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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Flat Bread with Spicy Vegetable Topping

Fresh baked beauties are loved by all whether its cake or pizza, muffins or flat bread the list is endless and the admirers for these are infinite. Yes you all have guessed it right today the star of the show is my oven, upon whose performance my results are depending. So I decided to make a flat bread today, Simple flat bread with spicy vegetable topping. Traditionally these types of flat breads are baked in Clay Oven (Tandoor) in eastern countries. The temperature in these Tandoors can reach up to 900F making the food cook really fast because of such high temperature the surfaces cook really fast sealing all the moisture and juices inside the food keeping it moist and succulent. The food cook in these oven has unique flavors and aromas, once you taste them you will get hooked. Tandoori food can also be very healthy as they can cook with minimum fat and still remain juicy.

So I decided to challenge my trusted "Oven" to compete with the fiery hot Tandoor and produce if not more but almost same succulent and juicy creations with a taste of perfection in every bite. As always my very simple domestic oven, my faithful companion in the culinary world proved that it is capable to making almost any dish to its perfection. The main catch here was heating oven to highest temperature and maintaining the temperature. I started by preheating the oven to 525 on bake and after about 45-60 minutes, I switched to broil, why because in baking mode oven shuts down after reaching the temperature set but in broil mode the oven does not shut, so the heat source is constant which helps in controlling temperature fluctuation. Secondly when baking bread I use pizza stone as it retains the heat well, placing the stone on the lower most shell also helps it to heat up quickly and evenly.

I made Flat Bread with Spicy vegetable topping. If you want you can call it pizza as there isn't really a precise difference between flat bread and pizza and both seems to jump into each other boundaries. I baked my bread in 2 steps 1- On the pizza stone for about 3-4 minutes till the bottom was crisp and started getting brown spots. 2- I switch the oven to broiling mode from baking and broil the bread with topping for about 1 minute or so to get even browning on the top too. The dough rest in a warm place for about 1 hour after a good kneading of about 15-20 minutes and then I keep it in refrigerator for overnight after shaping dough into portion to rise again this time slowly, this process is called retarding and adds more complex and deep flavors to the final product. The topping is cooked before adding on the of the bread.



  • 4 cups Bread Flour or All Purpose Flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp Active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup Milk warm(100-110 f)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Nigella seeds
  • Water warm around 1-1/2 cup to knead dough
  • Olive oil to be used at the time of baking
  • 1 Cup Red Onion( white/yellow can also be used) coarsely diced
  • 1-1/2 Cup Eggplant coarsely diced
  • 1 Cup Zucchini coarsely diced
  • 2 Large Tomato chopped
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Mint finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or as per taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 4-6 olives per each bread


  • Mix yeast in milk and add sugar and set aside for 10-12 minutes to proof.
  • Mix the dry ingredients for flour and add the milk and yeast mixture and start kneading the dough. Add warm water to help in kneading do this slowly and add enough to make a nice clean dough not hard and not too soft.
  • If doing by mixer then too add water slowly as needed to make the dough with a clean bowl and dough leaving the side of the bowl clean after around 5-7 minutes of kneading.
  • We need to knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, more time given to kneading will help in formation of gluten.
  • Set the dough aside cover with damp kitchen towel for about 1 hour in warm place before dividing into portion and refrigerating. Divide the dough in 4 portion.
  • Refrigerate the dough overnight loosely wrapped in plastic wrap for slow rising but in case you need to use dough same day then let the dough sit for another 1 hour after dividing to rise for second time.
  • Heat oil in the pan and add onion and garlic, saute it till the onion start to get translucent and add tomato,tomato paste, coriander powder, turmeric, paprika and salt and cook it on low till everything blends and oil start to separate from the tomato and onion mixture.
  • Add chopped eggplant and zucchini and water and cover the pan, let it cook on low medium till both eggplant and zucchini are done and start to break down and blend with tomato mixture. Remove the lid and cook for little more on high to let any excess dry out and once again the oil separate from the vegetables. Make sure to keep stirring the vegetables while cooking and you can add more water if the water dry out before vegetables are done. If the heat is low medium the water will not dry out quickly and vegetables will be cooked.
  • Add chopped cilantro and mint also add red pepper flakes stir and remove from heat. Topping is ready.
Assembling the flat bread-

  • Take the dough out from the refrigerator and rest it in room temperature for 2 hours before making the bread.
  • Preheat the oven on bake on the highest temperature, my oven goes up to 525F for about 45 minutes to an hour with the pizza stone. Adjust the 1 shelf to lower most for pizza stone and 1 to top most for broiling the bread later before preheating.
  • Take 1 portion of the dough and place it on lightly dusted surface and start stretching it into a disc or oblong shape with 1/4 inch of thickness. Avoid using rolling pin and do it with fingers as over pressing the dough will harden the bread. Keep dipping your fingers in dry flour to help with streching aslo keep dusting the dough with little flour.
  • Take a flat cookie sheet and sprinkle some semolina flour or corn flour and place the stretched dough on it.This will prevent the stretched dough from sticking on the sheet and easy sliding onto the stone.
  • Sprinkle the streched dough with olive oil and slide it onto the pizza stone and bake it for 3-4 minutes till the bottom start to get golden brown spots. Take out.
  • Add the desired amout of topping to the pre- bake falt bread, sprinkle chopped olives and put it back in the oven on the top most shelf switch the oven from bake to broil and broil the flat bread for 1-2 minute till the top is done.
  • Take out sprinkle with little drizzle of olive oil if you like. Serve straight from oven. Enjoy


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