Monday, February 25, 2013

Garlic Cheese Flatbread

I like to make my own pizza at home. The store-bought crusts are usually fine, but sometimes I want something a bit different. If you like to change things up and need a new idea for a pizza crust, start with a good garlic cheese flatbread. Here's a pretty simple recipe that has been a big hit at my house.

1 envelope (usually about ¼ of an ounce) active dry yeast
2 cups bread flour
1 cup water, lukewarm
2 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp garlic powder
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Dried parsley, to taste
Oregano, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Other shredded or grated cheeses (optional)

Take the cup of lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Let it dissolve; it should take about 5-10 minutes. Set aside. Stir the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Then, pour in the olive oil and yeast mixture. Stir up the dough with a sturdy spoon until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover and let it stand for about 35 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Now, flour a flat surface (such as a cutting board) and grease a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Dump the dough out of the bowl and knead it just a bit. Then, roll it out until it is ¼” to ½” thick, or to the size of your baking sheet. I use a standard flat cookie sheet so I have more room. Spread butter over the top and sprinkle it with the cheeses and garlic powder. I usually add about ½ a teaspoon of oregano, chopped parsley flakes and an Italian seasoning mix. Since I have a major affection for freshly cracked pepper, I will also go over it with a light dusting of this as well. If you want the bread to be a bit more 'crusty', you can spray a bit of water on it before you put it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. When it is done, it should be golden in color and the cheese should be melted and bubbly.

In addition to the standard mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, I have added shredded Romano, Provolone and/or Asiago cheeses. These cheeses can be found in many standard Italian mixes in your grocery store. I got bored one time and put a Mexican Colby/Monterrey Jack cheese mix on top as well, and it worked out nicely!

I mentioned that it can be used as a pizza crust, but this recipe for garlic cheese flatbread works very well as a side dish in and of itself. Serve the next time you have spaghetti or another dish where you would normally serve garlic bread. Dip a pinch in marinara sauce or a mix of olive oil and spices, and it's wonderful! This can be a welcome diversion from your usual, boring pizza crust! Enjoy!

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