All hail Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Their accessible method for baking bread has changed my kitchen forever. I rely heavily on their olive oil dough in particular for making pizzas, focaccia, and naan bread. The ability to store dough for up to 2 weeks makes a huge difference in pulling out a last minute killer meal that would otherwise take hours.
Best of all, once you understand the underlying principals, you can endlessly improvise which is what I did for these Rye Caraway Flatbreads. I recently scored some gorgeous rye flour from Weiser Family Farms at the Hollywood Farmers Market. They are growing heritage grains that are pretty mind blowing. I’ve got some rye berries waiting to spring to life in some form soon. But I wanted to mess about more with this lovely flour and since I treated myself to the Baco cookbook for Christmas, flatbread was on my mind.
Springing from the genius mind of Josef Centeno, Baco features recipes from across his LA restaurant empire. My to-do list from this thick, gorgeous volume of food aspirations is long. The poblano dip featuring loads of cilantro and mint seemed like a lovely herbaceous accompaniment to the earthy rye. And so it was. Poblanos are hit and miss in terms of spiciness and in this case my dip was indeed spicy much to the delight of my heat loving husband. I think it would also be great without the peppers and doubling down on the cilantro and mint for a more persian style dip.
Rye Caraway Flatbreads
Makes about 12 naan sized breads, this recipe doubles easily
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
1/8 cup olive oil
3/4 Tablespoons yeast (1 packet)
3/4 Tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 cup rye flour
2 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (do not use bread flour)
In a large bowl (or cambro container if you plan on storing the dough) mix together the water, olive oil, yeast, salt, sugar and caraway seeds. Add both flours and stir until flour is fully incorporated and there are no pockets of dry flour. The dough will look shaggy.
Cover bowl or cambro with a kitchen towel (be sure dough will not reach towel when doubled in size) Let rise for 2 hours until doubled in size. If not baking right away, you can store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. The longer the dough is stored, the more sourdough type flavor it develops.
When ready to bake, grab a ball of dough a little larger than a golf ball. The dough will be a little wet so sprinkle the dough with enough flour to keep it from sticking as you roll it out. Roll the ball until it is as thick as pie crust, about 1/8 inch. It should be about the size of a naan bread.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Toss the bread onto the hot, dry skillet and cook until bubbles start to form on the top of the bread and their are some brown spots on the cooked side. Flip the bread and cook again until the second side develops a little color. The time it takes to cook the dough should allow enough time to roll out another flatbread so it becomes a pretty easy process. When I cooked the first one (pictured), I brushed the skillet with oil which I realized was unnecessary. You get a nicer outcome with a dry skillet.
Poblano Feta Dip from Baco
Makes 1 1/2 cups
3 poblano chiles
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup crumbled feta
Grated zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon to 1/3 cup water
Char the peppers over a gas grill until the skins are blackened. Once charred, put the peppers in a sealable plastic bag for 10 minutes to further loosen the skin. After 10 minutes remove the peppers, cut them in half and remove the stem, seeds and white ribs. Lay each half pepper flat, flesh side down, and scrape the skin off with a spoon. It’s fine if not all the skin comes off or if a little bit of char makes it into the dip. Be sure not to leave the peppers for more than 10 minutes or the color will start to turn brown.
Toast cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they begin to smell roasted, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and out of pan right away when they are done so they don’t keep toasting and burn.
Place all the ingredients except the water in a blender and puree until smooth. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the consistency of hummus.
Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.