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No Knead Flatbread/Pizza Dough

by Maria Elena - Monday, June 30, 2014 DSC_0005-001

About 2 years ago I decided I wanted try my hand at making some quick pizza or flatbread style dough. As I was looking for recipes I ran across a no knead recipe.  Since then I’ve refined my process and the result is a very versatile dough that is great with a variety of toppings. For example if you add tomato sauce, cheese, and meat it is more like a traditional pizza, or you can add olive oil and rosemary for a simple style focaccia , or add caramelized onions and goat cheese for a more interesting flatbread option. The combinations are endless.  But, the basic dough is quite simple.

Dough Ingredients** (makes about 6 or 7, 10 inch thin pizzas)

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water – I use hot water from the tap
1  tbl active dry granulated yeast = one packet of active dry yeast
1 tbl salt (I put in a bit less as I feel a full tablespoon is too salty)
3/4 tbl sugar (I’ve used palm, raw cane, as well as, white sugar)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with the water in a 5-qt bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container

2. Mix in the flour using a large wooden spoon. I add 3 or 4 cups, stir and continue to add flour by the time I get to the  last 2 1/2 cups it’s pretty challenging to stir, so I use my hands, but be sure to minimize this as much as you can.  By the end it should look like it does in the photo above.

3. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or cloth and let the dough rise, I place the bowl in a sunny/warm space for 1 – 2 hrs. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it over and let it rise one more time. This entire process takes about 3 hours, depending on how warm it is and how active the yeast is.  I let the dough rise once, and because I’m usually short on time let the second rise happen in the fridge.

4. Set dough in the fridge with a lid (not airtight). I just put a plate over the cloth so that there is still some airflow, but it doesn’t dry out. Let dough rest in fridge for 5 hours, or even overnight.  Keep an eye on it as it will continue to rise.  If it is rising too much, you can cover it with a tighter lid.  (You can store the dough for up to a week in an airtight container.)

5. One hour before using pull the dough out of the fridge and separate into baseball sized pieces allow it to warm to room temperature so it is easily rolled out. (The dough will be closer to softball size when it’s time to roll).

To Prepare Pizza or Flatbread Base

Heat oven to 500 F (or hotter if possible) and prepare your toppings.

Put your pizza stone, or pan, with holes in the bottom for ventilation, in the oven until it is hot.

Take your softball-sized dough and roll until it is about 1/4 inch thick. That usually fits on a larger 12 inch round pizza stone or pan.

Pull the preheated pan or pizza stone out of the oven and place the dough on it, add toppings and put it back in the oven as fast as possible. Warning: Unless you have a pizza paddle the dough will be too limp to add the toppings before putting it on the pan!

Simple Cheese Pizza:

Tomato sauce, olive oil, basil – mix together for a base. I like to use Muir Glen tomato sauce or even Muir Glen crushed tomatoes and drizzle in some olive oil.

Add any other toppings (spinach, arugula, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives!)

Pull out pizza pan/stone – add tomato sauce and toppings

Put in oven for 5 – 8 minutes to let cook before you add the cheese

Pull out the pizza and add cheese – I usually grate some low moisture mozzarella, or add some goat cheese and paremsan

Place back in hot oven for 4 – 7 minutes.

Let set for a few minutes before cutting.

Focaccia Style or “white” pizza style

Rosemary and Olive Oil and a pinch of coarse salt – a great simple option.

Pull out pizza pan/stone – place the dough on the hot pan add olive oil (distribute it evenly across the dough), sprinkle dry or fresh rosemary and salt, and any other toppings (on this type of white pizza I often add caramelized onions, spinach, arugula).

Place in hot oven for 8 – 12 minutes

If you want to add cheese, you can pull it out around minute 8 and add cheese and place back in oven for 4 or 5 minutes.

Whatever you decide to add to your pizza or flatbread, I’m sure it will be delicious!

 **Adapted from the Steamy Kitchen’s No Knead Flatbread/Pizza which was adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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Maria Elena - Maria Elena Malpezzi-Price: 'M.E.' started her bicycle tour leading experiences as a 5 year old, translating ice cream flavors on our first Venice to Pisa tours. Since then, she's led tours in more than 10 countries (specializing in Spain, where she lived for more than a year). With a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and International Affairs and an MBA From the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado, Boulder she manages the business and its development at the Fort Collins office in Colorado (and of course traveling to Europe in the summers). She loves going out on tour and hopes to manage to travel a bit even though now she is "in charge" of the Fort Collins office! You can e-mail her at MariaElena {at} ExperiencePlus.com.