Quick Crisp Flatbread

Easy homemade crispy cracker bread recipe with fresh herbs and sweet salt.

My summer's obsession


TESTIMONIALS
"Yum yum! This is basically all I had for dinner tonight. :)" ~ Gretchen


Here's a fact: When it comes to bread, there are two camps.

Camp One: No meal is complete without bread, even a small slice. "Is there bread, dear?" my mother would ask, KNOWING there was no bread but making the point, anyway. At supper one night, our family friend Olga asked for bread, "just a small cracker," then sat silent in disbelief when there was none. For those in this camp, a meal, it's gotta have bread.

Camp Two: Bread is a special occasion. When bread is hot out of the oven, it might just be the meal, all by itself, perhaps with a small bowl of soup on the side. We love baking and eating bread! But every meal? No way.

(Okay, there's a third camp, those that don't eat bread at all. But they're not reading anyway. So let's take a moment to pity those who forgo bread. Life without bread, entirely? Forget it.)

Meet the flatbread that's pushed me into Camp One, the one that has me reaching for the cracker tin with every salad supper, every bowl of soup. Smeared with a little goat cheese, crisp pieces make for memorable picnic nibbles.

My friend Mary first served these large crisp wafers hot out of the oven for our book club last month. Someone broke off a piece, took a bite. "You made this? Wow." Since then, I've made flatbread four, wait, make that five and now six times, experimenting with whole-grain flours, shapes, sizes and timing. I even made a sweet chocolate flatbread topped with pearl sugar! Good news, making flatbread couldn't be easier!

I love their crispness -- they're more like crackers, really. With each crack comes a rush of fresh herbs and sweet salt. They are leavened with baking powder, not yeast, so fall into the 'quick' category, no rising required: just mix, bake, and eat for supper. But flatbread keeps. The next time Olga visits? I promise, there will be bread for the table, crisp flatbread.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe to share that you think Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick note via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for an e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, forward this recipe to a friend who might too!

QUICK CRISP FLATBREAD

Homemade crackers, easy as easy can be
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 30 minutes for first tray, more for others
Makes 3 large rounds or a dozen individual-size rounds or 4 dozen small crackers
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/4 cup more all-purpose flour), fluffed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary and chive work well)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for brushing (optional)
  • More chopped fresh herbs (optional)
  • A flaky salt, such as Maldon (don't skip)
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Place a heavy baking sheet into the oven. Preheat to 450F.

In a bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, salt and herbs. Make a well in the center and stir in the oil and water with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and knead gently four or five times.

Break the dough into three parts. (For smaller individual rounds, divide each further into four pieces.) On a sheet of parchment paper the size of the baking sheet, roll the dough as thin as possible, working from the center out to fill the sheet. Brush the top with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh herbs and salt, any other toppings. Slip the parchment onto the hot baking sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes until the edges are brown and crispy and the top is golden and browned in places. For the most crispness, err on the side of brownness. Remove the parchment from the oven and let cool. Cover tightly to store. Repeat with remaining pieces.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE To serve 6/12: 257/128Cal; 4/2g Protein; 14/7g Tot Fat; 2/1g Sat Fat; 28/14g Carb; 1/1g Fiber; 663/331mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers Old Points 6/3, PointsPlus 7/3 points
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2008

ALANNA's TIPS
Baking sheets | Be sure to use a heavy baking sheet as the high oven temperature may warp lighter pans. If you have a pizza stone, slip the parchment paper right onto the stone, skipping the baking sheet entirely. I use parchment sheets twice.
Flour | I tried a 4:3 mix of flour:whole wheat flour. It tasted good but didn't crisp well so I pushed back to the 6:1 blend (that's 6 quarter cups of all-purpose flour and 1 quarter cup of whole wheat flour), more than the 7:0 of the inspiring recipe. Whole wheat pastry flour might work better than plain whole wheat flour.
Herbs | The herbs are delicious but the flatbread is also good without, just be sure to salt well.
Crackers | I'm crazy for flatbread cut into diamond-shaped crackers the size of WheatThins. Once the dough is rolled, just score it with a serrated sewing tool called a tracing wheel.
Olive oil | Any decent olive oil works fine as the fruitiness, say, of a good olive oil is lost in the dough. Skip brushing the tops with olive oil if you like, but some of the crispiness is lost.
Roll by hand? | For readers who don't have rolling pins, I tried pressing the dough as thin as possible with my hands. Some of the cracker-like crispiness is lost but the bread is still very good.
Mix now, bake later | One batch, I refrigerated pieces of dough to roll and bake later. Works like a charm!

PICNIC FARE

This is my contribution to a food blog event that's collecting recipes for picnic fare, all make-ahead, all transportable. It should be a fun collection!


More Cracker Recipes

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I, too, feel a deep sense of sadness for those who never, ever eat bread.

And I will be making some flatbread very soon, it appears. Wow...this sounds like such an easy-yet-amazing recipe!
 
Well, I fall into the third group, mostly, but I'm here reading--and drooling--all the same. I'll bet my book group would go crazy if I made this!
 
I don't eat a lot of bread, but I'm definitely not in the "never eat bread at all" group. You have me wondering if this would work with white whole wheat flour. I'm thinking it would, since it acts just like white flour pretty much but doesn't rise quite as much, and this is supposed to be flat!
 
Yum yum! This is basically all I had for dinner tonight. :) It's one of those things you just can't stop eating! Very easy to make too!
 
My Bill would just say, "I need something in my left hand." Simple as that.
 
Good bread but CRAZY SALTY!!!! We couldn't eat very much of it because of the salt. Next time we will cut the amount back to like 1/2 tsp.
 
Hi Anonymous - Did you use kosher salt? It has about half the saltiness of table salt so there isn't a 1:1 substitution. And then of course, even from there, there's the matter of personal taste, too, so naturally, use as much salt as tastes good to you.
 
I just made these are they are delightful! Crispy and salty and just yummy. I used parsley this time but will use basil next time as you can't really taste the parsley. I'm definitely going to make these for my brother's annual Christmas Eve party along with some amazing WW dip. This is a must try recipe!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna