I posted a photo to my Instagram of a pile of thick, soft flatbread. It was just after New Years and our local Lebanese bakery was closed. I decided to make some instead and they were perfect. I asked if people wanted the recipe and it was a resounding yes.
These ones are quite thick and and can actually be split open, to make pockets. I stuffed ours with lamb kofta and plenty of cucumber, tomato, coriander, red onion and drizzled with a herby tahini yoghurt. Ideal for warm summer nights. They are just as wonderful torn at the table and dipped into curries or stews.
The making of the flatbread is incredibly simple, especially if you have a stand mixer. All you need is a little time to allow it to prove. I get a lot of questions about the type of yeast I use. This is it here . Honestly it’s the best yeast I’ve ever used and can be mixed straight into the dry ingredients – no dissolving and waiting for it to foam. It never fails and I just keep the bag in the freezer and it stays incredibly fresh.
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting (Bread flour, ‘0’ and ‘00’ flours all work great for this too)
5g sea salt
6g dry active yeast
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
280-300ml warm water
In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, place the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the water. Start with 280ml then increase the mixer to medium, adding in the remaining water if there are still dry parts. Increase the mixer to high and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be soft and just a little sticky. For these reason, I recommend making the dough in the stand mixer. If you make it by hand, which is of course really fine too and what I would normally recommend, you may need to add a little extra flour resulting in slightly less soft flatbread.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough. Cover and allow to prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Lightly flour a bench and tip the dough out using a pastry scraper or your hands. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Now shape each piece into a smooth round ball. I do this by slightly flattening each piece then folding the edges into the centre. Turn the piece over so that the seam is now at the bottom and using the edges of your hands, turn the ball clockwise on the board to create a smooth, tight surface. Don’t add too much flour as the friction of the dough and the board is what will give some resistance and create the smooth ball. Cover and allow to prove for a further 45 minutes.
Roll out each ball into a 10cm circle, around 8mm in thickness.
Heat a large pan over a high heat and cook the flat bread for around 2 minutes or until cooked, turning once. They should puff up as soon as they touch the pan and have golden spots on the surface.
Wrap the hot flatbread immediately in a tea towel to steam and remain soft and pliable.