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Baking a Great Way to Bring Family Together : Peppered Italian Flat Bread Is an Ideal Treat for Weekend Entertaining

March 17, 1988

Spring break is the perfect opportunity for families to make up for quality time lost during the more hectic weeks of the year. Cooking and baking are ideal activities for parents and children to enjoy together.

Here's a simple, versatile bread recipe for parents and children to make. This easy-to-prepare dough is delicious when rolled thinly and topped with spicy seasonings or shaped into playful animals and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Ideal for Weekend Entertaining

Use half of the dough to make an impressive Peppered Italian Flat Bread. It's perfect for weekend entertaining, and because it's topped with sweet red and green peppers, basil, oregano and garlic powder, it's terrific served with pasta or simply with a salad or soup.

With the remaining dough, let the children use their imaginations to create turtles, bears or other shapes. After baking at the same temperature and time as the flat bread, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and decorate with currants and other dried fruit for a quick, delicious snack the children will enjoy.

PEPPERED ITALIAN FLAT BREAD

1 package dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 to 3 cups flour

1/2 medium sweet red or green pepper, cut into thin slices

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Beat in sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups flour on low speed 30 seconds. Scrape bowl. constantly. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until batter is elastic and pulls away from side of bowl, about 5 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide into halves. Place half on baking sheet and press into 12-inch circle. Reserve other half for making children's breads or make second flat bread. Brush circle with remaining oil, top with half of sweet red pepper, cheese, basil, oregano, garlic powder and remaining salt. Let stand 10 to 12 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees until crust is golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Makes flat breads, 12 to 16 servings, or 1 flat bread and children's shaped breads.

Note: For children's shaped breads, allow children to design breads shaped like animals of their choice with remaining half of dough, place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees until golden. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and currants, if desired.

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