Generally, when the urge to bake strikes, I have something in mind that I want to make. Yesterday afternoon, though, I wanted to get in my kitchen and make something, but I had no idea what. There wasn't anything pressing that I needed to make for a baking group and I have so many recipes flagged in cookbooks and magazines as well as bookmarked from numerous blogs and websites that I was overwhelmed by the options. So, I took the decision completely out of my hands. I headed over to Deb's site, Smitten Kitchen, used her "surprise me" function and got to work on this flatbread.
Just a few simple ingredients and a surprisingly short time later, I had delicious crackers that I'm sure are sold in the grocery store for far more than they cost me to make at home. I substituted thyme for rosemary because it's what I had in my fridge but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I was surprised that the instructions didn't call for kneading or rolling out the dough on a floured surface, but it turns out it's not necessary - the oil in the dough prevented it from sticking to the work surface and my hands. You could serve this flatbread with a variety of cheeses, with hummus or as an accompaniment to a salad, among other things and I suspect it'd be just as tasty made with whole wheat flour so I intend to try that soon!
Crisp Thyme Flatbread
adapted from Gourmet, July 2008 (via Epicurious and as seen on Smitten Kitchen)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped thyme plus a few extra sprigs
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
flaky sea salt such as Maldon (I just used kosher salt)
Place a heavy baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven. Preheat to 450 F.
Stir together flour, chopped thyme, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.
Divide dough into 3 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap), roll the dough into a 10-inch round (though don't worry if it's not a perfect circle - rustic is good!) on a sheet of parchment paper. The dough should be thin.
Lightly brush top with additional oil and scatter small clusters of thyme leaves on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea (or kosher) salt. Transfer the round (still on the parchment paper) to the preheated baking sheet in your oven and bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool, then make 2 more rounds (1 at a time) on fresh parchment (do not oil or salt until just before baking). Break into pieces.
Once completely cool, the flatbread can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days.