Flatbreads aplenty…

Before wild yeast was discovered in Egypt, thousands of years ago (which lead to the first ever risen breads) all bread was flat. When I first heard this fact I thought it was so cool – the first risen breads were basically sourdough loaves, using wild yeast as the rising agent; just imagine the first time someone ever saw their bread dough rise?! 

Anyway, back to the flatbreads…basically, all you need to make flatbread is flour and water, and heat or fire of some sort. Joining blogworld has taught me just how simply flatbreads can be made, which is why they are now a staple in my cooking armoury. Blogworld has also introduced me to all the wonderful ways that flatbreads can be pimped! Luckily my son is a huge bread lover and is happy to eat my creations as I play around with different versions πŸ™‚ 

And as so many flatbreads go through up my kitchen I thought I’d share some of my recent creations today…

Every time I feed my sourdough starter to make a loaf of sourdough bread for my boy, I use whatever bubbly starter is leftover by throwing it in with whatever flour takes my fancy (the bread above is 100% spelt flour), add a bit of salt, a splash of water, and bring together a dough. I tend to determine how the dough feels by hand, adding extra water if necessary to make a firm, but not sloppy, dough. I bring this together then leave it to initialise for an hour, before folding and turning the dough to create a lovely soft smooth dough, then put it in the fridge until I decide to use it. This can be overnight or for several days. When I’m ready to use it, I bring it from the fridge to come to room temperature and prove for a few more hours.

To cook, I take handfuls of the dough, form them into some kind of round shape (I’ve never managed perfect rounds, let’s call them rustic!) and place them on a floured surface to rest. 
I heat a pan over a medium heat, and place the flatbreads in the pan, no oil required. After a few minutes, and when the bottom of the breads look cooked I turn it over. Sometimes they bubble up, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I spray them with olive oil, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes they’re a bit thicker, as above, sometimes they’re thinner, like the ones below. 

And then if Ben doesn’t eat them all, I sometimes pile different toppings onto the odd one for myself. The bread above is topped with leftover shakshuka sauce, Turkish cheese and grated cheddar. The bread below is spread with my coriander stalk and toasted seeds pesto and topped with feta, avocado and sriracha. 

The flatbreads on this plate, and below, were truly experimental; I was playing with some fava bean (dried broad bean) flour that I’ve had for a while and this was the outcome. Basically, these are gluten free breads, packed full of the goodness from the beans. 

The dough for these was the fava bean flour and plain yoghurt only; the fava bean flour is quite dry, so I needed to feel my way as I added the yoghurt. I pan cooked them as above, this time with some additional spray olive oil. 

The breads were lovely and soft when first cooked, and they became quite hard the next day, but after a stint in the toaster, they were lovely and soft again, and even tastier than the first day. 


These were spelt flour and sourdough starter again. The addition of olive oil in the dough softened the finished breads. 

And these beauties could be called naan breads I guess; these are made with atta (whole wheat/chapati) flour, sourdough starter, olive oil, yoghurt and water. It was the first time I’ve used atta flour with sourdough starter and it worked really well, again these were created with a dough thrown together by feel and following the same loose method as above. These were again lovely when first made, heated in the toaster the next day, and I also froze some, and they defrosted well. 

Flatbreads don’t necessarily need yeast, they can all be made without it; or with a sprinkle of fresh yeast or dried yeast in place of the sourdough starter if you fancy. I just happen to have been experimenting with sourdough starter recently, and it adds a lovely flavour. You could also easily add herbs, spices, garlic, cheese, seeds…whatever you fancy to the dough, it’s all up to you! 

I hope you like my ideas, and that everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday agrees πŸ™‚ 

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65 thoughts on “Flatbreads aplenty…

  1. sallybr

    I don’t like to play favorites, but this post could be IT. Ok, I will wait a little and see if I can change my mind in the next post… quite likely πŸ˜‰

    seriously, loved this one! You are not only creative with veggies, you are amazing with breads too – no fear of experimenting at all, and look at the pay off!

