|Easy, spicy, quick yeast bread, perfect for picnics and Summer parties. Rosemary, Oregano, Garlic and a dash of Crushed Red Pepper make a spicy, flavorful topping that can't be beat. This bread can be baked pizza crust thick or cracker thin–do some both ways and see how you like it best. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar make a great dip for this bread, just pour a little of both on a bread plate and dip away. Perfect with wine or sangria, or served with salad and cheese for a wonderful warm weather dinner.|
Dough: (enough for four smallish rounds)
Place yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add warm water (not too hot, you want to wake up the yeast without frying it, so the water should feel very warm to the touch, but not so hot you jerk your hand out). Mix with a spoon to blend - the yeast won't all dissolve, don't worry about that. Let stand for 5 minutes. This is called proofing the yeast. Since the bread won't work if the yeast isn't active, it pays to take a look. Active yeast mixed with sugar and water will be a rich, foamy brown.
Add 3 TB. olive oil and 2 tsp. salt, mix well. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, blending in with a spoon. Stop once you have added 2 1/2 Cups of flour, and use the rest of the flour on the table while you are kneading if you need it. The dough will be a bit sticky; dust the dough and your hands with flour and work it into the dough. The dough will go from wet and sticky to smooth and elastic as you knead it - don't add too much flour, as then the dough will be dry and hard once baked. Divide the dough into four pieces, knead each one briefly into a nice round shape, then place on an olive oil covered baking sheet. Roll the dough balls over until covered with oil, then let stand for 20 minutes. The dough will start to get puffy as it rests.
While the dough is resting, prepare the topping. Place the OREGANO, ROSEMARY, GARLIC and CRUSHED RED PEPPERS in a small bowl, add olive oil. Stir to blend, let stand. After 20 minutes, it's time to pat the dough into shape. It does take a bit of practice to make a perfect circle, but that really isn't too important. Just start patting with your palms from the center out, until you have circular shapes roughly 6-8" across. The dough should be about 1/4" thick. This is a matter of personal preference, much like a pizza crust, some folks prefer thicker, some thinner.
Preheat the oven to 400º. Make sure the two sheet or cookie trays still have a bit of olive oil on them, and place 2 bread rounds on each one. Use a pastry brush or your fingers to spread the spice/oil mix out over the bread. Start by spooning 1/4 of the mixture onto the center of each piece of dough. Once the spices are spread over the top, sprinkle with salt, let rest again for 20 minutes, then bake for about 15 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Remove, cool briefly, cut into wedges and serve.
Yield: 4 flatbreads.
Prep. time: About 1 hour.
Baking time: 15 minutes..