Thursday, April 9, 2020

Bread of the Dead (Squid Ink Flatbread w/Mushrooms, Shallots & Herbs)

Squid Ink Flatbread with Mushroom Skulls for Halloween

I'm not eating bread for the rest of this month. I've made this recipe so many times this week that I can barely look at these photos without feeling like I'll burst. Sure the first few times it was to get the flavors and ingredients right, and then to get the right shots. I really thought I was done because the photos looked great. It tasted great. The blog was written and I was just about to press publish for this darkly gorgeous mushroom flatbread when my husband said, "You know what you should've done? Instead of using these regular sliced mushrooms, why don't you make it with your mushroom skulls from a few years ago?" 

Hold up...stop the presses! I slowly moved my cursor away from the PUBLISH button and I sat there with mixed feelings. 
In my mind, I thought...Noooo! I can't possibly make this pizza again. No. More. Bread. No!
But, in my heart, I knew...I had to make it one more time with these super festive mushroom skulls. It was such a great idea that I couldn't believe I almost posted this recipe without them. Check out the recipe and how to below. 

About this recipe 
I like a good flatbread where the bread is soft but chewy with a crisp bottom that holds up the toppings well and gives a little crunch when you bite all the way through it, and this dough is just that. It also has squid ink, but don't let that scare you. It's just for color. The bread does not have a fishy taste or smell once baked. It will smell faintly of the sea while the dough is unbaked, but I promise you it won't taste like that once it's baked. 
I also used this beautiful Pesto Gouda instead of your typical mozzarella or parmesan. I think it adds an organic grassy look to the flatbread and packs a lot of pesto flavor.  I picked it up on-line from here.

I also topped them with an assortment of fresh herbs from my garden, like thyme, parsley, oregano, savory, and marjoram. Feel free to use your favorite herbs or what you have on hand.

And lastly, I drizzled a balsamic glaze over a few slices that I ate and really loved the acidic pop that added contrast to the earthy flavors. Here's an easy recipe if you'd like to drizzle it on. 
Balsamic Glaze
1 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/3 cup
honey (to taste)
~Over medium heat, reduce the balsamic vinegar to about 1/3 cup. Cool and add honey to taste.

Bread of the Dead (Squid Ink Flatbread w/Mushrooms, Shallots and Herbs)

Makes 4

Squid Ink Flatbread Dough
2 cups bread flour
2 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t active dry yeast
1 T olive oil + more to oil the bowl
1/2 t squid ink
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)

Stir together flour, garlic powder, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil to flour mixture and lightly mix. Dissolve squid ink in the warm water and add to the flour mixture, and mix with a fork until it comes together into a shaggy dough. 
Use your hands to work the loose flour into your dough while in the bowl until its mostly incorporated. Turn it out on a floured surface and knead lightly, forming the dough into a ball.  Clean and dry the bowl you used to mix the dough. Oil the bowl and place the dough in it and roll to coat the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to double in volume. About 2 hours. 

While dough rises, grate cheese, prepare mushrooms skulls and shallot topping.
Mushroom Skulls
I used button mushrooms for the skulls and chopped up some baby bella mushrooms to give the mushroom topping more flavor, but if you can find small baby bella mushrooms, they can also be used to make the skulls. 

Create two skull faces on opposite sides of each mushroom using a straw to form the large eye holes. Use a pairing knife to cut the nose holes and to scrape down the stem to create teeth. Trim the stems if desired. Cut mushroom in half creating two skull halves. Save the mushroom eye holes and saute them with the mushroom caps.  

Flatbread Toppings
2 T butter 
4 oz. small mushroom skulls, halved
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced (can substitute with red onion)
4-5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 T cooking sherry
1 t fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup jarred pesto sauce (such as Classico)
1 cup Green Pesto Gouda (I purchased it here- link)
Mixed fresh herbs (Use your favorites or whatever you have on hand) 
Optional topping: Balsamic Glaze (see below)

Melt butter in a large skillet, add mushroom skulls and saute about 5-8 minutes. Add shallots, garlic and sherry and continue to cook until all the liquid has cooked down, about 3-5 minutes more. Add thyme leaves, salt and pepper and set aside. 

Balsamic Glaze
1 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/3 cup
honey (to taste)
~Over medium heat, reduce the balsamic vinegar to about 1/3 cup. Cool and add honey to taste. Set aside and drizzle over flatbread if desired.

Place a pizza stone or a rimless cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees. 

Back to the dough...
When dough has doubled, remove from bowl and cut into 4 equal pieces and shape into a ball pinching edges together. Push in a circular motion to form a taut ball. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Brush each with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. (Note: Only 2 of the 4 are pictured below)

Cut a length of parchment paper. Coat hands with oil and gently pull one piece of dough into an 6 inch length. Place it on the parchment paper and gently dimple surface of dough with fingertips and then flatten with your palms into a  8" by 4" oval. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush each flatbread generously with pesto sauce, grated Pesto Gouda cheese, and the mushroom and shallot mixture. 

Slip parchment onto the pizza stone, or cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. To remove from the oven, pull the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool 5 minutes then cut crosswise into triangles. Top with your favorite fresh herbs and drizzle with the Balsamic glaze. Repeat for remaining flatbread dough.  Bone Appetit!

More Halloween bread recipes:
Deathcap Kabobs

Brimstone Bread
Tortured Soul Rolls


  1. .This is incredibly creative! I will try this for my annual witch’s tea party.

  2. Thank you Mia! Hope you enjoy the recipe. Happy Halloween.

    Lori Castellon

  3. This is awesome! Thank yu so much for posting this! Gina :)

  4. Stumbled across the photo of these mushrooms on facebook and traced it back here... SO GLAD I DID! I can’t wait to try this out!

  5. Stumbled across the photo of these mushrooms on facebook and traced it back here... SO GLAD I DID! I can’t wait to try this out!

  6. What type of squid ink do you buy?

    1. I purchased it online and I cannot recall where unfortunately, but if you have an Asian market near by they will carry it. Hope that helps.

  7. I made this bread but my Mushrooms looked really dehydrated. Help!

    1. I'm sorry to hear that. Let's troubleshoot...Did you saute them before topping your flatbread?

  8. Lori Do you have a Pinterest account ? Because I would love to follow you!

    1. Yes, I have a Pinterest account for @loricastellon and also for my Halloween blog @ghoulatheart50. Please give me a follow. ❤

  9. In an effort to entice the children to eat something somewhat healthy before trick or treating, we make mummies (pigs in a blanket)and witches mouths (apple slices/peanut butter/marshmallows). But I want something a little more grown up but still in our dinner theme, and I usually don't end up eating. This will fit perfectly, especially as our family is aging out of the trick or treat aspect.

    1. Yes, my family has aged out of all the kids stuff as well. I'm glad you took the time to comment. Please let me know if you make it and how it turns out! ❤

  10. Replies
    1. Hi Liz,
      If you have a Asian market near you, you can get it there or if you're like me and don't want to drive all the way to the market, I order it on-line. Hope that helps.

  11. Can black icing colouring paste be substituted for the squid ink? That's much easier to find. Thank you

    1. Yes, you can use black food coloring. Not sure how much you'll have to use but you can adjust as you go along.