There’s loads of research on the therapeutic benefits of bread making and this week I’ve been teaching children with special educational needs how to make flatbreads. Some of the children seemed to particularly enjoy making their breads into their favourite cartoon characters (this wasn’t quite my intention, but an added bonus and the end result was still bread!). On the bread making classes I run with adults, flatbreads also come out trumps; people love how quick they are to rustle up yet still look impressive.
Flatbreads are great, because you don’t need proving time (I guess the name gives it away!). You can play around with the seasonings, personally I love fennel seeds. If you don’t want to make all the breads at once, you can put any leftover dough in the fridge covered in cling film, and it should last a couple of days, or you can freeze it for one month.
Makes approximately 8 flatbreads
- 250g of wholemeal flour plus extra for dusting
- 170 ml of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon of
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon of sumac (optional)
Pour the flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir through the fennel seeds. Mix the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast in the other (this is so they avoid direct contact, because salt can knock out the yeast), mix through with the olive oil. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in ¾ of the water, stirring as you go. Finish mixing it through with your hands, and add the rest of the water if it is too dry. Rub your hands with a little oil and kneed for approximately 1-2 minutes, until you have a soft, elastic dough.
Sprinkle some flour onto a flat surface, make balls of dough, approximately the size of a lemon and roll it into a flat disc, adding flour if it starts to stick.
Heat a non stick frying on a medium heat. Once it has heated up lay the flat bread on the pan (no oil is necessary) and cook for about 2 minutes until the surface starts to bubble up. Turn it over and cook the other side for a further 2 minutes. If you want them crispier, leave them for a little longer, though personally I prefer them quite soft. The breads are done once there are brown spots on the underside. Remove from the pan and place on a board. Repeat with the remaining flat breads, using more flour where necessary.
Drizzle over olive oil and sumac and cut into thin strips. Serve with any dip, such as this one…
Borlotti bean, mint and lemon dip
This is a really delicious, simple quick recipe and great if you have a tin of beans lying around in your cupboard. White beans, such as cannellini or butter beans also work well in this recipe, however I prefer the silkier texture of the borlotti beans.
- 1 tin of borlotti beans drained
- Half a bunch of mint
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Half a tablespoon of olive oil (optional)
- ½ a teaspoon of salt,
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil in a blender or nutri-bullet (if you don’t have you can use a mixing bowl and hand blender) and pulse. Scrape down the sides and add the olive oil if using and pulse again. You may wish to add more salt and lemon juice to taste.