This recipe is a keeper: I’ve already made these flatbreads four times in the last two weeks and I’m sure I’ll be making more of them this week. Thanks to the third (and final) cookbook I received for Christmas, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, I’ve discovered a new favorite in our household. Ottolenghi pairs the flatbreads with barley and mushroom ragout, but I’ve been serving them in lieu of roti with our dal (lentils) and saag (mustard greens). There’s no questions that it takes plenty of practice to master roti, but these flatbreads can be mastered by even the novice cook on the first or second try.
The main difference between these flatbreads and roti is that the flatbreads incorporate yogurt (instead of water) and baking powder (as oppose to no leavening agent). I’m no kitchen scientist, but I believe the yogurt gives the dough a soft texture that is easier to roll out than the roti dough I was making. The baking powder kick-starts the rising process of the dough, so breads do not rely solely on steam to make them rise.
These versatile flatbreads adapt well to many cuisines. Serve them alongside a spicy Pakistani or Indian curry; filled with roasted lamb, tzatziki and Greek-style salad; or topped with jack cheese, black beans and salsa.
Makes: 4 flatbreads
Time: 30 minutes active; 90 minutes total
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup yogurt
2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil (to cook the flatbreads)
Make the Whole Wheat Yogurt Flatbreads
Stir together the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the yogurt into the well. Stir the yogurt into the flour until it is fully incorporated. You may need to use your hands. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky; add more yogurt if the dough is dry. Knead the dough on a clean surface for one minute and refrigerate for one hour.
Heat one to two teaspoons of ghee, butter or oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Dust your hands, rolling pin and a work surface with flour. Divide the dough into four equal portions, rolling each portion into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into flat round about 1/8th inch thick, using a conservative amount of flour as necessary. When the pan is hot, place a dough round on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until the flatbread is browned and has no raw spots. Remove flatbread to a covered container or cloth to keep warm and continue cooking remaining flatbreads, adding more ghee, butter or oil to the pan as necessary.
The flatbreads are best the day they are made, but will reheat moderately well for three days.