Updated: Oct 15, 2021
As I write my third pizza recipe post for this blog, I fully bear the knowledge that pizza-making is not an easy feat. It takes patience, experience, and a lot of failures.
That does not mean that you should give up on making pizzas at home. Because making pizzas at home is one sublime experience. Once you start making them at home, you’re not going back to store-bought pizzas or overpriced restaurant pizzas. Plus, the possibilities are endless with homemade pizzas, and you obviously know every ingredient that goes into it.
So, I wanted to present you guys with a straightforward, hopefully, beginner-friendly flatbread pizza recipe for this post. It’s not bound by strict rules, it’s easy to make, it tastes bomb, and I do believe that anyone can make it.
I came up with this flatbread pizza recipe one night; just before I was going to sleep, it almost came to me like an epiphany. So, the next day, I made it, and it was beyond what I expected it to be.
Flatbread pizzas are the easier, the more laissez-faire renditions of regular pizzas. They’re not constricted by rules like ‘a pizza has to be perfectly round’ or ‘a pizza needs a lot of time to develop.’
This flatbread pizza recipe, hopefully, will motivate you to start making pizzas at home.
And I’ve ditched the classic marinara/tomato sauce pizza. I’ve made a ‘white sauce’ or béchamel sauce pizza with some yum button mushrooms and Malabar spinach that grows in my mom’s tiny kitchen garden. This pizza is a flavor bomb, it’s sweet, salty, mild, and the crust is fluffy and so soft; I’m sure you’re going to love it.
What goes into this mushroom & Malabar spinach flatbread pizza?
I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it, any pizza should have three perfect components. They’re the dough/crust, the sauce, and the toppings.
Let’s start with the dough; this dough is very straightforward; it calls for really basic ingredients. You’ll need all-purpose flour, salt, active dry yeast, some sugar, lukewarm water (or body temperature water), and extra virgin olive oil.
You knead the dough, chuck it into a warm spot for roughly an hour, and you’ll have pizza dough.
I often get queries when I post bread recipes, asking me if they can swap the all-purpose flour (maida) with whole wheat flour (atta). Many times, it’s not possible. But, I’ve tested this recipe with both all-purpose and whole wheat flour, and it works beautifully with both.
So, if you want to use 100% whole wheat flour, do it by all means. But, do note that you might need to add a teaspoon more water. Apart from that, you can follow the entire recipe as it is.
Next comes the béchamel sauce. Béchamel sauce might be familiar to a lot of you as ‘white sauce’; it’s one of the mother sauces of classical western cuisine. It’s made with blonde roux and milk.
A blonde roux is made by cooking together butter and all-purpose flour, and when you whisk milk into it, you get béchamel.
I also add a pinch of salt, black pepper, and nutmeg because these make your béchamel taste out of this world.
Lastly, we need to discuss the toppings. Béchamel and mushrooms are a classic combination, and I always like pairing spinach with béchamel or mushrooms. So, for this flatbread pizza, I’ve combined all three, and it is heavenly.
I’ve used button mushrooms and Malabar spinach, but you can use regular spinach if that’s what you have. I blanch the spinach before adding them to the pizza. You can blanch the cleaned spinach by submerging it in boiling water for 30-40 seconds. Then immediately dunk the spinach into ice-cold water to stop the cooking and maintain the vibrant green color.
I also crumbled up a bit of mozzarella to top the pizza with, along with some flakey salt. The flakey salt is optional, but it adds another layer of flavor to our flatbread pizza.
Finally, if you’re a rebel and rule-breaker, you can also use marinara sauce and any toppings of your choice. You can find my marinara sauce recipe on my Pizza Margherita post.
What equipment do I need to make this flatbread pizza?
You will need two mixing bowls, one to make the dough and another for it to rise. You will also need some plastic wrap. You will also require a wire whisk and a silicone spatula; a couple of spoons should be kept handy as well.
You’ll need two baking trays to bake the pizzas and a large spatula to slide the pizzas off the baking trays.
To make the béchamel, you will need a saucepan, a whisk, and a silicone spatula.
Lastly, it’s optional, but you should have a pastry brush to brush the pizza crust with olive oil.
The recipe for Mushroom & Malabar Spinach Flatbread Pizza
Time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour 15 minutes of rising/proofing
Yields: 2 pizzas
150 grams (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) lukewarm water (around 35°C - 40°C)
6 grams (1 ½ teaspoon) caster sugar
10 grams (3 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
256 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour (maida)
8 grams (2 teaspoons) salt
24 grams (1 ¾ tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
Béchamel sauce & toppings:
10 grams (1 tablespoon) salted butter
10 grams (1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
125 grams (½ cup + 1 teaspoon) room temperature milk
2 grams (½ teaspoon) salt
1 gram (¼ teaspoon) black pepper
1 gram (¼ teaspoon) ground nutmeg
70 grams (½ cup) button mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
40 grams (½ cup) Malabar spinach, blanched & torn
56 grams (¼ cup) mozzarella, crumbled
Pinch of flakey salt
Dissolve the sugar into the lukewarm water, sprinkle the yeast on top, mix and let it become bubbly and foamy. It will take about 5-7 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
Add the yeasted water and extra virgin olive oil to the flour, and mix with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
Use your hands to knead the dough for 5-6 minutes until it’s smooth.
Form the dough into a ball.
Grease a large, clean bowl with olive oil, place the dough in it and coat it with oil.
Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap, and let it double in size for about 1 hour.
Add the salted butter to a saucepan on low heat, and allow it to fully melt.
Add the flour to it, and make a roux by mixing the two until you have a mixture that sticks away from the pan.
Add the milk to the roux, and rapidly whisk until there are no lumps. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Continue whisking on low heat until you end up with a thick mixture that coats the back of a spoon.
Transfer the béchamel to a bowl, and set it aside.
Shaping & baking:
Degas the risen dough by punching it slightly with your hand. Divide it into two equal portions.
Form each dough portion into individual balls.
Place the dough balls on baking trays that have been greased with olive oil.
Use your fingers to stretch and flatten the dough; you can leave a rim around the pizza dough if you’d like.
Cover the pizza dough with greased plastic wrap, and let them proof for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to the highest temperature it can go to, ideally 250°C.
Spread the béchamel on your proofed pizzas, top it with the sliced mushrooms, blanched Malabar spinach, mozzarella cheese, and flakey salt.
Bake the pizzas at 250°C for 8-9 minutes until the cheese and sauce are bubbly, and the crust is golden.
Brush the pizza crust with some olive oil, slide the pizzas onto a cutting board, and serve immediately.
If you’re using whole wheat flour (atta), increase the quantity of water and extra virgin olive oil by a teaspoon each. You can follow the rest of the recipe as it is.
If your oven can go only up to 230°C, bake your pizzas for about 12-15 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them.