Some thoughts today, in honor of the simple flat-breads. Tortillas, pizza crust, and naan top my list for favorites. I like pitas too, but I’ve never made those. Flat-breads are an awesome addition to a prepper’s cooking repertoire. They are made with basic flours of wheat or corn. They cook up quick, and do so beautifully on wood fire grill or cast iron or ceramic oven. They can double as plates for a meal. :-D
Tortillas – We just finished up another pantry week, and we ran out of tortillas, so I got to try my hand at making them, I was only a little bit rusty. :-D The recipe is about as easy as it comes. They don’t require yeast or time to rise.
2 1/2 cups Wheat Flour (plus extra for dusting)
5 tablespoons butter (or lard)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Warm Water
I usually make whole wheat tortillas , as we don’t have much All Purpose in the pantry. If you substitute All Purpose flour, put in a bit more flour. Mix everything together, I like to do it by hand, until it will hold a ball shape. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Divide into 10 balls, and roll out each one to a 7-inch circle. Either use flour or wax paper to make the rolling nice and easy. Get your cast iron nice and hot, and cover it with a little oil. Cook the tortillas one at a time, browning each side, maybe with some nice crunchy bubbles.
2 cups Masa Harina
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
What? You don’t store Masa Harina? You should, it tastes delicious. But, just because I like my readers, here’s a variation I found that uses cornmeal.
3/4 cup cornmeal
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or oil
1 cup boiling water
Pizza crust – My favorite pizza crust is Susan’s from Farmgirl Fare, you’ll never miss delivery pizza after you make your own from scratch. Bake your pizzas on a sheet of parchment paper for easier removal from your ceramic pizza stone or cast iron pan.
Bread flour – 3 cups (plus a little more added while kneading)
Instant yeast – 1 teaspoon
Salt 2 teaspoons
Lukewarm water 1+1/3 cups
Place the bread flour in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until a soft, but not sticky, dough forms.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 3 minutes, sprinkling with a little flour each time it sticks to your hands or the counter. The dough should be quite soft. Just knead it by hand; it’s easier and faster than getting out your big electric mixer.
Liberally sprinkle the mixing bowl with flour, place the dough back in it, and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Cover with a damp tea towel or cloth napkin and set in a warm place for two hours.
After about 75 mins, place a baking stone on the lowest rack in the oven, and set the temperature at 500°.
<<make topings while you wait>>
Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide it into two or four pieces. (Depending on the sizes you want for your pizzas) Flatten each piece of dough into a disk and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Shape your pizza disks into the shape/thinness you want. Don’t be too concerned about perfect circles, and don’t be to afraid to muscle the dough around a little bit, it’s really stretchy.
Naan – Naan is actually the first flat bread I ever made from scratch. I was living in India, and I baked them on the sides of a wood fired ceramic oven. (With much trepidation and with a few burns to show for it.) They were the best tasting bread I’d ever eaten. So, if you’re in the mood to try something new, I highly recommend this Indian bread. It can be made on a really hot cast iron flat pan or skillet, if you don’t happen to have a Tandoori oven around.
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
Mix all together and shape into balls. Stretch into the desired shape by hand or with a small rolling pin. Brush one side with oil or butter, cook that side until its dark brown on the bubbles, brush again with the oil or butter and cook the second side. It should cook in 2-3 minutes if your heat is high enough.
Knowing how to make a good loaf of bread out of your pantry is a great skill to have, but there are some times when the ability to whip out a nice batch of flat bread really comes in handy. Do you have a favorite that I didn’t mention? A focaccia or cracker?
– Calamity Jane