a bigger bowl and mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
When opening my package of flour I noticed a warning on the top of the bag.
You mean to tell me there are some dumb ass motherfuckers out there who are eating raw flour? Enough of them that Pillsbury felt compelled to issue a fucking warning on their bags?
God. DAMN there are some ignorant motherfuckers on this planet.
Please enlarge that photo for further enlightenment.
Look! I came up with another food warning photo!
Sorry. Where was I?
Add the water and dissolved yeast to the mixed dry ingredients then add in the olive oil and the honey and mix together.
Using just your hands mix everything together.
There is no need to kneed (HAR) and you don’t have to use your fancy ass stand mixer. Just mix for 30 seconds or so until the dough takes shape.
Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a tight ball. Place both dough balls on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper.
You are ABSOLUTELY going to want to use parchment paper for this dish. It is in play from the rolling out process, into the oven for the cooking process and will be our delivery device when removing the finished flatbread from the oven. Get some parchment paper.
The dough is going to rest for just 30 minutes.
During the 30 minutes of resting time, we are going to take care of everything else.
First thing is put your pizza stone – hopefully you have one but a baking sheet will work if you don’t – onto the bottom rack of your oven, remove any other oven racks, and preheat the stove to 450 degrees.
This may not be cooked as often once the weather warms up but damn did it do a nice fucking job of warming up the kitchen when shit was cold outside.
Let’s also use the 30 minutes of dough resting time to build our pizza sauce. This may look familiar to some of you.
(1) 15 oz can of tomato sauce
(1) 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons of granulated garlic
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flake (optional)
Add everything into a bowl
and combine to mix.
Again this is an uncooked or raw sauce.
Yep! That is the recipe from the above pizza post verbatim.
Now, if some of you are wondering why if my inspiration for this dish came from a pesto based flatbread I tried in Carlsbad then what the fuck with the goddamn tomato sauce?
I originally intended to make both a tomato based sauce and a pesto but this tomato based sauce recipe actually provided enough sauce for SIX different flatbreads that were made over the course of the next 7 days. Pesto wasn’t required.
Also of note, this sauce will store just fine in your refrigerator for about 2 weeks and can be frozen to last up to 3 months.
This is where it get’s even more simple. If you have the sauce pre-made just whip up some dough, add your sauce, top with toppings of choice and get fucking busy. Super easy shit right here.
This next step is wicked-pissah!
Take two pieces of parchment paper and trim them into a circle that is just slightly larger than your pizza stone.
Again, if no stone is being used you can skip the circle cutting step and put the rectangular sheet of parchment on the non-preheated baking dish.
Here’s the cool part, using some non-stick spray, spritz a little cooking lube onto each sheet of parchment. Place the dough on one spritzed side of parchment paper and lay the other spritzed piece directly on top of the dough. Using your rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as you can. Your rolling pin won’t even get dirty!
You don’t want to use a ton of sauce. That’s maybe 2-3 tablespoons of sauce. Keep the integrity of the flatbread by not over-saucing.
Nobody will give a tin shit if the dough isn’t rolled to a perfect circle. Most flatbreads you encounter in the wild are either oval or even simply left in their native rectangular shape.
Let’s take a look at some cheese options for today.
Fresh whole milk mozzarella, some pre-shredded mozzarella and some parmigiano-reggiano.
Pay no attention to the bowl of sausage on the left! That’s for next week.
Doing a simple classic cheese pie, almost a margherita style, allows us to test the dough and the sauce and helps us to establish the baseline flavors and preparation of the flatbread for the future. Simple to start, get your rhythm and build for the future.
Since the store didn’t have any fresh basil and my herb garden already exhausted it’s supply of basil, I sprinkled some dried basil over the top of the sauce.
Next I grated on the parm and added some slices of the fresh whole milk mozzarella.
I evened out the cheese coverage by adding some of the pre-shredded mozzarella over the top.
This one is ready for the oven.
Lift by the edges of the parchment and lay the flatbread, parchment paper and all, directly on the center of your pre-heated pizza stone inside the oven and set a timer for 8 minutes. May take another 30-45 seconds but not much longer.
The way I removed the cooked flatbread from the oven was by grabbing my wooden cutting board, opening up the oven door, setting the cutting board on the inside of the oven door, and gently sliding the parchment with the cooked flatbread onto the cutting board like so.
Notice that the parchment has taken on some browning around the edges. Parchment paper is oven safe JUST up to 500 degrees so apart from some blackened edges of paper hitting your oven and kitchen floor, this is completely safe.
The paper will slide out from under the flatbread absolutely effortlessly. Slice the finished product right there on the cutting board and you’re ready.
Shit man! you can even SERVE on the cutting board but I was trying for some semblance of dignity here.
Today’s wine pairing is a lovely Shiraz from 19 Crimes vineyard.
An Australian wine, with lovely dark cherry notes that will pair perfectly with the acidity of the tomato sauce.
The flatbread is cooked perfectly. Here’s a shot of the bottom of the crust.
This delivers a crisp bite and is a surprisingly light morsel of crispy, pizza-like goodness. Fucking delicious.
Think of this as music. Today I am teaching you the chords to the song. Next week we’re going to play some fucking jazz with this shit.
I am being as candid as possible when I tell you that ANYONE can put this together in about an hour. Or less! Practice this part but it won’t take much practice. I’m guessing that you will NAIL this version and add whatever you want to that lonely second piece of dough over there.
Join us again next week for Part 2! And I will show you some new tips and tricks to bring this meal to glory!
Your pizza guy is going to miss the shit out of you once you master this.
Thanks for being there good folks.
You are appreciated.
Part 2 is going to be fun as fuck.