Spring weather arrived, all of a sudden this week. So, what better way to celebrate than evenings parked around a campfire? You do need a bit of time to rustle these up and let them proof, but once the prep is done you’re over halfway there. They went down a treat- and were very forgiving of the haphazard cooking arrangement. There’s nothing more hunter-gatherer than cooking on an open fire, right?
All this smoke-infused goodness you get from a fire, I realise, is a certain privilege of living in the sticks. When your neighbour doesn’t call the fire brigade because you’ve got flames jumping and smoke billowing in your backyard- primarily due to the fact they live so far away! So, alternatively [and perhaps more sensibly] a BBQ will do just as nicely- and a heavy bottomed skillet/frypan will do just as well too. But maybe eat them outside, once they’re cooked? I swear it’s the best way to enjoy them.
I acquired a sourdough starter over a year ago [and have never looked back], this forms the basis of these breads- but you can absolutely whip these up minus the sourdough [just look for the brackets in bold below].
F L A T B R E A D S :
- 3/4 cup sourdough
- 1 tsp dried active yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup warm milk
[Without sourdough: instead use 2 tsp active dried yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup warm milk]
- 1 egg [lightly beaten]
- 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened yoghurt
- 3 cups flour [you may need to add more as you go, so don’t put it away yet!]
- 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- about a cupful caramelised onions [or if you don’t have them, a few hearty spoonfuls of chutney]
- 25g butter
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6-8 leaves silverbeet/spinach/kale/some kind of leafy green
- Oil for cooking
- Freshly ground salt/ground cumin to sprinkle on breads, the final touch
- A stash of baking paper
Dissolve dried active yeast in water and milk- leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes, until fluffy.
Stir flour, salt and cumin together in mixer with dough hook [of course, you can do this with elbow juice- you will have the best looking biceps around!] Add sourdough, yeast in water/milk, egg and yoghurt and beat/knead until incorporated. Once you get a smooth dough that pulls away from sides, cover and place in an oiled bowl. [I put it back into the cake mixer bowl- you’ll need to do more mixing later.] It should be a solid but soft dough- if it is too sticky, add more flour in gradually until you think it looks right. Leave to rest somewhere warm, until puffy and about doubled in size. [I walked away and forgot about it for a couple of hours, easy peasy].
[You’ve got a couple of hours to do this bit while the dough is rising- so just fit it in when you get a second]. Melt butter in saucepan, add garlic until lightly aromatic. I chopped the stalks off the silverbeet, rolled the leaves up together and with scissors, roughly chopped them straight into the pan. Heat through until wilted.
Once your dough has risen- add silverbeet mix [including any juicy bits] and caramelised onions [or chutney] to dough and mix through. It will turn slightly sloppy here, so once it’s all incorporated, add another 1/2 cup [or so] of flour until soft- but not so sticky that you can’t work with it. On a floured bench, divide dough mix into 12. Roll these into balls and leave to sit for about 30 minutes. Roll them out, sprinkle with flour as required to stop them sticking.
If you’re rolling and not cooking straight away, I found it easier to manage these breads with baking paper layered in between. So rip off a bunch of baking paper squares to get you started. As you finish each bread, place on paper and add a new sheet to the pile before adding the next. These breads can be frozen like this [so long as you give them enough time to defrost and sort of puff up again before cooking]. Heat a slosh of oil in your frypan/BBQ to medium heat, you’ll need to do the same before cooking each one. Place bread in frypan [if you can’t get the baking paper off, don’t worry- you’ll be able to peel it off as bread cooks]. Once edges are golden and bread puffy, flip over onto other side. Douse breads with salt/cumin mix- aaaaand they’re ready to eat!
We wrapped ours around some crumbed schnitzel and a 5 second throw-together salad. But serve with any salad or slaw, chargrilled meat/sausages [if meat happens to takes your fancy] and some cumin and lemon mayo. Yum!