Multigrain flatbread rounds with rosemary chive salt
Bread baking is one of the unfortunately misunderstood kitchen projects. Folks are afraid to bake bread, afraid it will be dry and crumbly, afraid it will be a flat paddle of undercooked Play Doh. Afraid the kitchen gods will laugh.
(Souffles, too. They’re so simple. If you’ve mastered folding ingredients — the fine balance between stirring as if possessed and swirling batter in dreamy figure eights — you can make a souffle.)
There’s nothing to fear, nothing at all. There are formulas for the breads you love — baguettes, Italian loaves, scones, naan — formulas that have been passed through the generations, tested, proven, and allow the humble home baker to succeed with their own ovens. If your yeast is fresh, you can make amazing bread at home.
One of my very favorite “every day” breads to bake is pita bread. Quick, easy, and utterly forgiving (and irresistable fun watching it puff up in the oven — yes, I can’t help it: it’s all furrowed brow suspense, waiting for it to rise, followed by that private fist-pump moment when you see the surface bubble up).
Today brings a whole grain riff on pita bread. Pita dough is sturdy and, by its nature, doesn’t rise very much (not to be confused with puffing up to create the pocket: the bread itself remains fairly flat — it’s simply trapped gasses that cause the puff (here’s a nice explanation of why pita dough puffs)).
Pita bread is so sturdy, in fact, that it holds its shape really, really well. As in, cookie-cutter-shape-holds-it-well. I love using mini flat breads in place of crackers at parties.
Crackers … well, they crack, and they crumble, and they generally make a mess of things. (I hope I’m not the only one who has lost a topping to the floor in an avalanche of cracker crumbs at a party.)
Pita bread, on the other hand, is firm enough to hold toppings and dip, yet soft enough to make the appetizer experience entirely crumbs-on-the-shirt free. Roll out the dough as for, say, sugar cookies, then cut rounds. Use a fluted cutter, if you fancy
Oh! Another misconception: you don’t really need a stand mixer for bread baking (or pita baking). They’re wonderfully convenient, but kneading dough by hand has its own reward — its meditative, visceral. Time flies when you’re kneading dough.
Rosemary and chives still grow in abundance in my garden — they were a natural choice for seasoning.
Easy, fresh, and a healthy whole-grain alternative to crackers (or those super-dry little loaves of square bread).
Rosemary + Sea Salt Multigrain Flatbread Rounds
- for the flatbreads:
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup whole spelt flour
- 3/4 cup quick rolled oats
- 1/2 cup wheat bran
- 1/4 cup flaxseed, milled
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 to 1/4 cups very warm water (about 90°F)
- for the rosemary-chive salt:
- olive oil, for brushing
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Prepare the bread: Stir together all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the honey, and one cup of water. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until cohesive. The dough should be slightly sticky. If dry ingredients are still present, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.
- Move the dough to a board or clean section of counter and kneed for 8 minutes (if using a stand mixer and dough hook, 6 minutes). Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn several times to coat, then cover and allow to rise for about an hour, or until doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 475°
- Mix the rosemary, chives, and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers rub the herbs into the salt. Set aside.
- Gently punch down the dough and slice it in half. On a lightly floured board, roll out one half to about 1/8″ thickness. Cut rounds using a fluted 2″ biscuit cutter. Gather up the dough scraps and set aside. Repeat with the 2nd half. Roll out the leftover dough scraps, and cut more rounds.
- Transfer the rounds to an oven-safe cooling rack (the open weave allows maximum heat to reach the pita. Alternatively, you can use a pizza stone lined with parchment paper). Brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary-chive salt.
- Bake for about 5 minutes. They might puff up a bit – that’s okay (they’ll deflate as they cool, or you can hedge your bets and use a glass to gently flatten the tops). Remove from the oven and allow to cool.