Artichoke & Cheese Sourdough Flatbread

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Artichoke & Cheese Sourdough Flatbread

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Published prior to 2008

Reader Richard Seefer sent us (via e-mail) a recipe he's developed for a sourdough loaf that incorporates artichokes and blue cheese right into the dough. While we enjoyed the loaf made his way, we liked it even more prepared as a stuffed flatbread; we felt the mild flavor of the artichokes and peppers were better highlighted as a filling, rather than a dough ingredient. In addition, we left out the caraway seeds, as we felt their flavor was a bit overwhelming (though when we made it the first time, many of our taste-testers enjoyed the caraway). So -- the moral of this story is, it's OK to change recipes to suit your own taste. Honest, there isn't a recipe policeman out there ready to write you a ticket if you leave out something you don't like --or add something you do!

Serve this warm or at room temperature. Though it's still too cold here in Vermont for picnics (unless you enjoy picnicking wrapped in heavy clothes!), this strikes us as a nice picnic bread.

Overnight Starter*
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sourdough starter
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

*Note: If you aren't currently nourishing a sourdough starter, substitute 1/2 cup water, 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, and 1/8 teaspoon yeast for the above overnight starter. Your bread will be less sour, but still very tasty.

Combine all of the overnight starter ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and let them rest, covered, overnight.

Dough
all of the overnight starter
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) rye flour (white, medium or pumpernickel, or Rye Flour Blend)
3 1/2 cups (15 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1 to 4 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, to taste)

Filling
6-ounce jar marinated artichokes, partially drained and chopped
4-ounce jar pimientos or roasted peppers, OR 1 red pepper, roasted, skinned (or not; your choice) and chopped

Topping
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt, rosemary, or the seed of your choice (optional)

Manual Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all of the dough ingredients, stirring till the mixture starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it's smooth and supple. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. About midway through the rising period (at the 45-minute mark), gently deflate the dough, and turn it over in the bowl; this redistributes the yeast's food, and expels some of the excess carbon dioxide.

Mixer Method: Combine the ingredients as directed above, using a flat beater paddle or beaters, then switch to the dough hook(s) and knead for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to as rise directed above.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. Take a look at the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, and adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, as necessary, to produce a smooth, supple dough. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Assembly: Turn the dough out into a lightly floured or lightly oiled work surface and roll it into a 16 x 20-inch rectangle. Transfer it to a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the chopped artichokes and pimientos or peppers over one crosswise half of the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to cover, pressing the edges lightly with the heel of your hand to seal. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches, and about 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick. Brush the top lightly with olive oil, sprinkle on any desired toppings, and let it rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it's very puffy looking.

Bake the flatbread in a preheated 450°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. To bring out the bread's flavor, you really want to bake this loaf till it's brown, not just a light gold color. Remove the bread from the oven, and allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 1 flatbread, about 12 servings.

Tip:Need some sourdough starter to get started? See our step-by-step directions for creating your own sourdough starter from scratch. Or, if you’re looking for a head-start, check out our classic fresh sourdough starter, a simpler path to fresh, ready-to-use sourdough starter.

Nutrition information per serving (1/12 of loaf, 92g): 207 cal, 4g fat, 7g protein, 35g complex carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 6mg cholesterol, 448mg sodium, 155mg potassium, 55RE vitamin A, 12mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 47mg calcium, 97mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 4, Spring 2000 issue.