Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grilled Bread

No machine!

Grilled Flatbreads with garlic and basil

As you know I was once Queen of the Bread Machine. No longer, since my trusty appliance kicked the bucket. Which means I have two options:

1. Wait to make bread until I purchase a new bread machine (and I don't know when that will be)
2. Learn to really make bread and do it without the help of a machine.

Short Version:
It's not that hard to make bread dough by yourself, and the grilled flatbread above was perfect.

Long Version:
My panicked call to Mom after the bread machine died yielded enough preliminary knowledge to stumble further down the path of food processor dough-making. The coolest part is the dough comes together infinitely faster. Kneading takes a little practice, but it's hard to do it wrong. A really big bowl is needed for the rise; often a coating of olive oil in the bowl is advised but I found this to be unnecessary. A tiny bit might stick to the edges but it's easy to reincorporate into the dough. Since I like to use a minimum of fat I skip it here and add a little before grilling.


Grilled Bread

1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons SAF yeast

Place ingredients in a food processor in the order listed. Mix for about 30 seconds, until the dough comes together and turns for a bit. Lightly flour hands and a clean work surface, and turn the dough out.

Knead the dough for a few minutes until it feels smooth, elastic, and well incorporated. When in doubt, knead just a little bit more. Form in a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise for at least an hour.

(To test if the dough is ready, poke the dough with your finger. If it immediately bounces back more rise time is needed. If the imprint of your finger remains, the dough has risen sufficiently.)

Meanwhile, pour a small amount of olive oil into a cup along with a crush garlic clove. Do this in advance so that the garlic has time to infuse the olive oil.

Cut the dough into 16 individual flatbreads. Work the dough into a flat disk (imperfect is better!) Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Brush one side of 4 flatbreads with the oil and place oil-side down on the pan. Brush the other side with a bit of the oil, and flip after 2-3 minutes. Leave the breads alone as they cook to create beautiful grill marks. Remove to a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining flatbreads.

Close-up on texture

The whole wheat flour and grilling create wonderful texture.

I brought these to a potluck bbq; they go with anything and are a great option when you don't know what else is being served. We enjoyed a few leftovers with yesterday's Summer Minestrone recipe. Reheat these gently as overcooked bread becomes more harder and more cracker-like. If they become too hard, make croutons!


Lesson Learned:

You can see in the pictures that a few pieces in my batch have something extra on them.

After shaping the breads I had the idea to add chopped basil to the dough, but at that point it was too late. I attempted to rub some on top but I disliked the effect and didn't think the flavor would be strong enough. So I nixed the basil with the rest, and will try the mixed-in basil next time. If any of you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

Flatbreads with some Basil



LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Looks fabulous!! Kneading definitely takes some work, but you're a pro!!

Erica said...

That bread looks so fab, I must make it! Its going on the list!

Anonymous said...

Yum, they look so good! And there's so many! I hope you're having a party ;)

I think all these need are some good olive oil and aged balsamic for dipping. Heaven.

Anonymous said...

The bread looks amazing! I need to try that sometime soon! It would be great for having company!