Sue Doeden: A flatbread that rises to the occasionFirst there was fire. Then there was flatbread. The first hard mixture of hand-ground flour and water was baked in hot ashes or on a stone over flames more than 6,000 years ago. Since then, flatbread has gone global.
First there was fire. Then there was flatbread.
The first hard mixture of hand-ground flour and water was baked in hot ashes or on a stone over flames more than 6,000 years ago. Since then, flatbread has gone global.
Now, cookbook author and cooking instructor Shelley Holman has written a soon-to-be released cookbook celebrating the versatile bread that takes little time to prepare.
The Arizona woman taught a Flatbread Fantasy class I recently attended at Sweet Basil Gourmetware & Cooking School in Scottsdale. From appetizers to dessert, a variety of sweet and savory morsels were wrapped, rolled, spread, spooned and stuffed into a variety of flatbreads.
Holman, wearing a chef’s jacket the color of a red tomato, stood before a group of 11 students in the bright kitchen classroom at Sweet Basil. She said that during a trip through Europe several years ago, she realized she was eating a variation of flatbread in every country she visited, each with its own unique form and flavor. That’s when she decided to write a cookbook focused on flatbread.
The seven recipes students prepared in class that day were samples of what to expect in “Skinny Bread: 100 Amazing Ways to make Flatbread,” due to be out sometime in late summer of this year. My cooking partner, Roger, and I took on the task of making bread bowls using pizza dough purchased from the store and tossing a salad to fill the soft, yeasty bowls. Other students created easy-gourmet flatbread treats, such as pizzettas, wraps, pitas and tarts.
Although the bread bowl recipe we used in class instructed us to form pizza dough over oven-safe soup bowls turned upside-down, the stash of dinnerware in the classroom’s abundant cupboards and drawers did not include soup bowls that could withstand the heat of a 450-degree oven. Our creative instructor decided the bottoms of large muffin tins would work just as well. She was right. The smaller size bread bowl was just the right size for a generous serving of salad made of watercress and romaine lettuce.
In Arizona, freshly made pizza dough is available in the refrigerated case in the deli area of some grocery stores. Your favorite supermarket may offer it, too. My local pizzeria offers their pizza dough in portions home cooks can shape and bake as they please. Of course, you can definitely use your own handmade pizza dough for this recipe.
Holman’s recipe for Watercress Salad included romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas and tomatoes tossed with cucumber dressing. Crumbled goat cheese can be sprinkled on as it is served.
The bread bowls can be baked up to five days before serving and they can be stored, tightly sealed, in the freezer for a month or two. Use them for serving your favorite salad throughout the summer. Even a chilled soup would work in these edible bowls. And how about ladling hot soup or stew into these chewy bowls next winter?
Fill this flatbread that’s not flat with fresh ingredients and flavors you love. Then enjoy.