On the weekends I try to devote myself to as much time in the kitchen as I can, and to focus on attempting something I haven't tried before. This past weekend, for reasons I'm not clear on myself, I was interested in flatbread. I wanted to share a number of observations I made:
- As with all bread, and despite the fact that they don't rise to the same heights, flatbreads need time.
- You can help the yeast, and the flavour, by adding some sugar to the dough when you mix it.
- Adding some fat (butter, ghee, oil) is often a good idea. Fat in bread makes it lighter and softer. That white bread you ate as a kid that isn't good for you? It has fat in it. Bread isn't soft on its own.
- When stretching dough, the most important tip is to let it rest. If you're pulling it, and it simply snaps back, it's not ready. Invert a bowl over it and let it rest for 7-15 minutes before trying again.
- Cut, never tear dough. Use scissors, a sharp knife, or, if you have it, a bench scraper.
- You want it thinner than you think is wise (it will rise in the heat), but not too thin or it will burn.
- Flatbreads are somewhat hard for children to work with, since they require a margin of error much narrower than normal loaves.
- If you don't have a Tandoori (who doesn't?), you can use your broiler on high heat in a pinch.