Mother Earth Living

Spice Up Your Life: Indian Flatbread

There's no simpler way to fill your home with the aroma of fresh bread than with this flatbread recipe.
By Susan Belsinger
January/February 2004
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Whole-wheat flatbreads take only minutes to roll out and can be baked on a hot griddle or skillet.
Photo By Joe Coca

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Makes 8 

These puffy disks of bread are simple, quick, and versatile. Prepare a batch of dough and leave it covered on the counter to rest—later it takes only minutes to roll out a few flatbreads and bake them on a griddle or in a heavy skillet. The dough can be held overnight in the refrigerator.

Flatbreads and Flavors, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (William Morrow, 1995), has detailed instructions for rolling and cooking them, which I have adapted here.

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water

1. Combine the flours in a bowl with the salt. Drizzle the oil over the flour and work it in with your fingers or a wooden spoon. Add water and work the contents into a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth.

2. Add a little more water if it’s too dry, or a little more flour if it’s sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap or cover with an inverted bowl and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

3. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each into balls. Place a ball on a lightly floured surface and flatten it gently with your hand.

4. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6-inch round. Don’t flip the dough over while rolling or it won’t puff as well during baking.

5. Heat an iron griddle or skillet over medium heat. Place one flatbread on the hot surface for about 15 seconds, then flip it. After about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, little bubbles should rise on the top surface and the bottom should be flecked with golden brown. Flip the flat bread to the precooked side. It should begin to puff up a little. You can press on it gently with a clean cotton towel to encourage it to puff a bit more. If it doesn’t puff, it will still taste good. Do not allow the bottom to burn. Remove cooked flatbreads and wrap them loosely in a towel or napkin to keep them warm.

6. Serve immediately with butter or olive oil, or with the olive relish that follows. You may cook these in advance, cool them, and wrap them in foil. Reheat in a 300° to 350° F oven until warmed through.

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