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The Secret to Golden, Delicious Grilled Flatbreads

By David Bowers
Published: December 17, 2010
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck
Cheese Flatbread, top. Herb Flatbread, Middle. Pesto Flatbread, Bottom.
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck
A mixer with a dough hook makes short work of this project, but of course you can easily mix by hand. If you do, don’t be tempted to add a lot of extra flour. Instead, use a dough scraper or spatula to help you turn and knead. Ten minutes of hand-kneading will turn the sticky mess into a smooth, elastic dough. Makes 8 large flatbreads.

1    teaspoon yeast
1    tablespoon honey
2    cups warm water
1    tablespoon baking powder
2    teaspoons salt
½  cup plain yogurt
5    cups unbleached all-purpose flour
      Oil for greasing

➊  Stir the yeast and honey into the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast foams.  Pour the water into the bowl of a heavy mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the baking powder, salt and yogurt. Gradually add the flour until a sticky dough forms. Knead with a dough hook for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

➋  Grease the mixing bowl (it’s not necessary to wash it first) and return the dough to the bowl, turning the dough once to coat it lightly with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about
2 hours.

➌  When ready to grill, preheat a gas grill on medium for 10 minutes with the lid down, or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire (red coals covered with gray ash).

➍  While the grill is heating, divide the dough into eight pieces. (Ideally, set up a workspace or table right by your grill.) On a floured surface, pat a piece of dough into a circle, and then use a rolling pin to roll it into an even round 10-12 inches in diameter.
➎  Spritz or brush one side lightly with oil and put it on the grill, oiled side down, over low direct heat until lightly browned and puffy, but not burned, 1-2 minutes.

➏  Flip the flatbread and cook it 30 seconds
to 1 minute more, until brown spots appear. Remove to a platter and repeat with remaining dough. 

How to Make Flavored Flatbreads

When you pat the dough out into a circle, put a heaping tablespoon of the desired mixture into the middle of the circle and gather the edges over it like a purse, pinching to seal. Flip the circle over and roll into an even round, 10 inches in diameter. Cook as directed.

Cheese Flatbread When you pat the dough into a round, put a tablespoon of any type of grated cheese, such as parmesan or sharp cheddar in the middle. You can also use a soft cheese such as goat cheese or farmer cheese. Follow the “how to” instructions above.

Herb Flatbread Mix together (or whiz in a food processor): 1-cup chopped cilantro leaves, ½-cup chopped fresh mint, 2 cloves minced garlic and 3-tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Place in center and follow the “how to” instructions above.

Pesto Flatbread Put a tablespoon of prepared pesto in the center of each round of dough and follow the “how to” instructions above.
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