A Southern Grace: the staff of life

April 5, 2013

the staff of life

Yum


Every culture has a form of bread to its credit--tortillas, naan, pitas, frybread, injera, lavash, and on and on it goes. In truth, I haven't encountered a single one that I wouldn't eat again.


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!


Persian Flatbread
Ingredients:

  • 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
Directions:
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.

29 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Mouthwatering! I am a big fan of flatbreads.

Cheers,

Rosa

Foodycat said...

Bread is a Good Thing. This looks wonderful.

Lynda said...

The avocado alone made me drool, but then that lovely flat bread came into view- looks so good... you are right,bread is the staff of life.

Beth said...

I'll eat bread from any nation too! This version looks terrific.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm in such a bread mood, I'm gearing up to make some focaccia, and this is just fueling the fire!

My Kitchen Stories. said...

You can do so much with flatbreads and they can be all kinds of flavours. Thanks for the recipe

Jane said...

I couldn't agree with you more about loving all sorts of breads. This flatbread looks completely delicious. I think I can smell it through my screen! :)

Carolyn Jung said...

Middle Eastern breads are amazing. They get that fabulous char and go so well with olive oil or spreads. I am in carb heaven with them.

Joanne said...

I got that OXO omelet flipper in the mail recently also and it is a GODSEND.

So is bread. OF all kinds. Love this!

Barbara said...

I love this, Grace. In fact, I've rarely met a bread or flatbread I didn't love. So many toppings to try....

Betty said...

I heart breads of all kinds. This flatbread looks wonderful, especially with that cheese and guacamole on top. :)

Erica said...

I loveeee flat bread and always have some in the house! My kids love making pizza with flat bread!I have to be brave and make it at home! your sounds easy and delicious, Grace!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Cheese and guacamole flatbread (or whatever bread) sounds pretty awesome to me!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I definitely wouldn't chuck this out of bed (well if you know what I mean! :P).

Angie Schneider said...

I adore flatbread. The avocado topping looks irresistible!

Becki said...

Oooh, this sounds great. The paste is really interesting - so much that I would be inclned to make this just to see how that tastes on the flatbread. This is a great versatile recipe. Love me some middle-eastern dishes and this would be great to soak up some yummy spicy sauces. Have to say though, the avocado spread on top caught my attention.

Caroline - All That I'm Eating said...

I love the idea of this bread, great recipe.

Lisa-Marie said...

Oh! I've taught myself to make pittas and tortillas recently - these are next on the list!

Daniela Grimburg said...

This is a perfect fusion food!
Love the combination of flavors and textures.

Pam said...

How funny. The first thing I thought when I saw the picture was, I bet it would be amazing with an over easy egg on top. The flatbread sounds like it's fairly easy to make. YEAH!

Amy said...

These Persian Flatbreads looks delicious. It's hard to pick just one favorite, when it comes to bread, I think. But for sure, your Persian Flatbread wins my heart.

Marjie said...

I'm not that big on green stuff atop my breads, but I do love good breads. But I really need to look into that omelet flipper, because I'm really bad at flipping eggs.

Katerina said...

What you said is true! All cultures have some type of bread in their kitchen either fluffy or like a pita as in this case. You made a beautiful flatbread and it can be the bed for all sorts of toppings!

Blond Duck said...

I love guacamole on everything!

Juliana said...

Flat or not I love all kind of bread...like the guacamole on it :)
Have a great week Grace!

foodhoe said...

I love flatbreads, and guacamole! I've never heard of guacamole pizza, but it looks fabulous!

kellypea said...

Bread by any name has my number. And my hips immediately after. I made a bunch of dough and vowed to eat our way through flatbread this week. We're on night #2 so thanks for this. I've been looking for ideas!

More Cowbell said...

I've just been wanting to make some flatbreads! When I was growing up in San Francisco, the House of Bagels had these ones they simply called "flats" which were topped like onion bagels. Love!

Now I make pita, but something more like the flats is what I'm after, and something I could maybe use for a pizza base, too. This looks like a great recipe for me. Thank you for sharing.

One question: the paste sounds like what they put on Dutch Crunch bread/rolls before baking to get that cracked topping, does this bake up that way?

grace said...

@More Cowbell: first, love the name. :) second, i've never made dutch crunch bread, but this paste sort of seeps into the bread. there's no crackled topping at the end.