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Making Rustic Rosemary Flatbread

Infused with fresh rosemary and rolled parchment thin, these crisp, fragrant breads satisfy impatient appetites

Fine Cooking Issue 16
Photos: Jan Newberry & Todd Bryant.
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“One of the most popular breads at my bakery is a cracker-thin flatbread that’s fragrant with rosemary, painted with fruity olive oil, and sprinkled with coarse salt,” writes Leslie Mackie. “I’ve seen customers so impatient for it that they start eating the bread before I’ve even had the chance to hand them their change.”  This is a good bread for impatient bakers, too. It has no yeast or other leavening, so there’s no rising time. A few ingredients are combined and briefly kneaded. The dough needs to rest for an hour before being rolled out, and then it bakes for only a few minutes. The flatbreads cool quickly and are ready to eat minutes after they leave the oven.

Semolina flour is what gives the flatbread its sweet, almost cornlike flavor, rich golden color, and pleasingly coarse texture. (It is one of two uncommon things you will need for baking this flatbread; the other is an unglazed baking stone. Mackie gives sources for both.) What semolina also brings to the recipe is a high gluten content, which means that the dough must be handled gently or it will be tough rather than crisp. With this important fact in mind, Mackie takes us through her breadmaking method in clear, easy-to-follow language; she makes helpful comparisons, points out which parts of the process are tricky, and explains the pitfalls to avoid.

Featured recipe: Rosemary Flatbread.


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