International Flatbreads-An Easier Version of Pizza

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

International FlatbreadsThis International Flatbreads post started with my interest in exploring 00 flour. The recipe I chose to work with was for a pizza dough from Roberta’s restaurant in New York. The recipe came from the New York Times.

I suggest you get a cup of coffee, tea or whatever you drink, find a comfy chair and get ready to read this rather lengthy blog.

Pizza my way is something I really love to make. It is simple and satisfying. But more than pizza I love flatbreads. The lack of a sauce allows the ingredients to come through with a power they can’t otherwise.

Anyway, back to the flour. The recipe calls for 00 flour, which has recently become the new darling of the flour world. So I went to my Italian grocer and bought a bag. I found the flour to be incredibly smooth and fine. I loved the feel and texture of it.

Here is a quote from an article on Breads, Cakes and Ale that talks about 00 flour.

When you see a flour graded as 00, it’s not a reference to a particular type of grain or species of wheat, it’s simply a reference to how finely the flour has been milled, and how much bran and germ has sieved out, and what sort of colour the flour is as a result.

Although 0 and 00 are commonly used for bread-baking, both are loosely interchangeable with British plain flour or US all-purpose flour.

 ….the grade of refining indicates the quantity of flour obtained from grinding 100kg of grain. The higher the grade, the coarser the flour.”

The recipe called for half 00 and half all purpose flour. It was precisely written in grams with the admonition to follow the recipe to the gram. So I did. A simple recipe of flour, salt, water and yeast. That’s it. The dough came out so silky smooth, slightly sticky and soft. It rose beautifully and easy to shape or roll. Perfect, I thought.

Then those little voices in my head started whispering to me. So I began tinkering to see what would happen. 00 flour has 8% gluten which is really low for a yeast bread. What would happen I thought if I subbed cake flour, also 8%. It worked out just as well – except the taste. The 00 flour had a depth of taste the cake flour didn’t. So I scratched that test. The next test involved using just all purpose flour.

The flatbreads featured in this blog used a combination of the 00 and all purpose flour and one using just all purpose. I couldn’t tell the difference for the flatbreads.

But that isn’t the end of the story. When I used the 00 flour combination recipe for focaccia it really was better. There is so much more I want to test with this flour but for now, I want to share these International Flatbreads.

Flatbreads are basically pizza without a sauce. They can be topped with a little or a lot. I prefer a lot as you will see in the photos. These International Flatbreads can be altered in anyway you choose. Or don’t choose any of them just top them with your favorites. While these are all vegetarian, the flavor they pack is terrific. But use shrimp, sausage, pepperoni, whatever you want. These are just to get you started.

It is best to make the dough up to three days prior to using whether you use the 00 recipe or use all purpose flour only to enhance the flavor. While the ingredients are listed, the amounts are up to you.

The size of the flatbreads is entirely up to you. I chose to make three larger ones but certainly smaller ones could also be made. They can be oblong, as are mine, round or irregularly shaped. This is rustic, peasant food at it’s best and as such requires little in the way of technique.

Here are the four International Flatbreads.  Please note calamata olives is a derivation of the spelling for Kalamata olives.  They are the same thing.

Roberta’s Pizza Dough (with minor changes) from the New York Times. Weights are preferred to volume measurements.
150 grams 00 flour (1 cup + 1 tablespoon)*
150 grams all purpose flour (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (not instant)
1 teaspoon olive oil
7/8 cup lukewarm water

*300 grams all purpose flour (2 cups + 2 tablespoons) can be substituted for the 00 and all purpose flour combination.

Combine the flours and salt in a mixing bowl.Flours in bowl for International FlatbreadsAdd the yeast and olive oil to the water. Stir to moisten the yeast. Add to the flour.  Liquids over flour for International FlatbreadsFit the mixer with a dough hook and mix on low to bring the dough together. It will be a shaggy mixture in the beginning. Shaggy dough for International flatbreadsRaise the mixer slightly and beat for 3 minutes. The dough will clean the bowl and form a ball.Dough ball formed for International flatbreadsFinished dough for International FlatbreadsPlace in a greased container, turn the dough over so the top will be greased. Dough in container for International FlatbreadsFlatten the dough. Flattened dough in container for International FlatbreadPlace plastic wrap over the top of the dough, Film on top for International Flatbreadscover and let it raise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until doubled.

