The most versatile, top-with-anything flatbread recipe.

By Jillian Bernardini - Aug 20, 2013 - 12:10 PM
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Let me share something really exciting and delicious with you. Alluding to this ingenius method for making homemade flatbreads in the past, I am here today to share the perfected recipe with you! I remember those first few attempts of making pizza dough from scratch or dabbling with a variety of recipes for yeast-risen breads: the hands become laden with sticky, pasty flour and water and salt, while "kneading" whatever mixture that could hopefully, miraculously come together into a "smooth dough ball." 

Yes, we were all bread novices at one point in our lives. If the above nightmarish story relates at all, then this homemade flatbread recipe will be a dream come true, a savior from the nightmares, and all within a day's work: billowy, healthy, richly flavored flatbreads! A derivative of the French style flatbread, the pissaladiere, I made this recipe with equal parts whole wheat flour and all purpose flour to add more texture and healthful flavor.

Now for the easy part, it all comes together in one large mixing bowl! I swear! As always with any yeast bread, take care with "blooming the yeast" first, so that you know it is alive and is able to aid in making the flatbread extra flavorful and puffy in the oven. The warm water should be around 105 degrees F, and feel free to sprinkle in a little granulated sugar to help along the process.

Another tip, be sure to mix the salt into the flour first, so that the first interaction of yeasty water with flour is not killed immediately by any harsh minerals. Also, the addition of olive oil in the actual flatbread dough makes this very forgiving to roll out, while also making it near impossible to stick to the baking pan or pizza stone in the oven.

Remember those flatbreads for the bridal shower in May? Those were my blank canvas for all of the different toppings used! I truly find that any vegetable, cheese, meat, or sauce can be slathered or garnished on top of this dough. Braised leeks, mushrooms, ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, an infused olive oil, and my all time favorite, caramelized onions: these all can truly thrive and taste amazing on this flatbread. 

However, be sure that the toppings are either par-cooked or can roast quickly if you are baking the flatbread with the toppings already on the rolled-out dough. Getting the oven hot as possible, it does not take long for this flatbread to become extra crispy and browned during baking. Feel free to brush the edges with olive oil intermittently through the baking process, which yields an extra crispy, moist crust. 

Ah, and another quick tip! If you're kitchen arsenal is missing a pizza stone, here's a trick: when preheating the oven, place a baking sheet upside-down on the middle rack. Once the dough is rolled out but without toppings, carefully take the preheated baking sheet out of the oven, keep upside down, and gently place the flatbread dough onto it as your improvised pizza stone.

Be sure that the dough fits the shape of the baking sheet you decide to use, but this will form a quick initial bottom crust, preventing the finished flatbread from sticking, and also is an easier method for topping the dough! Much simpler than attempting to shimmy a beautifully prepared flatbread with cornmeal and a pizza peel, and the results end up half on the pan and half on the bottom of your oven [which you know always ends up toppings side down, sad face]. 

Share with me the types of garnishes, sauces, and toppings that you would place on this flatbread! There are so many themes that could come from this simple, easy to mix, flatbread recipe, and I hope that this becomes a go-to staple recipe in your kitchen as it has become in mine! 

Whole Wheat Olive Oil Flatbread

1CUPwarm water, about 105 degrees F.
½TBSPNactive dry yeast, or 1/4 oz. packet
1 ½CUPSwhole wheat flour
1 ½CUPSall purpose flour, plus more for forming and shaping dough
¼CUPolive oil, plus more for the bowl
  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the warm water and active dry yeast. Stir to combine, and sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar to help activate the yeast. Set aside for about 7 minutes until the yeast starts to bloom and dissolve into the water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the whole wheat and all purpose flours, and whisk together with the salt. 
  3. Once the yeast is bubbling, stir the olive oil into the yeast mixture. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture, and use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients until they form a loose dough ball. 
  4. On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough mixture, and working with your hands, knead the dough for a few minutes, forming and shaping until the dough is thoroughly combined and has an elasticity, but smoothness to the dough ball itself. If it sticks to the surface, sprinkle the dough and your hands with a little more flour until well-kneaded. 
  5. In the same large bowl, thoroughly wipe out and using a paper towel, lightly oil the inside of the bowl. Place the dough in the well-oiled mixing bowl, gently moving the dough around the bowl to lightly coat with the olive oil, and cover with a damp towel or cloth. Set aside in a warm place for at least 1 hour.
  6. Once the dough has risen, set the oven at 500 degrees with an inverted baking sheet placed on the middle rack. 
  7. Punch the dough down, reform into a ball, and turn out on a lightly floured work surface. Press out into a flat circle. Using a rolling pin sprinkled with flour, roll out the dough into a large rectangle that will fit the size of the preheating baking sheet. 
  8. Once the oven is set to 500 degrees, carefully remove the baking sheet, still upside down, and place on the stove top or another heatproof surface. Carefully lift the dough onto the baking sheet, and gently shape and press the dough to fit the size of the baking sheet. This will form an initial crust, and allow for placing the toppings on without moving or breaking the flatbread. 
  9. Garnish the flatbread with an assortment of toppings, and use a basting brush dipped in olive oil to brush along the exterior of the flatbread, which will form an evenly golden brown crust. 
  10. Carefully, so as not to burn yourself, place the inverted baking sheet with the flatbread dough back into the oven on the middle rack, and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until bottom crust is golden brown and the toppings are cooked through.
  11. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Serve immediately, cutting into wedges or squares.