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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Seeded Flatbread

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As shocking as this may sound, I felt that it was time for something healthy. I've been on sugar overload lately, and I think it's getting to me. I would throw open the cupboards looking for a bit of chocolate with the fervor and determination of a hungry lion on the hunt. Blood no longer flowed through my veins; they coursed with sugar and honey and chocolate.

I needed to counteract all of the indulgent, albeit incredible, eating I'd just done in New York with Lizzy, Alexis, and Blair. Soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers at the Standard Grill; salty fries with vietnamese pineapple mayo and curry ketchup at Pommes Frites; almond horns and black coffee at Ost; Thai beef salad, mango and green papaya salad, duck and pear salad, cornish hen with nahm jim sauce, and wok vegetables at Kittichai; a pole-caught tuna sandwich at 'Wichcraft; an inordinate amount of greasy Chinese food at Grand Sichuan Restaurant; a garlic bagel at Murray's Bagels; and organic beef hot dogs with pork belly and scallions and spicy ketchup, jalapeƱo mustard, and chips from Asian Dogs at the Brooklyn Flea Market.


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So rather than give up baking for a few days (what a blasphemous thought!), I decided to bake something wholesome. Of course, it still had to be tasty. Because no one, and by that I mostly mean me, wants to eat rabbit food all the time. I turned to my go-to girl for healthy treats, Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks, to find a recipe. As usual, I had a hard time picking just one. I have a few bookmarked for later, but this one fit the bill perfectly, as it would serve as a wonderful base for the tomato basil bruschetta I was making for dinner that night.

The seeds are speckled throughout the flatbreads, brightening each bite with a nice little crunch here and there. I opted for plain whole-wheat flour over white whole-wheat flour, as I didn't want to trek to the grocery store, and, the browner my bread is, the more angelic I feel. The cornmeal dusted on the baking sheets leaves a lovely sandy coating on the outside of the flatbreads, and an extra drizzle of olive oil on top halfway through baking really rounds out the flavors. These would be brilliant as the base for pizzas, but they're equally good on their own or spread heartily with hummus and baba ghanouj.

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Seeded Flatbread
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Makes 6

4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup whole seeds (I used a combination of pumpkin, poppy, and sesame)
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado, plus more for coating the balls of dough and drizzling on top
2 cups cold water
Cornmeal for baking sheet

Whisk the flour, salt, yeast, seeds, and mustard seeds together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir oil and water in until the dough comes together. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and beat for about 7 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is smooth but still a little sticky. Place the dough on a floured countertop and divide into six equal balls. Coat each ball with olive oil (I used avocado here again) and place in a plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight or until you are ready to bake the flatbreads over the next few days. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove dough balls from the refrigerator an hour before you plan to bake them. Dust two baking sheets with cornmeal. On a floured surface, stretch the dough to the desired thickness and place on the baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes, drizzling the top of each flatbread with oil halfway through, until they are crisp and slightly golden on top.


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