Mediterranean Flatbread (Catalan Coca)
The dough for these tasty flatbreads, which are found all over Catalonia in bakeries and bars, varies from the crispest of flaky pastry to simple pizza style doughs rolled to various thicknesses. The lard in this one gives a wonderful crispness to the dough but feel free to use just olive oil if you prefer.
There are literally dozens of options of toppings – almost anything goes.
Cocoas can be eaten as a tapa or a decent slice makes a good lunch with a salad on the side.
- 1 cup water plus a little more if needed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for oiling the bowl
- 2 tablespoons lard (or substitute additional olive oil)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
Place the water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a mixer and leave for a few minutes to allow the yeast to soften and bloom.
Add the olive oil, lard and salt. Using a dough hook, mix in the semolina and the flour (if you don't have a mixer, you can do this with a wooden spoon, then knead it with your hands as it gets firm). Knead for several minutes, until the dough comes together into a smooth, supple ball. Add a little more water if need be.
Coat the dough with a little olive oil to keep it from drying out, place in a covered container and refrigerate overnight. If you wish to use it straight away leave it rise for an hour or two at room temperature).
When you are ready to make the cocas, take the dough out of the refrigerator to return to room temperature while you prepare the topping.
Preheat the oven and pizza stone, if you have one, to its hottest temperature - 250ºC. If you don’t have a pizza stone, place a baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat.
Divide the dough into four or six equal pieces (six if you want a thinner, crisper dough). Take one portion and keep the others covered until required. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench into a long tongue shape, roughly 30 x 12 cm, and place on a paper lined baking sheet or, if using a pizza stone place on a wooden pizza peel sprinkled with fine polenta. Spread a portion of the filling on top, almost to the edge of the dough. Drizzle with additional olive oil and bake for approximately 5 minutes. (If using a stone slide the coca off the peel onto the stone, and if not, place the baking sheet directly on top of the hot one already in the oven. This will give the base a good burst of heat).
Remove from the oven, and cut into slices. Serve hot or as I prefer, at room temperature. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
2010 Campo Rioja Cosecha
2012 Te Mata Estate Gamau Noir