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Soft flat bread, help needed.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:12 am
by tomwal
Hi, I would really like to make some soft flat breads, my attempts to date have produced quite a stiff finish to the bread, even a bit cardboardy on occasions, any advice or recipes, leven or unleven would be gratefully appreciated.


Wal :)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:25 pm
by jenny_haddow
How do you cook them Wal? I do mine on a very hot pizza stone, just a minute or two either side and they are fine. I roll out my dough on a cling film covered board with a little oil rubbed over the film. I cook chapattis, naans etc. this way. Alternatively, I have a large, round, lidded electric frying pan. This works well too.



PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:24 pm
by tomwal
Hiya Jen,
I have been doing them in a heavy base cast iron fry pan and shaping by hand, I probably need to work on my recipe, which was why I asked if anyone had one, cant give you mine at the moment as I am supposed to be toiling away in the office, lol.

Thanks for replying


PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:35 pm
by wheels
If you look at chappati recipes the amount of water varies from <50% of the flour to as much as 75%. I'd go for at least 60% and make as soft a dough as you can manage to handle for a softer chappati. I roll them really thin then cook quickly on a dry frying pan. I finish them in the gas flame - they'll puff up like a balloon.



PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:44 pm
by tomwal
Thanks Phil.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:51 pm
by vinner
What Phil says. He does know bread, in spite of his humility.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:21 am
by tomwal
My main reason for posting this was, a few years ago when in Italy I had what I can only describe a "flat bread cloud" it was soft with a gentle garlic flavour, I think it was called "Piadini or Piadina, there are plenty of recipes online for either of these I have not been able to come anywhere near the same, or even produce an edible flat bread, following Phil's recipes has been great, especially the rolls, which I have to make twice a week because nobody in the house will eat anything else.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:54 pm
by kimgary
Hi Wal

I have a recipe for naan bread which was given and taught to me by a good friend who owned a indian restaurant, so this is what you would get in a restaurant or takeaway, they were cooked in a charcoal tandoor, i tried using a chimney pot years ago but before i could slap the naan on the inside i lost all the hairs off my arms!

In Old money:-

1lb self raising flour
1 egg (medium)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 pint milk.

Method:- Mix,milk,egg,sugar, and whisk.
sprinkle baking powder on top and whisk.
add flour and knead about 6 mins by hand or six mins on dough cycle in bread machine.
Leave in oiled bowl with thin coating of oil for 1 hour.

Pick off 5oz portions and shape into balls with oiled hand if necc,Do not add extra flour,shape as you would for bread rolls so that the outer skin is taught and is sealed on the bottom.

Place on lightly floured tray and cover with plastic,leave min of 3 hours.

Then pat and slap into a round, normally if right handed the right hand would be oiled and the left hand floured, with the right hand the ball is pushed into a round leaving a thicker edge then its picked up and slapped between the hands to stretch it finally pulling down 1 side to make the tear drop shape, if it tears just press the rear edgs together again, if you use a rolling pin to roll I suggest you roll and cover them withe plastic again and let them sit 1/2 to 1 hour again.

Set grill to highest temp and rack on highest level.
I have a very heavy non stick frying pan well past its best, preheat on hob till very hot i get 250-260ÂșC with a infrared thermometer, place naan in pan cook about 30 seconds, lift edge to confirm underneath blistering and brown, may need 15 to 30 secs more, remove from hob and place under grill and leave till rises and blisters if it hits the element it leaves very nice burn marks, sometimes it may pay you to press down on naan with spatular or fish slice till cooked to your liking, brush with melted ghee or whatever rub with garlic if you like, serve. They will reheat nice in foil in a hot oven, if you go this route leave the ghee/garlic till they have reheated or the garlic goes blue with time.

The rest time seems excessive when you consider that they use self raising flour and not yeast but i have found it to be very important, they are normally made and formed into the ball stage about 10am, they are then slapped into shape at the evening service.

Hope you try these and I must pass on my thanks to Neezam for his lessons.
Regards Gary.
PS Please ask if you require further info/help.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:34 am
by tomwal
Gary, thanks very much, I will be having a go at these when I get home from work this afternoon, just happen to have a curry brewing in the slow cooker for tea tonight. Yesterday I had a go at the pitta bread recipe that had been recently posted, I must have done something wrong at some stage, I also didnt have a pizza stone, they didnt rise much and I was disappointed, until I tasted them, really delicous flat bread, made by default, soft with a lovely flavour, only problem I dont know what I did wrong so I can make them again.



PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:58 pm
by kimgary

If it was the pitta bread recipe from ny paul did you use bread flour? I have tried a few us recipes overtime and got caught out initially and used uk plain flour , the US all purpose flour is much higher protein than UK plain flour, after using bread flour recipes were much improved.
Regards Gary.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:40 pm
by wheels
FWIW here's my pita bread recipe:


PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:13 pm
by kimgary
Thanks Phil

A chef in turkey showed me a neat little trick.

He made a classic shaped pitta bread, using the amount of dough you would for 1 bread divide it into 2 balls, place 1 ball on top of the other and using a rolling pin roll to desired shape.

When in the oven they rise at the seam created, they are easy to cut for stuffing even when cold.

Regards Gary

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:12 pm
by wheels
What a brilliant tip - thanks.


PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:24 pm
by NCPaul
the US all purpose flour is much higher protein than UK plain flour

I'd didn't know this; the all-purpose flour I used was 11.7 % and the cake flour was 9.4 %. What is the flour like in the UK?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:32 pm
by kimgary
Hi NC Paul, a major brand of flour over here is Allinsons.

Protein content as follows:-

self raising 9.8%

Plain (what we would call general purpose/cake flour 10.3%

strong white bread flour 12.1%

Premium white very strong bread flour 13.9%

I tried a bag 16Kg of Canadian strong white from Shipton mills in the UK I could not get a protein content from them but I tried over 10kg of a supermarket bread flour at 12.5% protein and found it better?

I am no expert at all but I looked into this when some of your US recipes did not turn out as expected.

Regards Gary.