Monday, March 29, 2010

Olive Oil Matzo

I saw this Mark Bittman article in the New York Times about his attempt to recreate a Sardinian-style flatbread he had at Grandaisy Bakery (which is one of my absolute favorite places). The recipe only has 4 ingredients, one of which is water, so I thought I should give it a try.

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
Sea salt, optional.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Put flour, salt and olive oil in a food processor. Once machine is on, add 1/2 cup water. Continue to run machine until dough forms a firm ball, rides around on blade and is not at all sticky. (If you prefer, whisk together the water and oil and add this to machine all at once.)

Cut dough into 12 small balls — this is easiest if you cut the ball in half, then half again, then into thirds — and flatten each into a 3- to 4-inch patty. On a well-floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll each patty into a 6- to 8-inch circle. The shapes can be irregular, but dough should be so thin you can almost see through it.

Put dough on ungreased cookie sheets, sprinkle with sea salt if you like, and bake for about 2 to 3 minutes, keeping a very close eye on breads — they can burn very quickly. Once they begin to puff up and brown, flip and cook for another minute or so on second side. Repeat with all the dough and let cool completely.

So that's the recipe, and here's how it went for me. I whisked the olive oil and water together and then added it to the machine. It creates an almost milky yellow color:

The dough did not ride around on the blade, but rather was crumbly and stuck against the wall of the food processor. But once i got it all out it was very easy to form into a ball.

And here they are on the baking sheet, and the finished product.

I made them last Friday for pre-dinner snacks with my mom and dad. Peter's review: "They're gross and biscuity. We can be honest with each other, right? I better run out and get some crackers." My mom said that yes they are biscuit-like, but she liked them. I liked them too, but I do agree they weren't exactly matzo-like. And as the article says, Mark Bittman isn't sure if they technically qualify as matzo. I will have to try them again and roll them out even thinner...I already felt like I was rolling them very thin, I could see the pattern on my cutting board through the dough. But next time I'll go even thinner, and add a little more kosher salt than I did this time. If you want to watch Mark make them, check out this short video.

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