flat bottomed bread

flat bread

Makes 4 medium-large sized flatbreads

Flatbread is such a handy bread to know how to make. It is not complicated. I am not a full dough expert by any means. Cass and I make pastry dough, flatbread and pizza dough a lot but bread dough is something we don’t make very often; we have friends who make the most amazing bread dough and consequently bread and that’s pretty awesome!

Flatbread is a quick and easy thing to make, and when we have leftover roast meat from the weekend, or a frozen meat roast with its’ sauces, or falafel, one of us is more than happy to whip up a quick flatbread to make the leftovers into a meal by adding it into the bread with salad and your favourite sauce.

Flatbread is also a good one with cheese. When you have cheese but no crusty bread, pita bread or crackers – what do you do? Make flatbread.

I learnt to make dough from Cass. I have a fond memory of him teaching me how to knead dough written within the by hand method – although I am claiming the Spiderman reference – I thought of that while writing up! I have made dough by hand for longer than in the Kitchenaid that we got for our wedding – so please, if you don’t own a mixer don’t be put off – I have included how to combine and knead in a bowl, on the bench and in a mixer with a dough hook.

Usually I make the flatbread by feel. To get quantities for this recipe, I have added what I want and then put it into a scale and written down. I filled a jug with luke warm water (half cold, half hot out the tap) and used just over ¾ cup, I had to add a bit more plain flour (about a small handful 2-3 gm). I have written the recipe with ¾ cup to combat this. But if you need to, add a tiny bit of plain flour if the dough is still quite sticky once it’s combined.

You’ve had the spiel now for the recipe:

175g wholemeal flour

100g plain flour

6 g dried yeast (my yeast is quite old – use 1 tsp (3 g) if you have fresh yeast)

¼-½ tbs salt

¾ cup of luke warm water

by hand:

In a large bowl, or on a clean surface, add the flours and yeast. Mix with your hands to combine.
Add the salt. Mix with your hands to combine.
The reason you add the salt once the yeast has been mixed through the flour is because the salt will affect the rising reaction of the yeast – thanks Cass.
Make a well in the centre.
Slowly, and bit by bit, add the water. I would add half, bring together with my hands, add the next quarter, bring together with my hands, and then add the final quarter and bring together with my hands. Knead.

kneading the dough:

in the bowl:

One hand in the bowl using the heel of your palm. Press down, scoop up, put down, press down, scoop up, press down.
Repeat this process for a few minutes, or until the dough comes together and springs back when pressed with a finger. You may need to add more water, or if too sticky, add a tiny bit of flour and mix. It’s okay if it’s a bit sticky. Scroll to resting the dough.

on the bench:

Flour your bench and place the ball of dough down.
To knead you press on the edge of the dough closest to you with the heel of your palm, then you scoop up the dough with your fingers from the edge furthest away from you, bring the dough up slightly into the air and slap the dough down (so it moves away from your hand and lands on the kitchen bench) with your hand (your hand would be in the position of Spiderman. releasing his finger web to do so). With the dough back on the bench, repeat the process for a few minutes, or until the dough comes together and springs back when pressed with a finger. You may need to add more water, or if too sticky, add a tiny bit of flour and mix. It’s okay if it’s a bit sticky. Scroll to resting the dough.

resting the dough

Place the dough in a bowl (if it’s not in one already) and chuck a clean towel over the top. Leave in a warm spot. By a sunny windowsill is good. If it’s Winter or cold night, leave in a sink filled with warm water (make sure you check the water every 5 mins or so to make sure it’s still warm) or by the fire or heater. Leave for about 30 minutes or until about doubled in size. Scroll to final steps.

in a Kitchenaid or something similar (using a dough hook):

Add the flours, followed by the yeast. Mix to combine.
Add the salt. Mix to combine.
The reason you add the salt once the yeast has been mixed through the flour is because the salt will affect the rising reaction of the yeast – thanks Cass.
With the mixer on, slowly, and bit by bit, add the water.
Stop mixing once the dough springs back when touched – it should be smooth and elastic. You may need to add more water, or if too sticky, add a tiny bit of flour and mix. It’s okay if it’s a bit sticky. I ended up adding 2 extra tbs of water.You can also give a quick knead with your hands in the mixer bowl using the heel of your palm. Press down, scoop, press down, scoop.

resting the dough

Place the dough in a bowl (if it’s not in one already) and chuck a clean towel over the top. Leave in a warm spot. By a sunny windowsill is good. If it’s Winter or cold night, leave in a sink filled with warm water (make sure you check the water every 5 mins or so to make sure it’s still warm) or by the fire or heater. Leave for about 30 minutes or until about doubled in size.

final steps (regardless if dough was made by hand or in a mixer):

Flour your bench. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll into balls. Press one down into a round shape and flour both sides. Using a floured rolling pin or large glass, roll out the dough from the middle out to make a circle shape. Keep flipping the dough over as your roll, so you end up rolling it from both surfaces. Stop when it is about 2mm thick.

Heat a non-stick pan, or a pan with a bit of olive oil spread around over a medium heat. Add the rolled out dough. Keep on medium. Flip over when golden brown on one side. The other side will start to bubble and rise up in places. When the other side is ready it is done. It’s about 3-5 minutes on either side.

Enjoy with cheese, leftover roast meat and a salad, cheese, falafel and salad, cheese, salad, cheese and salad. You can either wrap, or serve flat on the plate with the other ingredients on top. Or if eating with cheese, cut into triangles and eat with your fav brie, cheddar, blue cheese, you get the idea….

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