I got to know and love flat wheat bread in India. In North India people eat bread, in the South they eat rice. In Goa they eat both.
The average Indian does not have an oven, so the bread is prepared on the stove, in a pan, baked or deep fried, with a lot of smoke and smell. Tandoori Naan is an exception, but you need a tandoori oven for that which the average Indian family does not have.
The most simple flat bread is Chapati which I explain below. Paratha is more complicated – that can be a complete meal and I do not explain it here. Puri is made from Chapati dough, but deep fried which makes it expand like a balloon. And I will explain how I prepare flat bread, using the oven with grill function that I own.
In India you use a Chapati pan if you can, which is a concave non-stick pan. A normal non-stick pan works as well. In India you buy special Chapati flour. You do not get this in Germany so I use regular wheat flour..
I need a mixing bowl, a rolling pin or something to roll the dough like a wine bottle, and the pan.
- About 500g wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
Mix flour, water and salt and knead to a stiff dough. The dough should be stiff enough so that it can be rolled without adding flour. A normal kitchen mixer cannot handle this stiffness so you need to knead by hand.
Put the pan on the stove and heat until very hot. If less hot, the result will be hard.
One at a time, roll out a piece of dough, round and very thin. Bake from both sides until it throws bubbles and burns only in a few places.
My Flat Bread
As said before, I live in Germany, own an oven with grill function, and am lazy. I also own a rolling pin.
- about 500g wheat flour
- lukewarm water
- a pack of dried yeast powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- baking paper
Again knead the ingredients into a very stiff dough, cover, and let sit for at least an hour. Heat the grill to highest temperature. Take a piece of dough and roll very thin, cut to pieces about 3″ (8cm) square. Baking paper on baking sheet, dough peices on baking paper, place in stove, pretty high, near the grill. Roll the next piece.
When the pieces warp and show brown spots, turn them around. The underside will be very quick, so watch out they do not burn. The baking paper can also catch fire. Continue with the remaining dough.
You can experiment. Dried herbs like oregano are nice in the dough. linseed or sesame are nice too, but the bread will remain flat.
I eat this bread with lentils, but goulash is good as well. You use the bread instead of cutlery