A Foolproof Flatbread to Warm Your Bones

December 2, 2015
Butternut squash and blue cheese make sweet and savory friends in this comforting dish.
By 
Jill Bernardini
A Foolproof Flatbread to Warm Your Bones | WGBH | Craving Boston

If you find making dough intimidating, this is a great place to start!

A hearty glug of olive oil makes this dough incredibly durable and easy to knead and roll out for baking; no delicate touch required.

My trick for crisp crust in a home oven is preheating your sheet pan. A little cornmeal dusting will help you shimmy the dough onto the pan and adds nice texture.

The combination of roasted squash and tangy blue cheese on top is a favorite, but this flatbread is a true blank canvas that can adapt to all seasons.

Just be sure to par-bake any hefty toppings (like squash) to ensure even cooking times for the flatbread and the goodies on top.

Ingredients 
3 cups flour (plus more for dusting)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup olive oil (plus more for brushing bowl, squash and flatbread)
1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch pieces)
4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
3 scallions (thinly sliced, white and green parts separated)
1/8 cup cornmeal
Directions 

A Foolproof Flatbread to Warm Your Bones | WGBH | Craving Boston

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have ready two baking sheets.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the warm water and the yeast. Set aside 5 minutes for the yeast to bloom.

3. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, stirring to combine, and pour into the bowl with the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a dough ball begins to form.

4. Dust the counter or other work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Working with floured hands, shape the dough until it forms a smooth elastic ball. Knead for about 5 minutes.

5. Coat the inside of a clean bowl with a little olive oil and add the dough ball. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the squash. On one of the baking sheets, toss the diced butternut squash with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out into one even layer, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

7. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside to cool.

8. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place a clean baking sheet into the oven to preheat for the dough.

10. Once the dough has risen for 1 hour, punch down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough evenly in half and form into two flattened disks. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

11.  Sprinkle the cornmeal on two large pieces of parchment. Using a rolling pin, roll out each flatbread on the cornmeal dusted parchment paper until each is about 10 inches in length. 

12. Brush the flatbreads with olive oil and top each with half the butternut squash and scallion whites. Season with salt and pepper, then carefully shimmy the first flatbread onto the preheated baking sheet in the oven.  If you are having too much trouble, you can bake the flatbread directly on the parchment laid on top of the pan. Gently press the flatbread onto the baking sheet, (being careful not to to burn yourself) and bake for about 15 minutes. Half way through baking, rotate the pan and brush the edges of the flatbread with olive oil for a crisp, golden crust.

13. Remove from the oven, garnish with the green scallion tops, blue cheese crumbles, and additional salt and pepper. Repeat the same process for the second flatbread. Cut the flatbreads into squares and serve.