from one generation to the next
From the eastern Mediterranean, across central Asia to India, leavened flatbreads are a dietary staple. Those traditional flatbread have been adopted as an integral part of Australia’s multicultural cuisine too.
There’s no need for me to extoll the deliciousness of a spicy curry served with roti or chapati to mop up the juices, or garlicky charred lamb wrapped in a souvlaki pita , so the discovery of a recipe for Greek Flatbreads made with leftover sourdough starter in Emilie Raffa’s “Artisan Sourdough Made Simple” spurred me into action.
Slow fermentation transforms bread dough made with wheat flour into a delicious tummy friendly treat, but because Emilie’s original recipe only rests the dough for an hour before cooking I took the risk with my initial batch and bulk fermented the dough overnight. It was a great success and the quality suffered no ill effects.
Since that initial bake, I’ve refined and adjusted the original recipe in easy stages to suit my needs. I’ve halved the oil, eliminated the baking powder, and used bread flour instead of all purpose (plain) flour which means a greater volume of water is needed. Without hesitation, I proof the dough for a total of 20 hours before shaping and cooking.
The changed recipe makes flat breads that are light, flaky, tummy friendly and totally delicious. They are soft enough to use as a wrap when made with thinly rolled dough and delicate enough to serve with a curry or tagine. This is no longer a recipe to use up leftover activated sourdough starter but a great reason to wake the starter up.
Soft Sourdough Flatbreads
240g active sourdough starter
140g thick Greek yoghurt
60 mls olive oil
600 white bread flour
10g sea salt
30g castor sugar
200 mis filtered water
approx 60g melted butter
Weigh the active starter into a large non-reactive mixing bowl.
Add the yoghurt and oil and whisk the liquids until they are homogenous and smooth.
Add the flour, salt, sugar and most of the water to the bowl.
Mix into a shaggy dough adding the remaining water if necessary.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest fro 20 minutes.
Lightly flour the bench then tip the dough out of the bowl.
Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.
Clean out the bowl, lightly oil the inside then return the dough to the bowl.
Cover and rest the dough for 45 minutes.
Tip it onto the kitchen bench, no need to use flour this time, then stretch the dough out as thinly as possible.
Fold the dough back in on itself until you have a boule.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
Gently deflate the dough without removing it from the bowl, replace the cover then put the bowl in the fridge for 12-16 hours.
When your ready to cook the flatbreads, tip the dough onto the bench, shape into a square then divide it into 16.
Cover the squares of dough and allow it to relax for 10 minutes.
Heat a large pan over a medium heat.
Roll the dough out thinly then one at a time cook the flatbreads in the hot pan.
The top surface will blister and puff indicating it’s time to brush the surface with melted butter and flip the dough over to cook the second side. It needs only a few more minutes.
Remove the flatbread to a tea bowl covered cooling wire. Cover it with a second tea towel to steam.
Continue rolling and cooking the dough until finished.
Makes 16 large flatbreads which freeze beautifully.