While biscuits will probably always top my list, the number two spot changes quite often, and right now, it belongs to this Persian-style flatbread. I'm not exactly sure of its actual name. As far as I can tell, there are four main types of flatbread from that area--barbari, sangyak, lavash, and taftoon. Barbari is characterized by a long, oblong shape with grooves running down the center; sangak is baked on hot pebbles. Lavash is probably what most of us have seen before, and taftoon is just a thicker and smaller version of that. I'm calling this recipe most similar to barbari because of the paste that's added before baking (a technique I've never seen!), though the chances are very great that I don't know what in the world (or, in this case, Iran) I'm saying. If you know better, please enlighten me!
Even though I don't definitively know what this type of bread is called, I can still love it, and I do. It's chewy yet crispy, and the flavor is surprisingly enjoyable considering the basic and, dare I say it, bland ingredients. That paste and its teaspoon of sugar really do it for me.
The versatility of a flatbread is certainly worth mentioning. You can top it with anything at all. In this instance, I put together a quick one using cheese and guacamole. In hindsight, some over-easy eggs would be amazing on top of all that. (Shameless plug: OXO has come out with a Flip & Fold Omelet Turner that is without a doubt the best I've ever had. Yes, it turns over-easy eggs, too.) When I say that the possibilities are endless, it's not an exaggeration!
- 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons olive oil plus more for coating bowl
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
In bowl of a standing mixer, mix together 2 cups warm water with the yeast; let stand 5 minutes.
Add bread flour and salt.
Using dough hook (or kneading by hand), mix at medium speed until a loose dough forms.
Increase speed and mix until dough is smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth and let stand in draft-free area for 1 hour.
Punch down dough and separate into 2 even pieces; shape each into an oval. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir together the all-purpose flour, sugar, olive oil, and 1/2 cup water.
Cook over medium heat, whisking, until a paste has formed, about 2 minutes; set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Set a pizza stone on the lowest rack in oven, allowing it to heat in the oven.
Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll dough into rectangle/oval, about 14 x 5 inches.
Using your index or middle finger, press finger flat onto dough, forming 5 length-wise ridges.
Spread about half the flour paste onto top of each piece of dough.
Place onto pizza stone coated in cornmeal. Bake about 18 minutes, until golden brown.