I’ll confess: I like a little bread with dinner. I know: Bread can really wreck your diet if you’re watching calorie intake. It’s just that I’m so fond of it.
I often pick up a hearty, seedy loaf from Blue Oven Bakery during our Saturday market trips, but if I find myself bread-less during the week, I’ll sometimes drizzle a whole-wheat pita or a piece of naan bread with a smidge of olive oil, give it a pinch of sea salt and heat it under the broiler.
Another house favorite, especially when the weather permits firing up the grill, is this simple grilled flatbread. It comes together in about half an hour, it’s very easy to make with ingredients you have on hand (providing you have a packet of yeast in the pantry, which I encourage, even if you’re not much of a bread baker) and it’s quite delicious.
It’s also quite flexible: You can finish the flatbread with just a pinch of coarse sea salt, or add fresh thyme or rosemary, or a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan. This flatbread satisfies my wheaty, yeasty craving.
EASY GRILLED FLATBREAD
1/2 teaspoon yeast (either rapid-rise or regular)
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup very warm water
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing dough
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (use part whole-wheat flour if you'd like)
3/4 tsp. coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
About 30 minutes before serving, make the dough; preheat your grill on medium about 15 minutes before serving.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, use a fork to whisk together warm water, yeast and pinch of sugar (this feeds the yeast); let sit for several minutes until the mixture begins to bubble and foam. Add flour and begin mixing on low speed to combine; add olive oil and then salt. Knead the dough on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until it's smooth and stretchy. It should feel tacky, like a Post-it note, but not all stickygooey on your fingers. (Alternately, use a wooden spoon to stir the dough together in a mixing bowl and finish the kneading with your hands.)
Remove dough from the bowl and drizzle in a bit of olive oil; return dough to bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. (A sunny spot in your kitchen works, or you can turn on your oven light—but not the oven itself—and place the bowl in there.) Divide the dough into 4 pieces; on a lightly floured surface, roll each into a roundish shape about 8 inches in diameter. Brush both sides of each round lightly with olive oil.
Gently transfer the rounds to the heated grill (probably 2 at a time will fit), close the lid and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the flatbread is nicely puffed and golden, with toasty grill marks. Turn and continue cooking for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from grill, finish with salt, herbs or seasonings and serve immediately. (Note: For extra-crispy flatbreads, make them in advance and then re-warm them on the grill before serving.)