What makes a flatbread different than a pizza? Traditional flatbread dough doesn’t require yeast, so the prep time is faster than that of the yeasted dough for pizza. My approach takes the best of both worlds by using freshly prepared pizza dough, available at most supermarkets, and shaping it into two thin rectangles—flatbreads are often just a 1/4-inch thick. After a 5-minute pre-bake, it’s up to you to customize the toppings to your liking.
- 1 pound store-bought pizza dough, white or whole wheat, at room temperature (multiply as needed for additional servings)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Your choice of toppings…
- Classic Margherita—crushed tomatoes, sea salt, basil, and mozzarella slices
- New Caprese—pesto, burrata slices, cherry tomato halves, and balsamic vinegar; finish with basil after baking
- White—ricotta, mozzarella, and fontina; finish with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano after baking
- Tomato sauce, sautéed sausage chunks, steamed broccoli florets, and smoked mozzarella slices
- Mushrooms, caramelized onions, and shredded fontina
- Aioli, sliced steak, gorgonzola, and pine nuts; finish with balsamic vinegar after baking
- Prosciutto, slices of goat cheese and figs, roasted squash or beet cubes, and hazelnuts
- Skyr or sour cream, smoked fish, capers, and red onion rings; finish with fresh dill after baking
- Tiny clams (canned), garlic, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and crushed red pepper flakes
- Salami or pepperoni slices, cherry tomato halves, quartered artichoke hearts, and dried oregano
Note: The dough can be fully baked for 10-15 minutes, if you want to top it with ingredients that don’t need cooking, or pre-baked, as described below, to get it crusty before you layer on fixings such as cheese to be melted. After baking, sprinkle on delicate ingredients that would quickly burn to a crisp in a 450°F or higher oven, such as arugula, cheese shavings, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar along with more olive oil.
Heat your oven (not the broiler) to its highest setting, usually between 450°F and 500°F. Prepare a rimmed sheet pan by coating it with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cut your dough in half and shape into rectangles with your fingers or a rolling pin. Use your knuckles to make a dimple pattern across the dough and gently brush the surface with more oil; sprinkle lightly with the salt.
Bake for about 5-8 minutes or until firm and light brown. Remove from the oven and top as desired. If using one of the above combinations, add everything except any finishing ingredient, in the order given.
Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has fully melted. Top with any finishes and another drizzle of olive oil, and serve.
Yields 2 servings