Getting a flatbread recipe to work right, taste great, keep well and a dough that’s foolproof, has been on my list for a long time. Who knows the search would take that long? I’m a bread baker, mostly the sourdough varieties, and haven’t bought bread for years. It’s been my kitchen routine to keep the starter active and the bread oven humming. During the summer months, I want a simpler approach. Keep some flatbreads on hand — to use with dips, as wraps, or a base for pizzas for an easy meal or to make crackers for snacks. A quick bread that can be whipped up on short notice and doesn’t require a 500°F oven.
I’ve looked through all my bread books, revisited some naan and pita bread recipes and experimented with recipes from current and former IHCC’s featured chefs. I came up empty handed. Yes, there are plenty of recipes out there. But they don’t quite meet my expectation and objectives. Then, bingo, I came across this Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe in the Guardian. Now I can take flatbreads off the list.
I won’t change anything in this recipe; it works well the way it is. It is a stiff dough, using a combination of all-purpose and bread flour. The unexpected ingredient is the yogurt which softens the dough and lightens the bread. I adjusted the hydration, added more water; the dough felt dry. The dough may look dry but it’s easy to roll and shape. It took 90 minutes to rise at room temperature. Meanwhile that gives you time to prepare the vegetables.
This recipe takes up an afternoon to do. But it’s worthy considering that the individual steps are integral building blocks for many dishes. Blending the mint yogurt sauce as a spread. Fermenting the dough and shaping it into flatbreads — an age-old method. Roasting the vegetables as key flavor elements to put on top of the bread.
The work flow is natural and sensible and intelligent. Ottolenghi carefully lays out the recipe (the steps and the cooking time) in an organized and efficient manner which I really appreciate. Taking out all the guesswork and potential frustration when things don’t work out as expected, especially with a recipe as involved and lengthy as this one. Very important.
If you don’t have time to make the flatbreads. Not a concern. Trader Joe’s sells lavash flatbreads in a squarish shape that can be used as pizzas or wraps. There are endless ways to use them. Try lavash with tomatoes and mozzarella and goat cheese. Think greens: lavash with kale and collard greens or lavash with greens, broccoli and mushrooms. What about a lavash pizza with smoked salmon?
I’m thrilled with this lavash bread recipe that opens up limitless possibilities for many casual summer meals.
Lavash Flatbreads with Mint Yogurt and VegetablesPrint Recipe
- For the Mint Yogurt:
- 350g plain natural yogurt
- ½ tsp dried mint
- 10g mint leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- For the Flatbread:
- 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
- 180ml warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 120g plain natural yogurt
- 250g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250g strong bread flour
- 100g ghee, for frying
- For the Vegetables:
- 3 medium russet potatoes cut into 3/4 inch-wide wedges
- 60ml olive oil
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 red onions, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch-wide wedges
- 3 plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 zucchini, cut in half length-wide, then cut into 3/8 inch-wide slices
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
For the mint yogurt, tip the yogurt into a sieve lined with two cheese cloths, leave for an hour, then squeeze out as much liquid as you can, leaving about 200g strained yogurt. Put both mints in a spice grinder with the oil, lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, blitz smooth, then stir into the yogurt and refrigerate.
Heat the oven to 230°C/450°F.
Make the dough: Whisk the yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes, until it starts to froth, then tip into an electric mixer with a dough hook. Add the yogurt, flours and a teaspoon of salt, and knead slowly for two minutes, to combine; the dough will be quite dry. Turn up the speed to medium-high and knead for five minutes, until the dough is smooth yet firm. Roll dough into a log, like a sausage, and cut into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, put on a large tray, cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside to double in size (about 90 minutes).
Meanwhile, make the vegetables. Mix the potato wedges with two tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt, the paprika, cumin and chilli flakes. Spread on a large lined sheet pan, and roast for five minutes. Push the potatoes to one half of the sheet pan, and put the onion wedges in one of two empty corners. Drizzle with a tablespoon of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and roast for 10 minutes. Mix the tomato wedges, zucchini and garlic, put them in the other empty corner, drizzle with a tablespoon of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and roast for 15 minutes, until everything is cooked and golden-brown.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the lavash. Roll each ball, one at a time, on a lightly floured surface into an 18-20 cm or 7-8 inch circle about 1-2 mm or 1/2 inch thick. Melt a tablespoon of ghee in a nonstick frying pan on a medium-high heat, and fry the bread for three to four minutes, turning halfway, until golden-brown on both sides. Set aside, cover with a clean tea towel, and repeat with the remaining dough and ghee.
Spread the warm flatbreads with the mint yogurt and top with the warm vegetables. Draw in the sides and bottom of the bread, to make a loose pocket, and serve.
Adapted from Ottolenghi's recipe in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/27/flatbread-recipes-lavash-msamen-crispbread-yotam-ottolenghi