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Jan 27, 2012 09:09 AM

Cosi type flatbread recipe

I have searched the internet high and low and found nothing even close to the flatbread that Cosi serves and makes their sandwiches with.

For those that don't know Cosi, it is a chain of coffee/sandwich places. The bread is baked and then sliced in half to make the sandwich. It is textured on top. It is fantastic as it has a soft light interior and nice texture on the top.

One thing I do know is that they let the dough sit uncovered which helps create the texture on the top. I think they must also put something on top.

Most flatbread recipes I have seen are too thin to be sliced in half.

I guess if I was really bored/desperate I could stand there all day and watch what they do as they make it from scratch at each location right in view.

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    1. re: paulj

      Actually, it isn't much like a focaccia. It is not as risen as a focaccia, and it seems to be halfway between a focaccia and a pita. Slightly thicker than a pita, brushed with olive oil and salt, as I recall. I used to work near where they opened the first Cosi on Broadway in Manhattan, and they used to cut the ends off the bread to square it up for sandwiches. They'd put the trimmings in a owl near where people were lining up to place their order, and they were wonderful to snack on while considering one's options. I have a book at home called Flatbreads and Flavors, and I'll take a look in there later to see if there is anything that rings a bell.

      1. re: paulj

        I would say it is less dense and less oily than focaccia. I would call the interior more along the lines of ciabatta. It is thinner than ciabatta is typically.

        1. re: paulj

          I think it's more along the lines of a pita (made with white flour). Our Cosi closed (sadly - I **love** that bread), but I think it had a nice coating of salt on top? Those square bagels are amazing too. Kind of seems like a very similar (if not the same) dough?

          1. re: jbsiegel

            Is it sliced or split open?

            It almost sounds as though people are talking about different breads.

            1. re: paulj

              It is sliced open. I am going to guess that it is 1/2"-3/4" high before being sliced.

              A pita is not sliced. It is done in a really hot oven or pan and air fills the center to create the pocket. I would guess a pita is only 3/8" thick.

              I think the closest thing to it is a really thin ciabatta.

              1. re: paulj

                It's a thin "loaf" (I only say "loaf" because it has a crust on top and bottom) that's then sliced horizontally through to split it open and make a sandwich. The whole thing can't be more than about 1/2" thick.

                I was thinking more about the topping - I think it's brushed with butter and sea salt.

                1. re: jbsiegel

                  Like I said, I know part of the texture on top comes from the final rise being uncovered which is very unusual for bread. I have also seen them brush something on it. It may have butter, but the bread doesn't taste real buttery. I am wondering if it has baking soda on the top like used in pretzel making.

          2. Resurrecting this one.

            I just read the current issue of Food Network Magazine. They have a recipe in there that's supposed to duplicate the Cosi flatbread. I think I'll give it a try.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jbsiegel

              What issue was that? I took a look, but didn't see it online at least.

              1. re: michaeljc70

                It's the September 2012 issue...just came in the mail yesterday. I looked online and didn't see either. I'm not sure about the restrictions about posting recipes here. I believe that I can post the ingredient list, but not the instructions unless I reword them. So... the ingredients are:
                1 1/4-oz pkg active dry yeast
                pinch of sugar
                3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
                kosher salt
                2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

                The process is basically make the dough, let it rise, knead it a bit and let it rise again, form into rectangles, let rest uncovered, bake.

                Seems like a long process, but if they come out anywhere near what Cosi makes, it's definitely worth it in my mind! Apparently these are brushed with olive oil and salted right after baking. From tasting the Cosi ones, I thought it was butter.

            2. This is a good question. I secretly like Cosi flatbread (when it's hot and fresh), even though I think just about everything else on the menu is terrible.

              A few months ago I used this recipe to make pita bread: I think I made 1/3 of a recipe.

              I flattened small rounds with a rolling pin and baked them on a pre-heated baking stone. Rather than forming the pockets I was after, I ended up with a Cosi-like flatbread. They had a nice chew and saltiness. You could even brush them with a small amount of oil and sprinkle with flaky salt for the Cosi crackle effect.

              By the way, for anyone curious: I learned that you can create "pockets" by baking on a rack that allows air to fully circulate rather than a sheet or flat surface.

              1. I found the recipe jbsiegel was talking about in the Sept 2012 Food Network magazine: .

                I haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising! I know that the cosi website lists dairy/milk in its allergen list for cosi flatbread, so adding milk or yogurt might get you closer to the real thing.

                7 Replies
                1. re: krinklie

                  THANKS for that link! I've been saving the page from the actual magazine. Now I can save the recipe with my others on my computer!! Interesting about the dairy/milk. I actually always thought they brushed it with butter not oil. Could that explain it?

                  1. re: jbsiegel

                    I was thinking yogurt/milk since some naan flatbread recipes call for it, but I think you're right about brushing with butter.

                    Have you tried making it yet from recipe?

                    1. re: krinklie

                      Haven't had a chance, but it's sitting on the top of my recipe "to do" pile LOL!

                  2. re: krinklie

                    Luckily, I am working from home today and the 2nd rise is almost done. I'll let you know in a few hours how it came out.

                    I've tried a few recipes in the past for this bread (without much luck) and watched what they do at Cosi. This recipe sounds right with the resting and letting it dry out to get the crackle on top.

                    1. re: michaeljc70

                      That sounds promising. Let us know how it goes!

                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                        It came out good. It is a really nice bread. I would say that it still wasn't as craggly on the top as Cosi, but getting close. I let it rise the final time for about 1.5 hours. I think next time I would go for more like 2.5 hours.

                        I made the recipe (bread only) as is except I used parchment paper for the final rise and threw them in the oven on an inverted sheet pan that was heated (rather than a sheet pan on another sheet pan, not sure that would help much). I also didn't do the last application of salt and oil as it seemed like overkill.

                        The dough is quite wet. I had to add a good amount of flour to be able to knead it.

                        The final product had a decent amount of air holes inside considering the rise times.

                        See photo.

                        1. re: michaeljc70

                          That photo looks pretty close. I'm impressed! Now I **really** have to find some time to try it myself!