Flatbread and Flatland

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Flatland is a fictional world in a satirical novella from 1884. In Flatland, there are two dimensions – which means that objects and people may be triangles, squares, and other polygons. To a Flatlander, another person is only visible as a line segment with very little to differentiate between the lowly isosceles triangle and a majestic many-sided polygon. The satire of the story is the context of Victorian-era social classes in which the book was written.

As the Canadians refer to Canadian bacon as back bacon, Italian ice is just ice, and Swiss Miss is just Ma’am, I suspect that in Flatland, flatbread is simply “bread.”

All of this bears very little connection to this week’s bread, except for the fact that I only recently learned of the book’s existence. Having just read it, it’s the only thing that came to mind when crafting a title about the new bread: flatbread.

I had intended to make pita bread, actually. I purchased a container of Supremely Spicy Hummus and decided to make my own pitas to scoop into the fiery dip. After getting a recipe tip from @amandavlhatter for homemade soft wrap bread, I decided that would be the recipe to try.

First, this wasn’t a pita recipe. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to get but these were definitely not pitas. They were more like soft flour tortillas, though a little more bread-like and spongy.

They were fantastic. I ate a couple without any topping at all, but they were also very good for scooping up the inferno that is that particular flavor of hummus. I also slathered one of them with some butter and garlic salt, which was a tasty way to spruce them up. I can see a lot of potential.

They reminded me of naan, an Indian flatbread I love for dipping into curry sauce, or a thick tortilla. Rolled very thin, they would be hard to distinguish from a soft flour tortilla.

Soft Wrap Bread

from King Arthur Flour, slightly modified from My Kitchen Cafe

*Makes about 8-9 breads

Ingredients

  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups (12 3/4 to 13 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) boiling water
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) potato flour OR 1/2 cup (5/8 ounces) potato buds or flakes (I used flakes from an unseasoned instant mashed potato mix)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast

Directions

Place 2 cups of the flour into a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the flour, and stir till smooth. Cover the bowl or bucket and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the potato flour (or flakes or buds) and 1 cup of the remaining flour with the salt, oil and yeast. Add this to the cooled flour/water mixture, stir, then mix/knead for several minutes to form a soft dough.

The dough should form a ball, but will remain somewhat sticky (the dough is fairly stiff, so don’t be worried – just be careful not to overflour the dough). Add additional flour only if necessary; if kneading by hand, keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled. Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces (each about the size of a handball, around 3 ounces), cover, and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Roll each piece into a 7- to 8-inch circle, and dry-fry them (fry without oil) on a griddle or frying pan over medium heat for about 1 minute per side (I cooked mine about 2-3 minutes per side and they didn’t dry out), until they’re puffed and flecked with brown spots. Adjust the heat if they seem to be cooking either too quickly, or too slowly; cooking too quickly means they may be raw in the center, while too slowly will dry them out. Transfer the cooked breads to a wire rack, stacking them to keep them soft. Serve immediately, or cool slightly before storing in a plastic bag.

One Response to “Flatbread and Flatland”

  1. […] my flatbread, I started with a recipe from Mel’s Kitchen […]