It’s been fairly quiet on the blogging front, and by no means quiet on the home front. Apart from the food hibernation due to the long hours of fasting, receiving and attending dinner invitations, family gatherings and entertaining/occupying the children during their summer holidays has taken up a large chunk of my time. It’s only natural of course to take things easy, relax and really enjoy the holiday despite the heat and long day hours. I have to admit summer is not my favourite season, and I always long for shorter days, cooler temperatures and the ability to wear many layers for extra comfort! Strange I know, since so many love the hot weather, and there’s me getting nose bleeds and migraine attacks when it’s really sunny!
The recipe below is the type of comfort and security I get when wanting to eat a substantial yet light meal. I enjoy it with a nice dip such as hummus or even yoghurt, a large chunk of fresh summer salad and a refreshing cold drink. That’s it! No need to go overboard with anything else.
Making this bread with strong white bread flour and white plain flour results in the best smooth texture. However, I have tried making it using white spelt and kamut flour with extremely satisfying results – slightly denser, yet pleasantly nuttier and hearty. Both spelt and kamut are non-hybrid and contain less gluten and more selenium compared to wheat. The addition of yoghurt to the dough gives it a beautiful and pleasant sour note, also making the dough moist and light.
Experiment with whatever type of flour you have at hand and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the taste of home-made freshly baked aromas roaming around your house.
Za’tar Flat Bread – Serves 6
- 250 g Unbleached strong bread flour or white spelt
- 250 g plain flour, or white spelt, or kamut flour
- 9 g sea salt
- 5 g instant yeast
- 140 g/ml thick natural yoghurt
- 200 ml lukewarm water
- plenty of olive oil
- A handful of grated mature cheddar cheese, optional
- 3-4 tablespoons za’atar
Add the flours, salt and yeast to a large mixing bowl, taking care you don’t mix the salt and the yeast together. In a separate jug, mix the yoghurt, water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, stir until creamy, then add to the flour mixture and kneed for about 10 minutes. The mixture is fairly wet and is best to use a mixer attached with a dough hook for that. If you’re willing to kneed by hand then I would strongly recommend using plenty of olive oil on your hands and the worktop to make it easier to work with, however, it will be fairly sticky!
When you have a soft, stretchy dough, add to a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. The time it takes for the dough to rise depends on the room temperature, the flour used and the humidity in the air; anything between 1-3 hours.
Brush a shallow, large, flat baking tray with plenty of olive oil, tip the risen dough into it, and carefully stretch to fill the baking tray. Leave to rest for another hour by which the dough should stretch further and fill any gaps remaining in the baking tray.
Preheat the oven oven to 200°C for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile sprinkle the risen dough in the baking tray with cheddar cheese if using, followed by the za’tar. If you don’t like this combo, then top the dough with whatever you fancy.
Place in the oven and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, checking the bread after 15. If the edges seem to be baked well, check the centre. It should be spongy and not doughy. Bake for a further 5 minutes if you feel the dough is under-baked.
Once done, carefully flip into a cooling rack and allow the cool substantially. Cut into large cube chunks and serve with hummus, yoghurt, summer salad, and plenty of herbs and fresh summer leaves. Roasted aubergines with tomatoes also make a nice addition.
Any leftover bread keeps well for a 2-3 days. Gently heat for 2-3 minutes in the oven to refresh.