Thursday, April 7, 2011

Homemade Rosemary & Cracked Pepper Flatbread

Homemade crackers - in some ways you would assume they were easy to make. Combine flour, water, salt, leavening agent and some seasonings, bake and voila! Crackers! At least that was my thought until I tried out a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Sure it was only a few ingredients, but I had issues with the rolling out of the dough and baking the flatbread (not the eating, thankfully!)

Maybe I played a little to fast and loose with measurements (I am not a precise cook) but the flatbread crackers did not look as pretty as Smitten Kitchen's did. My version looked alright, a little too close to pizza dough with seasonings on it. And while it wasn't downright awful, it led me to ponder; did she make them several times, perfecting them so to speak, before posting about them? She is a professional blogger, whereas I am not. Just made me wonder, and if she left out any tips for making them as thin as possible (mine got crinkled up in the parchment paper since I used a top and bottom piece to roll them out.)

I also considered making these from 101 Cookbooks, but thought that her use of a pasta machine to get them really really thin would increase my handicap too much. I was concerned about over-rolling the dough with a rolling pin for fear of making the dough tough but didn't know if that even was an issue for making crackers.

Do I sound peevish? It really is disappointment not annoyance. Homemade crackers is such an alluring idea since I inevitably have cheese but not always crackers. If this was something that I could whip up while a guest sipped a glass of wine I would be sold. And the topping choices are endless - seeds, herbs, spices - I could experiment for weeks and not exhaust all of the possibilities.

If you have a cracker/flatbread recipe that you swear by drop me a line, I'd love to get the scoop on one that works well. For now, I'll leave you with what I did with my original inspiration from Smitten Kitchen.

Homemade Rosemary & Cracked Pepper Flatbread
inspired by Smitten Kitchen

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced fine
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
Flaky sea salt for dusting
Black Pepper (fresh ground or cracked)

Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet on rack in middle. Stir together flour, rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center and add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times. Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll out 1 piece (keep remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap) between two sheets of parchment paper into a 10-inch round (shape can be rustic; dough should be thin). Lightly brush top with additional oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Be careful about over-oiling since it will brown too quickly. Slide round (still on parchment) onto preheated baking sheet and bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 10 minutes. Transfer flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool, then make 2 more rounds (1 at a time) on fresh parchment (do not oil or salt until just before baking). Break into pieces.  Flatbread can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Rolled Flank Steak with Cheese and Arugula at Talk of Tomatoes
Ginger Pasta with Sweet Potato Wasabi Sauce at Eats Well With Others
Cardoon Gratin at Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook


Joanne said...

I know a lot of people claim that making crackers is easy but I've always had my doubts. I love the seasoning on this flatbread though!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I have yet to make my own flatbread. I'm always afraid it will be really time consuming. However, yours looks great. I'm seriously thinking about it now...