Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fennel Spiced Flatbread

Once upon a time (I'm thinking sometime late January/ early February of 2009) I took a cooking class at The Chopping Block on the north side of Chicago. The name of the class was "So.... You're Dating a Vegetarian", and was geared toward date-night recipes that a non-veg might serve for their new vegetarian significant other. Of course, I think most of the class was filled with veg-heads who wanted to figure out new dishes to cook for themselves. While most of the recipes we learned that day were unremarkable (eg, most veggies already know how to make a curry stir fry!)... but this one stood out, and we used it for our Holiday Dinner in both 2009 and 2010 :)

I'm just posting the recipe as written below. However, to veganize it, instead of using goat cheese we used a tofu-based homemade vegan bacon instead. While it's not a sub for goat cheese, we thought it gave the dish a nice smoky flavor. For the 2009 holiday party, we used The Girl and the Fig Apricot Fig Chutney, which they used in the class. However, for the 2010 dinner, we couldn't find it anywhere, so we made up our own recipe based on the ingredients list. It turned out really well! The recipes for both the Tofu Bacon and the Apricot Fig Chutney each get their separate posts :)

Fennel Spice Flatbread with Apricot Fig Chutney and Goat Cheese
1 cup water, between 110-115 degrees
pinch sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cup bread flour
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly cracked
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, lightly cracked
One 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and lightly mashed
Apricot Fig chutney as needed (The Girl & The Fig, or homemade)
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled (we used Vegan Bacon instead)
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

Sprinkle yeast on top of water in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir gently until dissolved. Allow to proof until slightly foamy and aromatic to ensure yeast is alive, about 5 minutes. Add oil, 1 cup of each flour, and salt.

Mix on medium low speed with a dough hook until incorporated, scraping down sides as necessary. Add remaining flour, coriander and fennel seeds, and chick peas. Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead a few turns by hand and shape into a ball. Place dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap on top of bowl not touching dough. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, about 60-75 minutes, or in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rub a sheet tray with olive oil. Spread the dough out onto the tray, stretching it until it reaches the edges and corners. Optionally, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt for extra flavor & crunch. Bake until just golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and spread with the fig and shallot chutney. Top with the goat cheese and rosemary and return to the oven just until the cheese is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Cut into squares or triangles and serve warm.

  • Adding a pinch of sugar to the warm water will help the yeast grown. Do not add enough to change the flavor.
  • For the fennel and coriander seeds, crack with mortar and pestle. Do not use ground. If you must use ground, halve the amount.
  • For our class, they ran out of the Fig & Shallot chutney, so she used Apricot and Fig chutney. Preserved fruit or any other types of sweet or savory chutney would also work well with this recipe.
  • If the dough is allowed to rise overnight in the refrigerator, bring it back to room temperature before rolling & baking.

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