Here is a versatile flat bread that is easy to make. It stays soft longer so you can take it along for picnics or in lunchbox or serve warm.
Home made bread is the best – whether it is leavened or unleavened. I had my fill of fresh made chapathi while growing up. Flat breads made with a variety of grains and millets are a norm in the Indian subcontinent. These bread served right out of the hot pan, puffed up with a pat of butter on top is simply delicious.
Chapathi/Roti is a miracle in its simplicity. It is made with just 2 (sometimes 3 if you add salt) ingredients. There is whole wheat flour and water. It is nutritious and is a great choice to scoop up the various curries. This lean bread is best served fresh as it soon loses its elasticity.
This flat bread here is a version that is soft and pliable and stays that way longer. It can be used
- to make your favorite wraps
- in place of pita bread
- to scoop up that favorite curry
Here are two other popular flat breads that are gluten free
This is my version that finds itself in the lunchboxes and picnic baskets or road trips from time to time. So what makes these special ? Dairy, a little fat and a combination of WW and unbleached flours.
Dairy is a secret weapon in many baker’s arsenal. A little diary makes bread, any bread , come a live in unexpected ways. This is the reason many of the enriched breads use dairy as the liquid. If you have milk allergies substitute non dairy milk or go with water while increasing the fat (oil/butter). To be fair dairy is not just fat, and the replacements will not be the same as the original.
What I use in this recipe is yogurt. Not much, just a few tablespoons. That is all that you need to get that elusive taste and added softness to the flatbread. I do not like knead this unleavened dough with milk, as often times it is mad e in bulk increasing the chance of spoilage. Yogurt also adds an extra tang to the dish.
Combination of flours
Rotis are often made with just whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour has more capacity to absorb moisture than all purpose flour (bleached or unbleached). But once cooked it tend to lose moisture much faster than whole wheat counterparts. Flat breads made with just all purpose flour becomes chewy as it cools, but these do stay pliable.
I guess that is enough explanation !!!
This is a great recipe for beginners and I would not recommend using a stand mixer for this – unless you are planning to feed a crowd. In fact there is very minimal kneading here. NO, no worries about how long to knead, or did activate the strands of gluten! Just knead enough so that you can shape it into a smooth ball without bits falling off.
Get out that rolling pin. The first time you roll out , you wont get a perfect circle – and it might take more than a few tries to get the hang of it. Use a large cookie cutter or a bowl to cut into perfect shapes if you must. I like to leave the chapathi/tortilla press in the cupboards – I don’t think I even have one in the house anymore. Take the time , slow down and feel the dough , feel the way it transforms and just enjoy the food !
All right I can hear you mutter – enough of that nonsense , where is the recipe ??
So here it is – the recipe for all purpose flat bread .
- 2 C Unbleached AP flour notes
- 1 C WW Flour Notes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Melted butter/ Ghee
- 3 Tbsp Yogurt Optional but recommended
- 1 C Water More/less as needed
- 1 Tbsp oil
- Flour For dusting
Make the dough by hand
- On a work surface or large bowl combine the flours, butter/ghee, salt together. Knead everything together adding the yogurt (if using) first followed by as much of the water as required. Knead for just until it is non sticky and feels lump free and smooth – 3 to 4 minutes. Form into a smooth ball.
- Cover the dough ball with a moist kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rest for half an hour. If planning to use later in the day (4 or more hours later ) store in a the fridge in an airtight container.
- Dust the work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Dust the balls in four and roll out into 1/8 “ thick circles.
- Heat a heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron if you have) until it is hot. Brush the pan lightly with oil as it heats up. Lower the heat to medium. Place the flat bread on the pan and brush the top lightly with oil and flip as soon as it turns opaque. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes as it bubbles up . Flip and cook for further 30 seconds to 1 minutes. There should be light golden spots on the top. Getly press down on the flat bread if it puffs up. This traps helps it to cook evenly and traps some moisture in the bread making it soft.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Stack the cooked bread and keep wrapped with a tea towel. This helps to retain the moisture and prevents the bread from drying out. (Notes)
- Use unbleached and non bromated flour, preferably organic.
- Use finely ground whole wheat flour similar to the Indian Atta or white whole wheat flour.
- This bread has just enough fat content and moisture in it to keep it soft as long as it is wrapped properly. If it is tool lean for your needs, brush the top with melted butter (or oil) as soon as it is takes off the heat.
Optional: Brush or spray bread with olive oil or melted butter, for a more luxurious finish. Or even with melted butter mixed with minced garlic for a garlic butter version!