Grilled Flatbread

Recipe by Martin Philip

If you’ve never grilled fresh dough before, start here. This recipe yields a forgiving dough that gets crisp and charred on the exterior while remaining tender and fluffy inside. Since grills vary widely by make and model, you’ll get better results as you get to know your equipment. The good news is that because this recipe yields two flatbreads, you have at least one chance to practice. After you feel comfortable with this recipe, you’ll be ready to graduate to grilled pizza or grilled calzones

Prep
35 mins
Bake
8 to 12 mins
Total
1 hr 40 mins
Yield
two 10" flatbreads
Grilled Flatbread - select to zoom
Grilled Flatbread - select to zoom
Grilled Flatbread - select to zoom
Grilled Flatbread - select to zoom

Instructions

  1. To prepare the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, combine the flour, water, yeast, olive oil, and salt. Mix until a shaggy, sticky dough forms without any dry, floury patches. This should take less than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides to gather the dough into a rough ball. Cover and set aside.  

  2. After 30 minutes, use a bowl scraper or your wet hand to grab a section of dough from one side, lift it up, and press it down to the middle to seal. Repeat, turning the bowl 90° between each stretch, until the dough won’t elongate easily, about 8 to 12 times total. This process, which is called a bowl fold, replaces kneading. 

  3. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest at room temperature, undisturbed, for at least 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours. This forgiving dough will be fine with more or less time, but a longer rise will make shaping easier. 

  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently deflate it and divide it in half (about 270g each).  

  5. Shape each piece of dough into a rough ball by pulling the edges into the center. Turn the dough seam-side down, cover, and let rest for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour, until it’s relaxed enough to stretch and shape.  

  6. If using a gas grill, preheat to 350°F, then adjust some burners to medium-low and others to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, set up two-zone grilling by banking the coals towards one side of the grill, which will create a hot and a less-hot section.  

  7. To make the basting oil: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic. Set aside. 

  8. To stretch the dough: Dust a pizza peel or thin wooden cutting board with semolina flour or cornmeal. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can stretch the dough directly on parchment. You’ll then invert the dough onto the grill and peel back the parchment.) Transfer one ball of dough to the peel and sprinkle the top with flour. Use your fingertips to gently depress the round, then gently stretch, pull, and flatten the dough into a 10" circle. Repeat with the second ball of dough. 

  9. To prepare the grill: Use a grill brush to remove any residue and clean the grates. For extra protection against sticking, use tongs to rub a wadded or folded paper towel coated in cooking oil over the grates. 

  10. To grill the flatbread: Slide the prepared dough onto the cooler section of the grill and cook for 4 minutes, until the bottom crust is golden brown. Watch closely and move as necessary to achieve your desired color. Then turn the bread over and cook for an additional 4 minutes, again watching closely and moving as needed, until the bread is firm, golden brown, and charred in spots. Brush on the basting oil in the final minute of grilling and move your flatbread to the hotter section of your grill to brown any lighter sections.  

  11. Remove the flatbread from the grill and brush with extra basting oil. Serve the flatbread with your favorite dips and accoutrements: we like whipped feta, burrata, olives, roasted red peppers, hummus, romesco, or muhummara. You can also top the flatbread like a pizza: try ricotta and chopped fresh tomatoes, or charred corn kernels, arugula, and shavings of Parmesan.  

  12. Storage information: The flatbread is best the day it’s made. Store leftover flatbread, untopped and well-wrapped, at room temperature for up to two days. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • For best results, use the less-hot side of the grill for the majority of the cook time, moving the dough closer to the hotter burners or coals only towards the end, and keep the grill lid closed when possible. 

  • Don’t have access to a grill? To bake this flatbread, place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 450°F with a baking steel or stone inside and at least 8" below your broiler. Make sure your oven is at the required temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking, so the steel or stone can fully preheat. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough all over (this will prevent puffing in the oven), then transfer the pie to your preheated steel or stone (here’s how!) and bake the dough for 5 to 7 minutes, until firm and matte. Turn on the broiler and, watching carefully, broil for 1 to 3 minutes, until top is golden-brown and charred in spots. If you can't use a broiler, simply bake your flatbread for a few minutes longer.