Last week as I was preparing my harissa chicken salad supper, disaster struck. I had no flat breads to go with it. And yes, I know I said they were optional in my post on it, but if you’ve got a hungry husband to feed, optional they are not.
So instead of just moving on, giving said husband a bag of crisps as a starter and serving up the salad, I decided I would make some. “How hard can it be?” I asked myself. Well, not very hard at all it turns out.
Given that I only realised my failing upon starting to cook the actual meal, I didn’t have a lot of time for rising and proving. I know many of you are thinking “this woman is crazy, what is she up to? She lives in London, surely just pop down to the local shop and buy some bread??” Well, you have a point. But it was pouring with rain, I’d already put my slippers on, and, what can I say; I like a challenge!
So after perusing a lot of recipes for flat breads online, most of which call for the use of yeast and more importantly time, I hit upon this great recipe from Patrick Ryan, who until then I had never heard of (apologies, Patrick). The recipe did seem a little too good to be true…preparation time: less than 30 minutes; cooking time: less than 10 said BBC Food. But I decided to give it a go none-the-less.
And I’m so pleased I did. The result was super speedy flatbreads which tasted delicious and had a fantastic texture – much nicer than your average supermarket flatbread. They were even ready by the time the salad was on the table. So even if you have a bread-making phobia I urge you to give these a go – they are totally worth the 15 minutes work they take.
Based on Patrick Ryan’s recipe
Makes 5 flatbreads
250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
4 tablespoons olive oil
100ml warm water
1. Mix the flour, salt, and paprika in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil and water. Mix together until the dough comes together (it will feel quite dry but keep going with it).
2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes – until it becomes smooth and elastic. It’s a much heavier dough than normal bread dough so is quite stiff when you’re kneading it.
3. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave for 15 minutes. It will become much smoother and more elastic after this rest.
4. Divide the dough into 5 equal balls and then roll out to the thickness of a £2 coin.
5. Heat a frying pan/griddle pan over a high heat and cook each flatbread for about 2 minutes on each side until slightly blackened and cooked through. Eat immediately.
PS: They were almost as good the next day, toasted and dunked in hummus!
PPS: They would also be delicious with cumin instead of paprika, or some chopped rosemary or even just plain.