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Flat Breads

April 5, 2016 - Radio Kitchen - Flat Breads

Baking bread is one of the most enjoyable pastimes that the kitchen offers.  But it's also one of the more intimidating.  All that yeast, a punching down, and fretting about the humidity.  What if there were a kind of bread that side-stepped those issues?  Would you be tempted then?  Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School, has something right up your alley.

These are flat breads, the simplest and perhaps oldest breads in the world.

They are easy to make, and require a fraction of the work of conventional bread.  According to Jerry, flat bread comes in two varieties:  yeasty, leavened dough and unleavened dough.  Here are some basic recipes that can be spiced up with any number of herbs, nuts and grated cheeses.

   The Baking SeriesFlatbreads from around the World

               Chefs Amy von Lange & Jerry Pellegrino

                                    Bazlama – Turkish Flatbread

Ingredients

1 package or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 ½ cups warm water

½ cup Greek-style yogurt

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast, sugar, and salt in the warm water. Add the water and yogurt to the flour and mix well. The dough will be soft but not sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow it to rise at room temperature for 3 hours.

Cut the dough into four portions. Shape the dough into rounds and flatten each round as though you're making pizza dough. Cover the rounds with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Place one dough round in the skillet and bake until brown spots appear on the bottom, about 1 minute.

Flip the bread and bake for an additional minute. Remove the bread and wrap it in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining dough rounds. Store any leftover flatbreads in an airtight container.

                                    Whole Wheat Norwegian Flatbread

We prefer this flatbread to be thin and crispy, so we often roll it out using a pasta sheeter and crank it down to #2.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature

¼ cup caraway seeds (optional)

Semolina flour for dusting the cookie sheets

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, and salt. Add vegetable oil and mix well. Add the buttermilk and continue to mix until well combined.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead dough for 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Flatten each piece and run it through a pasta sheeter starting at #7 and working your way down to #2. 

Alternatively, you can roll it out with a rolling pin on a floured counter top. If you’re going to use the caraway seeds, sprinkle them on one side of the flatbread and gently push them in with your hand.

Place the sheets on a cookie sheet dusted with a small amount of semolina flour. Bake for 10 minutes or until the flatbread is lightly browned and crisp.

                                    Pane Carasau – Sicilian Flatbread

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups semolina flour, fine grind

1teaspoon baking powder

1teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ cups warm water

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of mixer and mix until it comes together and becomes elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl and kneed it a few times. Set it on the counter and cover it with a damp cloth, letting it rest for 20 minutes.

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and place a baking stone on the rack. Preheat the oven to 475°F for at least one hour. After the dough has rested divide the dough into 7 pieces and roll them under the palm of your hand until the becomes smooth balls of dough.

Sprinkle the counter lightly with flour and then dip one of the balls of dough into the flour and shake off the excess. Using the palm of your hand flatten the dough out and then start rolling it out.

Turn it 180 degrees between each roll so it becomes a long oval. Roll it as thin as you can. Gently lift the dough and place it onto the stone and bake it for 5 minutes flipping it after 2 1/2 minutes.

While it is baking roll out the next flatbread. Remove from the oven and continue baking the remaining six flatbreads.

                                    Tonis Puri – Georgian Flatbread

1 tsp. active dry yeast

2 ½ cups lukewarm water

1 cup whole-wheat flour

6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more or less as needed

1 Tbs. coarse salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the whole-wheat flour and about 2 cups of the all-purpose flour.

Stir in the same direction until smooth and then stir another 1 min. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set in a cool place for 2 hours.

Attach the bowl to the stand mixer and fit the mixer with the dough hook. Turn the mixer on low. Stir in the salt. Gradually add 3 to 4 cups of flour, mixing the dough until it pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball.

Increase the mixer speed to #3 and allow the dough to knead for 10 minutes.

Put the dough in a greased bowl, flipping once to cover the top of the dough with oil.

Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for six hours. About 1 hour before you want to bake the breads, set an oven rack to middle of the oven and put a large baking stone on the rack.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut it into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover them, and let rest for 5 to 10 min.

Cut one ball in half (leave the other balls covered) and turn the cut surfaces down. Flatten each half with your lightly floured palm to a 6x4-inch oval.

Cover loosely. Halve and flatten the remaining pieces the same way. Let the ovals rest, covered, for 10 min. so they're easier to shape.

Traditionally, the breads would then be shaped into a ‘canoe’ by grabbing two ends of the oval and pulling them until the brad is about 12 inches long.

Place on a peel sprinkled with semolina flour.

Dent the surface with your fingers and slide into the oven. Bake for about 7 minutes or until the tops of the bread are golden brown. .

                                                Garlic Chili Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

1 inch cube fresh ginger, grated

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large onion, cut into ¼ inch dice

2 fresh green chilies, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons garam masala

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

16 oz. crushed tomatoes

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt to taste

In a sauce pan set over medium, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the onions and cook until they are starting to brown on the edges.

Add the garlic, ginger and green chili and cook for two minutes. Add all the dried spices and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce the heat so the chutney simmers for 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, season with salt and serve warm.

Alternatively, you can store the chutney in the refrigerator for up to one week and serve cold.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.