About a week after we arrived in Chengdu, I had a bit of a breakdown—in that I broke down and spent a fair amount of money on King Arthur’s Flour products.
I knew I would do it at some point, I just didn’t realize it would be so soon. Apparently I have no will power against the pull of whole grain flours and instant dry yeast.
Thank goodness for that right?
Through the magical system that is DPO, on Tuesday, I recieved 25 pounds (yes you read that right) of flour and an assortment of other goodies in the mail. It felt like Christmas.
The point of this post though, because of those KAF goodies, plus a few things from the local wet market, I just had one of the most delicious lunches I’ve ever made at home.
Oh yea, and I used a No-Knead Bread recipe, so it was delicious AND easy.
I wasn’t planning on having a delicious lunch. I was just auditioning a No-Knead pizza dough to make sure I had the dough right before I went crazy with plans for a mushroom pizza, a creme fraiche pizza and some other pizzas I dreamed up last week while I was sick in bed.
But since a pizza dough had to be cooked and tested in our, somewhat finicky, oven, I decided to throw on a few toppings from the fridge and call it lunch. It was to be a simple lunch.
Really simple. Like 4 ingredients simple.
I minced up some garlic, chopped up some green onions, used a dash of salt, and drizzled the whole thing with a little bit of olive oil. Then, just to keep things interesting, I drizzled some chili oil too.
And ohhh how tasty. This is salty, pungent, and delicious. The dough is chewy and airy, with a nice crust on the top. It reminds me of the xiang la bing (fried dough) I can get at the market-only infinitely healthier. Though I’m still looking forward to making real pizza, I think this little flatbread creation will be staying in the mix for awhile.
Since this is a No-Knead pizza dough, you’ll want to start the process the night before-it will literally take you just 5 minutes, I promise. This recipe, from the great No-Knead bread leader, Jim Lahey, is not only delicious, but it also makes 4 decent size pizza crusts. I recommend keeping a few in the freezer at all times. I’ve divided things into 2 recipes below: one is the basic Jim Lahey pizza dough recipe, the other is my approximation of a recipe for the flatbread I devoured for lunch.
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough Recipe (with just a few comments by me):
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/2 cup tepid water
1. Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups water and stir until everything is just blended. Your dough should look like a mess, a very sticky mess.
2. Cover dough and store in a warm place for 12-24 hours. I would say 24 hours is a bit much in this case. Remember, the warmer the environment, the faster the rise so put your dough in a place that works with your schedule (i.e. put it in the fridge if you are not going to get to making the pizza for at least 24 hours)
3. Gently remove your dough from the bowl and place on a generously floured surface. The dough should still be sticky and full of bubbles. Fold the dough onto itself a few times and add flour as needed. I find that the cleanup goes fastest if I sprinkle a little water on the counter, lay down a few overlapping sheets of plastic wrap, and work on top of the plastic wrap surface instead of the counter. Useful if you are in a time/space/cleanliness crunch. I also added a great deal of flour at this step just to get the dough to stop clinging to the counter/my fingers.
3. Divide the dough into 4 equal sized pieces, generously dust with flour, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise for another 2 hours. This is where you can wrap the dough tightly and freeze for later use. Just be sure to give the dough time to both unthaw and rise when you are ready to use it again (about 3-4 hours).
Really Simple Asian-Inspired Flatbread
1 No-Knead Pizza Dough crust, risen and ready for shaping into a pizza crust
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I like a lot of garlic but if you prefer something a little more subtle-feel free to dial this back to just one or 2)
2 green onions-white and green parts finally chopped and separated
A dash of salt
olive oil and chili oil to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Dust your pizza stone or the back side of a baking pan with cornmeal or flour (whichever you have).
2. Gently stretch your pizza dough into a vaguely flatbread shape-about 8 inches in diameter. The dough will likely be a bit tricky to work with so feel free to shape it by hand and then spread it further on the pan if you can.
3. Sprinkle chopped garlic and the chopped white part of the green onion over the dough along with a dash of salt. Drizzle olive and chili oil over the dough to taste.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crush is browning around the edges and the middle is sizzling.
5. Slide onto a plate, sprinkle with chopped green onion tops (there will be leftover green onion, reserve for another use).