Skip to content

A bread for all seasons


I post about bread fairly often. It’s not that I eat a vast amount of bread. I probably eat less bread than most people. But I almost never buy bread, so, unless I bake it myself, there’s no bread in the house.

Hot weather is a challenge. I hate heating up the oven when it’s 90 degrees or more outside. The oven pours heat into the house that the air conditioning system then has to get rid of. So, it’s flatbreads to the rescue. Flatbreads can be baked, quickly, in a skillet. So the overall energy use, and therefore heat production, is lower. If you have an outdoor grill with a griddle, then flatbreads could be made outdoors in the shade. Flatbreads also would make good campsite bread.

Lots of cultures have flatbreads. Rather than calling them by a foreign name, why not just assimilate flatbreads into American culture and call them flatbreads. What defines a flatbread is that it’s not leavened. If it’s made from wheat (as opposed to corn), it will blow up like a balloon in the pan, forming two layers, each half of the starting thickness. I call this process “popping.” To be really good, flatbreads must pop. It will deflate, of course, after you remove it from the heat. But that’s OK, because the bread has split into two layers with a pocket inside.

To get your flatbreads to pop, you need a reasonably soft dough. The skillet must be hot. And you must roll the dough to the right thickness. If it’s too thick or too thin, it won’t pop.

All whole wheat flour makes a tough flatbread that, though good, won’t pop very well. Half whole wheat and half unbleached flour works nicely. The skillet must be hot almost to the smoking stage. There’s no oil in the skillet, or in the dough, so high heat is less risky. As for how thick to roll the dough, experience is the best teacher. The dough is just flour, water, and a little salt.

Flatbreads love to be lightly buttered while they’re hot. They’re great with summer curries and summer stews like ratatouille. If you’re new to flatbreads, practice your flatbread skills now, and you’ll be ready by ratatouille season. Flatbreads are also great with summer favorites like tuna salad or hummus.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *