Flatbreads are great. You can eat them as wraps for sandwiches, or tear them up and use them as a vehicle for dips or to sop up gravy. Call them tortillas and fill them with spicy Mexican flavors, or call them pitas and fill them with lamb and tzatziki. If you make too many, cut them in triangles and put them in a low oven to get crispy, and you've got chips. What's not to love?
Better yet, they're easy to make. And fast. You don't need to let the dough rise until it's competely doubled, so these can be done in much less time than a traditional bread. I've made flatbreads with little more than a brief rest after kneading, and they've been just fine. I've also made flatbreads with dough that has rested in the refrigerator overnight. If I'm being completely honest, I have to say that I like them best when they're made fresh and eaten right away—I like the texture better. Of course, everyone's tastes differ, so try it yourself. Cook some right away and save the rest to cook the next day.
Wraps are nice on a hot summer day, filled with fresh, light ingredients. Even better on a hot summer day, you don't need to turn on the oven to make these. They can be cooked on a griddle or grill, or in a cast iron pan on the stovetop. I like using a comal because it doesn't have the high sides of a frying pan to deal with, but a frying pan works just as well. Or cook them on the grill outside.
Instead of making plain flatbreads, this time I decided to add some flavor. Lemon and basil play nicely together, and make the flatbreads more interesting on their own. They'd make a nice wrap for chicken, fish, or pork—or do what I did and stuff one with grilled vegetables and top with a bit of Greek-style yogurt for a nice light lunch.
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 12 medium basil leaves, finely sliced (chiffonade)
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, and sugar, and set aside for 5 minutes, until it begins to get foamy.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, and flour, and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and beginning to become elastic.
Add the olive oil and continue kneading until the oil is incorporated and the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the first flatbread to a 6-inch circle. Brush off any excess flour and put the first flatbread in your frying pan. (A little flour clinging to the flatbread is fine, but flour that falls off in the pan may burn so you want to remove as much as possible.)