There is something delightful in making flat breads, and comforting knowing that the recipe has survived centuries, that our ancestors once enjoyed the same flavours that you are now using in your own kitchen.
Growing up with Italian grandparents, bread plays such an important role in our meals. Affordable and filling I love the simplicity of breads. Anyone who may have been reading this blog over the years may know that one of the fears I have overcome is using yeast, and baking bread.
I’ve slowly become more confident (and you can see the results previously here with a herb and garlic foccacia) and became inspired by Paul Hollywood. His aptly titled book Bread is wonderful. It’s accessible for the novice bread baker (like me) and is well thought out chapters (Classic Breads/Soda Breads/Flat Breads/Continental Breads/Sourdough/Enriched Breads) and has accompanied meal recipes for each loaf. When I was looking for books to help me learn to bake, I often found there was an over reliance on sourdough starters or limited in variety. Even better this book also contained photos of techniques to help you along the way.
If you are new baking breads, flat breads are wonderful to start. They are easier and often more forgiving than a loaf and can contain wonderful flavours. Today’s recipe is Paul Hollywood’s Maneesh bread, a delicious Middle Eastern flatbread topped with a za’atar. As it bakes your kitchen is filled with the strong aromatics of the herbs and seeds. Don’t be put off by appearances; while crunchy on the outside it is wonderfully soft on the inside.
Perfect shared with friends with dips – it’s hard to stop at one piece.
This recipe yielded 3 loaves about 20-25cm in length.
Would love to hear about your bread baking adventures!
Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Rising Time: 1 Hour
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Storage: Serve immediately
500g strong while flour
25g Caster Sugar
10g dried yeast
20m olive oil
360ml tepid water
Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the olive oil and 270ml of the water. Using your fingers, mix the ingredients together. Gradually add the remaining water until all the flour has come away from the sides of the bowl and you have a soft dough (you may not need all the water; the dough should be soft and not sticky).
Pour a little oil onto your work top. Place the dough on top and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will be wet in the beginning but will form a smooth dough once kneaded.
Once a smooth dough is achieved, place into a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave to double in size.
Line three baking trays with parchment paper.
Tip the dough onto an oiled work top. Knock the dough back by folding it on itself, repeating this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. Split the dough into three and roll into large circles.
Place onto the lined baking trays and cover each tray with a carrier bag. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Mix the topping ingredients with a little olive oil until you have a thick paste. Preheat the oven to 230C.
Just before baking, brush the surface of the breads with olive oil. Spread the topping over each of the breads and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.