I have been baking up a storm, mostly Gérard's rustic batards which have become a staple in our house since it is such a tasty bread and such a reliable recipe and if I make a double batch, there is enough for us, for the freezer and for the neighbors too, which is always nice. Although the other day, I overlooked the fact that it was searingly hot out and I let the dough overproof. That's how I discovered that, when overproofed, Gérard's dough makes deliciously flavorful and crusty flatbreads (not pretty to look at though).
However this zucchini flatbread was made with a different dough. I found the recipe for it in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, an excellent book which I have certainly underused since I bought it last October. It calls for mashed potatoes but I didn't have any on hand while we had some leftover steamed potatoes. I just peeled the skin off one and mashed it with a fork and voilà, it worked. I also had one zucchini, mint from the garden, some red pepper I had roasted the week before and kept in olive oil, fresh goat cheese and, in the freezer, a bag full of za'atar, a flavorful Middle Eastern seasoning which is also delicious on salads and veggies but goes equally well with grilled meats and yogurt cheese, among other dishes. For best flavor, the dough is made 24 hours ahead of time.
We had friends over and I totally forgot to take a picture of the baked flatbread. The pictures you see show it before it went into the oven. Size-wise, it would have made a meal for the two of us with a salad on the side. There were four of us and we had it as an appetizer.
Ingredients (for one 10-inch flatbread):
100 g unbleached all-purpose flour
0.8 g instant yeast
2 g sugar (Beranbaum uses 8 g)
2.5 g salt
38 g mashed potatoes (or peeled and fork-smashed steamed potatoes)
7 g olive oil (Beranbaum uses butter) + 4.5 g for the bowl
44 g water (preferably potato water) at room temperature
8 g lightly beaten egg
Toppings to taste: here I used an unpeeled zucchini, sliced very thin, steamed for 1 minute in the microwave and squeezed dry, ribbons of grilled red pepper, crumbled goat cheese, mint, za'atar, pepper and salt but you can use whatever you have on hand that goes well together and looks pretty.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and sugar. Then whisk in the salt, add the mashed potato and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber scraper until just incorporated in clumpy bits
- Add the water and egg and stir in until blended
- Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough onto a counter and knead it lightly for about 15 seconds, just to form a smooth dough with a little elasticity
- Pour 4.5 g of oil into a bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it over to coat all sides. Cover tightly and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or until slightly puffy
- Set the dough, still in the container, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours (if planning to use it right away, double the fermentation time to one hour and skip the fridge part)
- When ready to bake, lift the dough out of the bowl and place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (Beranbaum uses an oiled pizza pan)
- Press down on the dough to deflate it gently and shape it into a smooth round by tucking under the edges. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes, covered
- Place a baking stone on an oven shelf at the lowest level and preheat the oven to 475º F/246º C one hour before baking
- Using your fingertips, press the ball of dough out into a 10-inch circle, sprinkle with some olive oil from the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dough becomes light and slightly puffy with air
- Garnish with the desired toppings and set directly on the hot stone
- Bake for 10 minutes, check for color (turn 180º if your oven has heat spots as mine does) and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until nicely colored
- Eat while still warm.