Flat Bread & Pizza
Perhaps the simplest - and one of the most delicious and satisfying foods - is the flat bread. Historically a very ubiquitous food that is still a staple in many cultures. The ingredients are, at its simplest, a pounded grain and water. Cooking requires a bed of embers. That's it.
Cooking is made easier if a griddle is available to place over the embers for the first of the two step cooking process (see below) and if one has a spatula or tongs.
Ingredients (makes seven 7-inch breads)
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of water
(optional 1 teaspoon salt)
(optional dried and pounded herbs or garlic powder)
Slowly add the water to the flour mixing with your hands or a spoon until homogeneous. Then knead the dough with your hands for 4 or 5 minutes; if your hands become too sticky rinse with water and continue to knead it.
Divide the dough into seven equal amounts. Roll into a ball, then flatten. This can be done with your hands but better consistency is achieved if rolled out on a smooth surface to a thickness of about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick: this may require sprinkling the surface with flour to prevent sticking.
Develop a bed of embers in your campfire or fireplace; best is a hardwood that has been burned down over several hours producing a bed of glowing embers a couple of inches thick.
First Baking (with griddle)
Place the griddle (any flat metal surface but cast iron hanging griddle or cast iron Dutch oven is recommended) either just above the embers or higher over a modest to medium fire - the flames not touching the griddle. Allow the griddle to reach a hot temperature (about 400 deg F is ideal). Place one of the flattened breads on the griddle for about 15 seconds (if 1/8 inch thickness) on one side, then flip over to the other side for about 15 seconds and remove, allowing it to rest until the other breads are made. Repeat for each bread, keeping the griddle hot. The bread should not brown at this stage.
First Baking (without griddle)
Prepare the embers so that there is a flat area at least a little bigger than the diameter of the flattened bread. Place the bread directly on top of the embers for about 10 seconds, each side. The breads should not brown; set aside each bread allowing it to rest. The cooking will be long enough where the ashes will not stick to the breads. A grill basket could be utilized.
Flatten an area of the embers at least the diameter of the breads; this can be nicely down on the hearth, pulling the embers away from the wood that is flaming. It is very important that the embers be glowing hot - use of a bellows can assist that. Then place a flat bread directly onto the embers for a few seconds, during which time the bread should puff up; turn the bread onto the other side also for a few seconds during which time the bread should further puff up, almost into a spherical shape (a grill basket could be utilized, if desired and available). If it doesn't, the embers are not hot enough. Flip again from one side to the other to reach the degree of color you prefer. Remove and stack. Best served warm.
Because the temperature of the hardwood embers or coals can reach about 1800 deg F, the cooking is very similar to baking in a wood-fired bread or pizza oven, which typically reaches 800 deg F - the secret to the perfect crust.
For individual seven inch diameter pizzas, after removal of the bread from the embers, and flattening if necessary, place upon the griddle and add toppings of your choice and further cook over medium heat, warming the ingredients. It is recommended that the individual toppings be roasted prior to introduction atop the bread, other than any cheese that will readily melt. Only a few minutes should be required for each pizza.