Beat the heat! No-knead garlic-cheese flatbread

WOW. It’s too hot to bake.

Not only that, it’s too hot to fuss.

But – what about our daily bread?

Fuss-free, no-knead, quick-baking focaccia to the rescue!

The East Coast has been blasted by a serious heat wave this week, and it’s reached all the way up here to northern New England. We’re experiencing Florida-like weather – without the AC. Temperatures have been in the mid- to high-90s since Monday, with suffocating humidity.

And, since this prolonged hot weather only happens once every few years, frugal New Englanders don’t buy air conditioners; they just wait it out. And talk about the weather.

My Web teammate Tracy says, “When it’s this hot, there’s NO cooler spot on your pillow.” Many of us have taken to sleeping in the cellar where, if we’re lucky, the temperature might be in the low 80s – as opposed to the stuffy 90s of most upstairs bedrooms.

Or my kitchen at home, which happens to be on the top floor where all the heat rises and collects. Sure, it’s nice and cozy in the winter, but right now? BLECHH.

Still, I have to have my bread…

…and my crunchy nibbles to enjoy with a glass of mint limeade, out on the deck at about 10 p.m., when it finally cools down to the upper 70s.

Relief is on the way; thunderstorms and cooler temperatures are predicted for tomorrow. So I’ll be back to my usual array of sandwich loaves and ciabatta.

But I won’t forget this easy flatbread. No-knead? No-fuss? No problem! Even when the world around you is melting…

Put the following ingredients in a bowl:

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling into the pan)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavor, optional

Beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds. This is what it’ll look like after about 15 seconds.

After 60 seconds, it should be nice and smooth.

And the gluten will be nicely developed. See the stretch? It’s this elasticity that captures and holds CO2 from the fermenting yeast, causing your bread to rise.

Next, prepare your filling. Peel some garlic cloves. How many? We used 8 here. Use fewer if you’re not a garlic fan. In fact, leave the garlic out entirely, if you like.

A pair of scissors does a good job chopping the garlic coarsely.

We like to leave the garlic in fairly large chunks.

Next, add 8 ounces of cheese, which you’ve cut in chunks. I used sharp cheddar here, but choose your own favorite.

Hot enough for you?

If you love spicy foods, try Cabot’s Hot Habanero cheese. For less heat, their Pepper Jack is a great choice.

Beat gently, just till the cheese and chopped garlic are distributed evenly throughout the dough.

Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.

Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan.

Push it into the corners of the pan.

Cover the pan, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it’s become puffy.

Like this.

It looks like a big soft pillow, doesn’t it?

I’ve always wondered what would happen if you made a huge amount of dough and put it in a bathtub to rise. If you got in, would you rise with the dough? I think it’s a matter of weight and surface area, but I was never a great physics student…

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Sprinkle the risen dough with pizza seasoning.

Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes.

When it’s golden brown, it’s done.

Remove it from the oven.

After a minute or so, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

See that layer of olive oil at the bottom? It makes the crust delightfully crunchy, like a Pizza Hut pizza.

And the melting cheese and chunks of garlic are just heavenly.

Now, once you’ve enjoyed your bread warm, you can take the leftovers and make them into crunchy bread sticks.

Cut the bread crosswise, into two 6 1/2”-wide pieces. Cut 1/2”-wide strips, and lay them on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated oven, anywhere from 350°F to 400°F, for 20 to 30 minutes or so, till the sticks are golden and crunchy.

Like this.

Great nibbles with drinks!

Parsley pesto is a lovely accompaniment.

And guess what? You can substitute King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour for the all-purpose, and make a wonderfully light 100% whole-grain loaf. Here I’ve used “Buffalo cheese” from our local supermarket’s deli counter.

No, not buffalo milk mozzarella. Buffalo, as in “buffalo chicken,” as in spicy.

So I figured it would be kinda spicy.

WOW. Was it EVER spicy!

Bread made from whole wheat on the bottom, and made from all-purpose flour on the top. Only the color is different; both rose equally. YEE-HAW!

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for No-Knead Garlic-Cheese Flatbread.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Jen

    How did I just discover this recipe??? I’m making it for my kids for lunch only with mozzarella, pepperoni, and olives… Quick and easy pizza!!

    Reply
  2. Heather

    I’m sending a lasagna home with my daughter and wanted to send her with some bread to make. Would it work to measure (by weight) all of the dry ingredients and keep in an airtight container so that she could add the wet ingredients when she wants to prepare the bread?

    This is so delicious and easy that I wanted to share it with her!

    Reply
  3. Francie

    I made this yesterday and the dough just wound itself into a ball around my paddle. It wasn’t that nice smooth dough you have pictured. Any ideas as to how I can fix that? It made incorporating the cheese and garlic a little tricksy.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dear Francie, your dough likely was a tad too dry if it was able to climb up the dough hook. Please try incorporating more water – a little at a time – to loosen up the dough.~Jaydl@KAF

  4. Ana Rita

    You explained it very well and the photos help a lot!! Make it seem like it can´t go wrong I am certainly going to try this recipe out today! Wish me luck!!

    Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Glad you enjoyed the blog post, and I do wish you luck, Ana – I’m sure you’ll love the bread! PJH

  5. sigkat

    Has anyone tried this no-knead garlic-cheese flatbread in a 10 x 15 stoneware jelly pan? I want to try it but wondering if it would be too thin and make it hard all the way through. Please let me know & thanks!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I’d try spreading it into the pan, though not to the very edge; it will continue to spread a bit as it bakes. I’m a little nervous about the shallowness of the pan… But give it a try, let us know how it works, OK? PJH

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