Stir down and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Makes approximately 500 grams or 17 1/2 ounces.

Flatbread Crusts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line have sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

You can make these any size you want. I divided the dough into 3 approximately 170 gram pieces (6 ounces) and rolled them into 11″ ovals.Oval dough for International FlatbreadsPrick the dough wth a fork.  Pricked dough for International FlatbreadBake for about 13 minutes. They will have little to no color, top and bottom, and be rather soft. That is how they should be as they will bake again after being topped.Baked Crusts for International Flatbreads

If they pouf up, flatten them while holding a potholder as they will be hot. Set aside while the ingredients are being prepped.Crusts pouffed up for International FlatbreadsCrusts being flattened for International FlatbreadsTop with your favorite ingredients or any of the flatbreads below.

Baking the Flatbreads
Raise the oven to 400°F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until heated through.

Make ahead crusts – The crusts can be made and par-baked ahead of time if desired.  Cool, wrap well and freeze.  Defrost and use as freshly baked.  Bake off as above.

Below are listed my International Flatbreads. All are baked as above.

About the Tomates –  Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze them to remove excess liquid so they don’t water down the flatbreads.  This is referred to as seeding and juicing.  The tomato on the left has been cut in half.  The one on the right has been seeded and juiced.Seeded and Juiced Tomatoes for International flatbreads

 

ITALIAN – All the flavors of Italy are piled on this flatbread. I put them on in the order listed.Ingredients for Italian International Flatbreads– Pesto spread on flatbreadPesto on for International Flatbreads – Roasted red peppers (canned or jarred are fine)Red Peppers on for International Flatbreads – Sauteed Portobello mushroomsPortobellos on for International Flatbreads – Marinated ArtichokesArtichokes on for International flatbreads– Sliced TomatoesTomatoes on for International Flatbreads– Red pepper flakes
– Drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar
– Top with parmesan or asiago cheeseCheese on for International FlatbreadsBaked Italian flatbread for International flatbreads

 

GREEK – This flatbread uses a drizzle over the ingredients to add additional flavor. The amount below was used for one 11″ flatbread. I used feta cheese made with sheep’s milk which makes a very flavorful flatbread but feta made with cow’s milk is very acceptable.Ingredients for the Greek Flatbread for International FlatbreadsFlavor Drizzle
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pepperoncini juice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Assembly – Layer as below
TomatoesTomatoes on Greek Flatbreads for international FlatbreadsCucumber, seeded and cut into half moonsCucumbers cut in half for International FlatbreadsSeeding cucumber for International FlatbreadsSeeded and unseeded cucumber for International FlatbreadsCucumber half moons for the International FlatbreadsCucumbers on for the International FlatbreadsRed onion, diced
Green pepper – raw or sautéedGreen Peppers on for the International FlatbreadsCalamata olives,Olives on for the international FlatbreadsLemon zest – sprinkled onLemon rind on for international FlatbreadsPepperoncini onPepperoncini on for International Flatbreads
Flavor DrizzleDrizzle for international flatbreadsFeta CheeseFeta on for International FlatbreadsGreek flatbread for International Flatbreads

 

SOUTHWESTERN – This turned out to be a really surprising flatbread. You have to use the drizzle or it will be flat (no pun intended). I used frozen corn that was defrosted. The canned black beans should be thoroughly rinsed.

Flavor Drizzle
2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

Assembly in the order givenSouthwestern ingredients for International flatbreads

Zippy Garlic OilZippy Garlic Oil on for International Flatbreads

Black BeansBlack beans on for the International FlatbreadsCornCorn on for International Flatbreads Green Chilies, chopped cannedGreen chilies on for International FlatbreadsRed onions, dicedOnions on for International flatbreadsTomatoes, dicedTomatoes on for International FlatbreadsFlavor DrizzleDrizzle on for the International FlatbreadsPepperjack CheeseCheese on for International FlatbreadsSouthwestern Flatbread for International Flatbread

 

FRENCH– The flavors for this come from my French Onion Tart. It makes an excellent flatbread. The top should be brushed with olive oil, or even better, the Zippy Garlic Oil when it comes from the oven. Also, the fresh basil is placed deep under the other ingredients so keep its flavor. I never sprinkle fresh herbs on top of anything being baked because they just dry out or burn.Ingredients for French Flatbread for International FlatbreadBasil, cut in chiffonadeBasil rolled up for International FlatbreadsBasil fluffed for International FlatbreadsBasil on for International FlatbreadsCaramelized Onions, go here for how to picturesOnions on for International Flatbreads

Guyere Cheese, ShreddedCheese on for International Flatbreads

Tomato slicesTomatoes on for International FlatbreadsCalamata Olives, halvedOlives on for International FlatbreadsSalt and PepperSalt and pepper for International FlatbreadsBaked French Flatbread for International FlatbreadsBrush with olive oil or Zippy Garlic Oil.

