a home cook with notions & an appetite
Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid represents a dream job for me (and probably most of us) – travelling the world and sampling authentic cuisine so you can write a cookbook that will be widely acclaimed and loved by all (Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet being their better known volume). This book is wonderful and is as much travelogue as it is recipe book. Husband and I decided to sample a Georgian recipe for cheese boat breads. As they described these, they were presented as something resembling a deep-dish cheese pizza. This can leave a bit of a false impression, as their version is not overpowered by the cheese. This bread is a great snack or appetizer and could easily push aside garlic bread, breadsticks or crostini. Even better, you could easily make a meal by adding a simple green salad.
The recipe will make four boats – I successfully halved the recipe with no problem to make only two boats. Here were the ingredients:
The flatbreads folks are very into the “stir 100 times fast” to build a gluten, so this is a by hand number – basically there’s only so far I can go before I get my hands dirty and it is this far:
At this point, it’s about ten minutes of kneading until I have a nice dough. I add a little more flour to it, but not a great deal. It’s a nice, light dough that I set aside for about an hour and a half of rising – which it MORE than does (fast acting yeast!):
After this, I cut my dough in half, form each into oblong patties and set them aside (covered lightly in plastic).
In the meantime, it’s time to concentrate on the cheese. Yogurt, Gruyere and goat cheese are mixed together into something resembling “smooth” which is odd since Gruyere is supposed to be coarsely grated. This seemed close, no?
Now for the fun part – forming of the boat. Basically, roll out the dough to a nice oval until it’s about 1/4” thick. Spread cheese mixture in the middle and then out to within about an inch of the edges. Roll edges inward and then pinch ends so they resemble a boat shape:
In case you’re wondering, that’s my old super-cool homemade pizza peel (thanks husband!) made from scrap wood. Fancy! Who says that table saw with all sorts of fancy jigsaw features isn’t a great day-to-day tool? I have since upgraded to a genuine pizza peel, but the door peel was great in a pinch.
The boat goes into the oven on a hot pizza stone for about 15 minutes and voila – the picture above. But, hey, look at this crumb (I KNOW!):
Taste – GREAT. Apparently, the authors had this originally in a shop that served this exclusively with soft drinks. We can see how this and a carbonated beverage would be divine on a hot day. It was great on a winter day. The best part was the cheese – for three items that are normally have some bite to them, they all meld into this really lovely thing that tastes almost sweet.