Okay, I’m afraid this is going to have to be a short one. Like, a really short one. Blink and you’ll miss it! But anyways, I realized that when I was talking about my mushroom-falafels (or falafshrooms, if you prefer) I told you that I made a batch of homemade flatbread and then left you hanging. And, well, friends don’t tell friends about supple, chewy fresh-from-the-oven flatbreads and then not share the recipe. So, here it is!
It was partially inspired by a pita recipe, but then I remembered that, actually, I don’t like pitas as much as I like more tender, thicker enriched flatbreads, the style you might get at a Syrian restaurant for example. So, I fiddled with the recipe to make these breads more like those. With a little nod to naan, as well, since it’s my favorite flatbread. These are fairly easy as far as bread goes, and worth rolling your sleeves up and grabbing the mixing bowl for. Plus, you can make a bunch and freeze some (in freezer bags) to reheat later. If you’re me this will turn out to be a mere two days later. Oh well. I’ll just have to make another batch soon.
Syrian flatbread (makes 8 )
- 1/4 cup warm water (100-110F)
- 1 Tbs. sugar or honey
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
- 1 cup warm buttermilk (same temp as the water) (you can also use regular milk – 2% or whole)
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- about 3 cups of all-purpose flour (this can be a mix of white and whole wheat flour, if you’d like)
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 5-10 minutes. At this point the yeast should be foamy. (If it’s not it means your yeast died, which could be because your water was too hot, or your yeast is old. Or it could potentially be that your water was a little too cool and the yeast is just taking longer to activate.) Once the yeast is all foamy, stir in the buttermilk, salt and olive oil.
- Add about 2 1/2 cups of flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. This should form a a loose shaggy dough mass that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, using the remaining 1/2 cup flour (plus a little bit more at a time, if needed, to keep the dough from sticking to your counter), for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. If you have a kitchen aid with a dough hook, you can just make the dough in there, adding all the flour and mixing it with the hook on low speed for 5-10 minutes.
- Coat a large, deep bowl with a thin layer of olive oil, put your dough into the bowl, turn the dough over to get it all coated with oil, then cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel (or plastic wrap, but I prefer the towel method) and leave it somewhere that is fairly warm to rise for about an hour and a half, or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, take a pizza stone or a baking sheet, put it in your oven and turn on your oven to 500F.
- Take your dough, cut it into 8 equal(ish) pieces and shape these into balls. Set the dough balls on the counter or on a board, cover them with the damp towel and let them sit for 20-25 minutes to relax (the oven with the baking sheet/stone should be preheating this whole time. Just as a side note, I always have to deactivate my smoke detector when I have my oven at 500F because the alarm always goes off, even if there’s no smoke. It’s just testy like that.)
- After 20 minutes, take a couple of dough pieces and, on a lightly floured surface, roll or stretch them into circles that are about 1/4 inch thick – I kind of started by stretching them by hand, then finished getting them thin enough by using a rolling pin. Brush them with a little bit of water to get them just a bit moist (this helps them puff in the oven).
- Put as many of your rolled dough rounds as you can fit onto the baking sheet/stone in the oven and let them cook for 4-5 minutes, until they’re just starting to get golden spots on top. Remove from the oven and stack them in a kitchen towel to keep them warm while you repeat the process and cook the rest of your rounds.
- Serve warm and fresh from the oven. They also keep fairly well and reheat nicely in the oven or toaster oven.