“I don’t know when life will slow down like this again,” food reporter Priya Krishna wrote in her quarantine journal back in April 2020. At the time, Krishna was living at home with her parents in Dallas, cooking everything from chocolate mousse to roti. The lessons she learned in that Dallas home kitchen show up in her new cookbook, Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (And Love My Microwave), cowritten with award-winning chef and owner of Austin’s Fuku, David Chang.
The unconventional cookbook, out today from Clarkson Potter, takes the focus off such normative components as recipes and ingredient lists and encourages home chefs to follow their intuition. It’s filled with measurements such as “a little extra water” and “a few splashes of fish sauce.” Once you’ve read the book through—and this is a cookbook that deserves a sit-down read, not just a flip-through to find tonight’s dinner—you’ll have a more complete understanding of basics like how to season food or cook any kind of meat. In the recipes below, Chang and Krishna break down flatbread dough and how to use it to make flatbread pizza.
“This is my go-to recipe for when I am on vacation and staying in a rental with friends and need to make dinner,” Krishna writes. “It doesn’t require much kitchen equipment, and it automatically makes me the most popular person in the house.”
Makes 10 to 20 flatbreads.
In a small bowl, combine a teaspoonful or so of active dry yeast, a squeeze of agave syrup or a pinch of granulated sugar, and a few spoonfuls of warm (but not hot!) water. Stir to dissolve. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Congrats, you have activated the yeast.
In a large bowl, combine at least 3 cups of all-purpose flour, a few large pinches of salt, and a pinch of sugar. Add the activated yeast, and stir in enough water (milk works, too!) for the dough to be wet but malleable, something you can bring together into a wet ball. Add a glug of olive oil to the dough and start working it. This just means using your hands to lift it and let it fold over itself a bunch of times. Do this for a few minutes, until the dough starts to feel elastic—you’re developing the gluten. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and place it in a dark room-temperature spot (like an oven that’s turned off—if it’s cold in the kitchen, it helps to boil water in a kettle and put that in the oven to make the oven warmer). Let it proof for 3 to 5 hours, until it almost doubles in size.
You can use it now, or transfer the dough to a resealable bag, place in the freezer overnight, and then thaw it in the fridge or at room temperature when you are ready to use it.
Flatbread with pizza toppings, a.k.a. pizza
Makes 1 large flatbread pizza, serves 2 or 3.
This dough should be a little more hydrated than the standard flatbread dough, to give it more of that light, shattery crunch. So ideally, make the [flatbread dough] with a little extra water, enough to make it a loose dough, not one that comes together into a neat ball.
Once the dough is proofed, stretch it out on a half-sheet pan (or two 12-inch round pans) that have been coated with olive oil, and add a little more oil to the surface of the dough. Make indents for the crust along the edges of the dough. Let it proof again, covered in plastic wrap, for 1 to 2 hours in a dark room-temperature place (again, a turned-off oven works well), until it has risen to almost double the height. (If you are using an oven and it is cold in your kitchen, place a kettle with boiling water in the oven to keep it warm.)
Take the dough out, and preheat the oven to 450. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce (canned tomatoes pureed with salt, olive oil, and sugar to taste works) over the top. Bake the crust for about 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Spread fresh mozzarella, another layer of tomato sauce, and slices of pepperoni over the top. Place the pizza back in the oven and cook for another 3 to 6 minutes, to your desired doneness. (I cook it until the pepperoni is crispy because it adds this salty, potato-chip-like crunch to every bite.)