Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Magic Flat-Dough Recipe

I am on a baking/cooking blog kick lately. So be it. I'll just put them in as drafts and then post them when I go a while with few other ideas on what to write about. But I've been thinking: I suppose this blog doesn't really have a "point" to it yet. I started it with the idea of seeing where it goes over time. Will I have an eventual purpose that jumps out at me? Well, so far, I have to say that I don't see much of a pattern yet and can only hope that my posts are edifying to someone. My friend Beth has a blog with the primary focus on knitting. Another friend focuses on the journey she is making to adopt a child. I've consider making mine cooking - but do I want to jump in with the 2,000,000,000,000 other "cooking" blogs out there? And what would my focus be? Breads, I suppose... Eh. Homeschooling? Again - it's being done to death by voices more experienced and wiser than mine. Same thing for religious studies, Orthodox Christianity, home businesses and so many others. Well, for now I'll regale you with another recipe and say only that if you see a pattern that I have missed, feel free to jump in and help me narrow it down some!

Like so many families, we like to occasionally gather 'round for pizza night. By and large though, we've expanded our idea of pizza night to make-your-own-pizza night. Once I discovered how easy it is to make the dough, I can't help but put it on the menu occasionally.

One of the things I've discovered only today is that this dough is more versatile than I thought. If you bake it with holes poked in the dough, it makes pizza; bake it without the holes poked in, just rolled out flat, you have pita bread (let it rise a little bit to get "pocket pita"); fry this dough in a skillet to get Chapati bread - similar to what you find in a Kebab house or like Indian Naan bread. Fried it makes a super tasty, quick lunch bread!

This dough freezes well - but freeze it in smaller batches so you can make one pizza out of one frozen loaf and you don't have to worry about what to do with the rest or wait for it to thaw for a long time.

So without further ado, here is the

Magic Flat-Dough Recipe

This takes about 15-minutes to make and makes one extra-large or two standard large pizzas. The basic recipe is taken from the Reader's Digest, Down Home Cooking, cookbook, but I have changed the method slightly, being the ... expedient... cook that I am!

Ingredients:

1 c. warm water (110 - 120 degs.)
1 packet active dry yeast
3 c. flour (I use bread flour, but it calls for all-purpose)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil

To Make:

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt and make a small well in the top of the mix. Put the dry yeast in the well. Pour the water over the yeast, drizzle the olive oil over the top of the water before mixing! Mix the water into the flour with a wooden spoon (or spatula) until the mixture is a soft dough-ball.

2. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

3. Use the dough in accord with one of the following recipes:
  • Pizza Dough: I recommend cooking slightly before adding toppings (think of how the crust looks when you buy a Boboli atthe store.) To do this: roll the dough out into your preferred shape (rectangle/circle/triangle, whatever), poke holes in thedough with a fork, unless you have one of those fancy pizza-poker-thingies you see at the pizzerias, put in the over at 450 deg's F. for 10 minutes. Add toppings and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes
  • Pita: Roll out slightly thinner than for pizza dough, do NOT poke holes in the dough, bake for 15 - 20 min. at 450 deg. F.
  • Chapati bread: put some olive oil or butter in a fry pan, roll the dough out fairlythinly (it will puff up a bit when frying)and fry it briefly on each side in the oil.
In the picture: pita on the left (before baking), chapati on the right (during frying.)

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