Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Jeffrey Hamelman: Tunisian savory flatbread with 100% high-extraction flour (Grain Gathering 2015)

In Jeff's own words, "this is a good basic flatbread formula. It is easy to make and quite versatile, supporting a great variety of fillings.
The 85%-extraction flour gives it more color and flavor than white flour. If you don't have access to high-extraction flour, you can either mix some whole-wheat flour with your white flour or sift whole-wheat flour to remove some of the bran and use that.
Method:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together to a smooth, well-kneaded ball
  2. Place the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic and leave to rest at room temperature for at least 8 hours
  3. Divide dough into 60 gram balls
  4. Flatten with your palms, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a flat thin disc
  5. Lightly water the rim, and place any desired filling onto the lower half. Fold the top half over to seal
  6. Bake in a very hot oven (at least 600°F) until the bottom shows brown spots (1 or 2 minutes)
  7. Flip and bake for about 1 more minute
  8. Cover with cloth to keep pliable. Slide the cloth into a plastic bag
  9. The flatbreads can be baked ahead of time for later reheating
  10. To reheat: cover in aluminum foil and bake for about 5 minutes
Tips:
  • You don't have to round those quite as tight as the Lebanese flatbread. Light-rounding (just a few seconds) works fine.
  • When the dough has relaxed, turn it into a nice little disc in your hands then use a rolling pin to make it a 6-inch circle (start with circle and stretch it to an oval, then turn in 90° and stretch into an oval again)
  • Brush or spray bottom half of the disc lightly with water (more isn't better!)
  • Fill and make sure you get a good seal. Make sure it is dry.
  • If baking in a home oven, bake at 500° F and flip the flatbreads.
The possibilities for fillings are practically unlimited. Below are the two Jeff demoed during the workshop.

Spicy Tomato Filling
Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Dried red pepper, hot (to taste)
  • 1 28-oz can of plum tomatoes
  • Parsley, chopped (to taste)
Method:
  1. Heat the olive oil
  2. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and jalapeño pepper
  3. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes
  4. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel, salt and red pepper, and mix it all together
  5. Add the plum tomatoes and cook until it thickens somewhat, stirring often
  6. Add the chopped parsley. Check for seasoning
  7. Cool the topping (it can be made up to 3 days ahead)
  8. Spread lightly on the bottom half of a disc of flatbread. Fold the top over and bake as per the instructions above
Note: Baked flatbreads can be kept in foil and reheated. Any leftover filling can be used in casseroles, eaten with pasta, etc.

Feta Filling
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 8 oz. feta cheese
  • Cilantro leaves, to taste

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