A flat and round rolled out yeast dough in the oven suddenly starts to breathe…?
How can that be?! Why does this flat bread in the oven separate right in the middle? Why does it inflate and become a mini-balloon?!
“Crazy world!” I used to think as a kid – and my mother used to laugh at my amazement.
The magic dough
“This is magic dough!” she whispered into my ear. “As soon as I point my magic cooking spoon (in fact, she used a fork – I noticed it years later…) at it, I blow air into it and the bread becomes whoooosh a balloon!” she said and took the next flatbread out of the oven. “You see?”.
Now, decades later, I bake this bread myself and still don’t know how it happens that the bread blows up like a balloon. Even the omniscient oracle “Google” could not give me a specific and credible answer yet. If you know it: please please please share your secret with me!
Well, let’s take it for now… The flatbread is delicious in any case!
At that time there was no flat bread in our neighborhood. So she had no choice but to bake it herself. My mother used to bake a few kilos of dough into flat bread. But it did not survive very long, considering that you could make so many delicious wraps with it. We simply wrapped everything in flat bread. One of my favourite wraps was with homemade fries and ketchup ^^
But also dipped in delicious olive oil and Za’atar – or with labneh and cucumber or Hummus… I could go on like this forever. But now it’s your turn! Bake your own flat bread and watch the magic happen in the oven.
Just a hint
I’m sure you’re familiar with the Levantine flatbread, which you can buy ready-made. This bread here is a little bit different than the flat bread you bought. It differs in its elasticity. The bread you buy can be wrapped very well to a wrap, while the self-baked bread is not always so perfect to roll. This is due to the type of oven used. Actually, the bread has to be baked very briefly at a very high temperature. This of course does not work in the same way in your own oven. Therefore, I advise you to use a pizza stone – or you can build your “own appliance”, like my mother.
My mother is very inventive when it comes to achieving desired results. For example, she used to put a grid on the stove, turn the hotplate all the way up and give the flat bread directly on this grid a good deal of heat from below before the flat bread went into the oven again for a short time. That is a lot of work, but it always paid off.
Recipe for levantine flatbread
- Pizza stone
- Food processor
- 500 g Flour
- 7 g Dry yeast
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 250 ml Water
- 70 ml Olive oil
- Mix water with sugar and yeast and leave to stand covered for about 5 minutes.
- Sift flour into a bowl and mix with salt.
- Add the yeast/water mixture to the flour and knead well together.
- Add olive oil and then knead for about 20 minutes.
- Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 90 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and divide it into 6 equal parts, form balls and leave to rise covered for another 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 250 °C top and bottom heat.
- Roll out round flat patties from the balls.
Preparation with pizza stone
- Put the pizza stone on the lowest rail and let it heat up in the oven for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake the flat dough for about 3 minutes on the hot pizza stone.
Preparation without pizza stone
- Bake the flat cakes on a baking tray for about 5 – 6 minutes.