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14 thoughts on “International Flatbreads-An Easier Version of Pizza

  1. rockyrd

    hi helen,
    just wanted you to know I made these 3 times already. i also put some par baked in the freezer as an experiment. they were very well recieved by my company and not a crumb was left. I did find after the first batch that I had to add a bit more water probably because of the weather. because of that I was able to roll it out even thinner, the way we like it. thanks so much for a wonderful recipe. it will be made over and over again and I will think of you each time. sorry you are not here to taste them.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi M.J. We do like a thicker crust but you can certainly roll them out as desired. So glad you and your company enjoyed them. I’m sorry I’m not there also.

  2. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    We love our flatbreads and homemade pizza! We order our 00 flour 10 bags at a time. We live in a small town in the Mideast so it’s difficult finding the amount of 00 flour that we need. I love the pizza’s that you made. The flavors sound great. We’ve made a Mediterranean style flatbread that you don’t bake — you make it like a pancake in a skillet. It is more of a pocketless pita. They are good too. My grandsons make “fast” pizzas out of them. Great info on 00.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Marisa – I was skeptical about the 00 flour but loved it after using it for the crusts. It develops great flavor if left for a few days in the fridge. Would you share the non baked flatbread recipe with me. I would love to try it. Just send it to pastrieslikeapro@gmail.com.

  3. Matt

    For the “Greek Flatbread” it is “Kalamata Olives”. But everything else looks tasty!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Matt – A quick check of the Food Lover’s Companion and the internet show calamata to be a variation in the spelling. The reason I used calamata is that most of the grocery stores in my area use it and not the Kalamata which is the Greek spelling. Thanks for the reminder though.

  4. Manisha

    Helen

    Photographs are so colourful and the pizza looks yum. The pics are tempting me to make this right away!

    Thanx it’s a lovely change from making cakes :)

    Love

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Manisha – I can’t begin to tell you how much Mike and I enjoyed these. Since there are only two of us, I heated them at 350°F covered with foil and they were as good as just baked.

  5. Lynette Pruett

    OH, my goodness, Helen, you’re killing me! Here it is 5:30 in the morning, I can’t sleep, and I’m reading your incredible sounding flatbread dough and topping recipes while my stomach growls! Really…it’s GROWLING! Hear it? Both my husband and I love flatbreads of all kinds, and I’m sure that all of these will be added to those things we enjoy frequently. We have family coming in for Memorial Day weekend, and I’d like to bake these, but first I have a few questions:
    1. Do you think it would work to make the dough in advance, through partaking it, and then package it until time to fill and bake? If so, would it be best to freeze the par baked flatbreads, or keep them at room temperature? I wouldn’t be making them more than a couple of days in advance.
    2. I have been using 1/2 freshly ground white whole wheat flour plus 1/2 semolina to make my pizza crusts lately, and we love the texture that the semolina imparts. If I use the 00/all-purpose flour combination, would I be giving up the texture we enjoy so much?
    3. Also, we really do prefer the taste of freshly ground whole wheat flour greatly over all-purpose. Would it be a good idea to combine the 00 flour with my own whole wheat, or would the bran particles in the whole wheat just tear the dough apart? I’m sure I could just use my regular pizza crust recipe, but I’m intrigued by the 00 flour!

    Thanks so very much for the work you do writing these incredible blogs. Many of us appreciate you, and your great husband’s photos make it all the more appetizing. G R O W L………………………..

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Lynette – You can absolutely parbake and freeze the crusts. Just thaw and top. As to using other flours, I just can’t answer because I have not tested anything but what is in this post. However, if you have a crust you love, use that. The best thing about cooking/baking is that it is so adaptable. The other option is try the 00 flour crust ahead of time and decide for yourself.

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