    Since we don’t have Ben around, I need to be a lot more careful with bread baking – I tend to do it maybe once a month to keep the intake to a level we can manage, because I do lose control around bread. It is my favorite foodstuff by far…. So, I treat it as something special, otherwise…. πŸ˜‰

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    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      I know what you mean, I wouldn’t be making so much if Ben wasn’t around either!! I probably partake maybe once a fortnight on average, that’s enough for me, and I just enjoy the process of making bread, I can take it or leave it when it comes to eating it nowadays πŸ™‚
      Thank you for your lovely words xxxx

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    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Thank you πŸ˜€ gosh, tips? I think once you’ve made enough bread by hand, and read enough recipes, you can start to see what the mix of ingredients and amounts tends to be; I guess I would say just play with it! Fresh yeast is great for getting to grips with making bread, it doesn’t require any special care, and it always works πŸ™‚

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  2. Laura @ Feast Wisely

    Elaine my husband has mastered home made sauerkraut and yoghurt and now I’m trying to use your skill to inspire him to make bread – we order sourdough rye from a local boutique bakery but I can so imagine how much more satisfying it is to make your own!

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  3. TraceyDelaplainMD.com

    Do you think I could make flat bread with chickpea flour and yogurt? I found recipes using water but I didn’t see them with yogurt. I certainly could try it but you are the flat bread guru so I thought I would get your opinion.
    Tracey

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    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      The fava bean flour is quite similar in texture to besan (chickpea flour) so I would imagine it would act the same way. I definitely think you’d have to feel your way with it, and the dough may benefit from additional flavour…? Worth a try though πŸ˜‰

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      Reply
    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Thank you πŸ™‚
      I always remember Selmas words and try to make sure that I don’t end up with too much starter leftover for storing in between uses, hence why I’ve been using any additional bubbly starter in different ways x

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  4. polianthus

    Ha I am baking flatbreads today, it is lovely Elaine, now when I read your blog I can hear your voice reading it to me, with your very unique inflection πŸ™‚ Isn’t that nice? I love it.
    Love the flatbreads, oh and I love your bowls too, they are very very pretty. I remember you mentioned you have a crockery contact who makes them for you? Lovely Happy Saturday Poli

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      1. polianthus

        yes it is! didn’t make any yet, have been encouraged not to increase entropy in the house. Filing cabinet delivered yesterday and that is in the middle of the room needs sorting, so didnt want to push it .) – plus we were out all day yesterday d0ing stuff. Sometime this week when all is calm …

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  5. chefjulianna

    Very inspiring, Elaine! You make it sound so easy! I am not much of a bread maker myself, but you are inspiring me because I love the versatility of what you are showing us today!! Yum! πŸ™‚

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  6. suzjones

    Way cool Elaine. I’ve just purchased a sourdough starter kit and plan to begin today. Rather than using white flour, I purchased some organic spelt so it’s going to be a huge experiment for me. I’m also off to make some kefir chia puddings for breakfast this week (also an experiment). πŸ™‚

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  7. Mastering Persian Cooking

    Oh yummy my absolute favorite…fresh hot bread! I like your gluten free fava bean flat bread. I’m thinking to try it with garbanzo bean flour. If it worked with fava bean flour it should work with garbanzo I would think. Great post as always :). BTW your posts are not appearing in my WordPress reader for some reason. I just thought you stopped posting for a while.

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  8. tentimestea

    I love how making flatbreads is part of your sourdough care routine Elaine! The flexibility and creativity with which you make the flatbreads not only makes it sound so effortless and versatile… but also betrays your depth of bread-experience!
    I’ve been trying to take better care of my starter lately (read: feed it once a week instead of once a month…), so I’ve been drowning in pancakes and waffles to make use of it. Next time I’ll try flatbread!

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    Reply
    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment πŸ™‚
      I remember being nervous the first time I made flatbreads..it was only a couple of years ago, and now it’s become second nature!!
      I hope you enjoy the flatbreads xx

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