Mise en Place for Flatbread Seminar/Workshop #6

This week I am introducing flatbreads through an introduction to the history of bread. This is just an introduction to flatbreads. I am planning further sessions just on flatbreads led by people who are more expert than I am. It looks like we will be able to organize a session on flatbreads from the Indian subcontinent organized by colleagues in India, and a session flatbreads from Turkey and Iran organized from Turkey.

On Thursday, 9 am Pacific Time, November 11, 2020, we will be working with unleavened flatbreads. In terms of flour, you can use any kind of flour you have on hand, though I think most of us will be working with wheat flour. It can be white, whole grain, or anything in between. The type of flatbreads we will be making do not usually have salt. And being unleavened, no yeast or starter.

Flour: 500g any type and any level of refinement. Wheat is easiest to work with. Barley is also a flour that flatbreads, or think dense loaves, were often made with.

Water: Room temperature water

Bakers math

100% flour

65% water

Ingredients by weight

500g flour

325g water

Also, please have lots of extra flour to flour work surfaces, and some water in reserve in case you need more. After mixing and a light kneading in the workshop, we will assign cooking methods based on what various people in the group have. Hopefully, this will not devolve into total chaos!

Please gather rolling pins. For the Saj, the bread baked on the convex side of a pan, like a wok, a dowel around 1.5cm in diameter is best. This is also ideal for the Turkish Yufka.
The bottom of a wok, ideally one that is uniformly curved is best — but gather what you have. If you don’t have a wok then don’t worry, we have plenty of breads to work on.
Pillow for Saj breads. You need a pillow that you can use to stretch dough that is baked on the sasj. The pillow is also used to transfer the dough to the hot surface. Patterns are helpful to have on the fabric so you tell when your dough is translucent. Sounds hard to do. Is actually very easy.
Any kind of a frying pan. The thicker the metal the better.
I acquired this terra cotta griddle in Northern India. It is intended for the first step in baking chapati, which is setting the dough on a griddle before then placing on embers or over the gas burner in an urban kitchen.
A gas burner for completing the cooking of unleavened pita and chapati. This is where the dough, once set on a griddle, will puff up into a ball. A barbecue with a bed of hardwood charcoal or the embers in your fireplace is even more ideal. This is the urban work-around for live embers.


Use an oven for the thicker barley breads.
You can make all griddle breads, like chapati and pita on an induction burner. You may have trouble getting the breads to puff up into a ball.

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