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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Parmesan Flatbread Recipe

Parmesan Flatbread recipe
I have a weakness for flatbread, all kinds of flatbread. If flatbread is on a menu, it's pretty much a given that I will order it. Years ago I made those Chinese spring onion pancakes, but other than that, I really haven't bothered. Why? Well, making flatbread seemed like it would be a bother, what with the yeast and the kneading, and rising and resting and all I figured it was easier to just order it in restaurants. Until last week.

While in London I spent many hours perusing food magazines and the fantastic cookbook collection at Books for Cooks, one of my favorite book stores in the world. I will share with you my list of purchases at some other point, but suffice it to say one of my purchases was a Donna Hay magazine. Donna Hay is Australian but she is tremendously popular in the UK and for good reason. Her recipes are generally not that complicated but offer maximum impact for a minimum of effort. When I saw her recipe for rosemary flatbread I was intrigued.

I adapted her recipe by leaving out the rosemary. Plain flatbread is more versatile and easy to top with just about anything. I tested the recipe for one of my recipe development clients, MyWinesDirect. I topped it with smoked salmon, goat cheese, cucumbers and chives so that it would pair well with a fragrant and crisp Pinot Grigio.

Because the dough has a lot of parmesan cheese in it, the resulting bread is quite hearty and robust but with great texture, soft on the inside and flecked with crisp brown freckles. Some suggestions for toppings toppings:

* Smoked salmon, goat cheese, cucumbers & chives (pictured)
* Fresh tomatoes & olives
* Sausage & winter squash
* Mushrooms, onions & bacon
* Pears, gorgonzola & toasted hazelnuts
* Figs & prosciutto

These are just a few off the top of my head, you can probably think of even more. I also think you could swap out some of the unbleached white flour for white whole wheat or whole wheat flour. Let me know how your variations turn out...!

Parmesan Flatbread
Makes 2 large flatbreads


1 cup unbleached white flour (or 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat white)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup boiling water


In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder and parmesan cheese. Add the olive oil and boiling water and quickly stir to form a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and roll each half on a floured surface into a roughly 8 1/2 inch round. Heat a non-stick pan or flat griddle over medium high heat. When hot, cook the flat bread, about 3 minutes on each side or until brown in spots. Top with whatever toppings you like and slice into wedges.