Friday, May 20, 2011

Flatbreads With Savoury Lentils

I've made similar recipes HERE and HERE. What is different this time is the bread.

For the past three days, I've had a sourdough slowly rising in the fridge-with no real plans. My freezer is stocked with loaves at the moment, and I haven't been feeling particularly inspired of late. I mixed the sponge into a final dough and shoved it in the chill figuring I'd do something with it eventually.

The bread is strange...sort of a cross between pita bread (it puffed and has a hollow centre) and a bialy. I'm calling it "flatbread" because I lack imagination. Feel free to offer up your suggestions if you've got 'em.

The boys liked them, and if made smaller in size they would be wonderful apetisers. The topping was thrown together from what I had (lentils, boiled potato, garlic, an open tin of tomato paste) but really, treat it like a blank canvas. I might use the remaining breads to make frozen pizzas for quick lunches during the week. Plenty of possibilities in these little breads.

For The Bread:


1 cup fed sourdough starter (more or less-I'm not super-exacting with what I pull out of the jar)
2 cups water
2-3 cups bread flour (enough to make a very sticky, but not batter-like dough)

Mix together and let rise in a covered bowl for 8-12 hours.

Final bread:

All of sponge
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Enough bread flour (about 2 cups) to make a very soft dough. It will be sticky.

Mix together, cover and let rest 30 minutes. Return to a work surface and knead (it will be crazy sticky-that's OK) for a few minutes until it starts firming up. Let rest while you clean the bowl. This should take a few minutes to scour all the dough off the sides. Give the dough another quick knead. It should begin to feel less sticky. When it becomes too sticky to work, stop again, wash off your hands and go grease the clean bowl. A few minutes later, start giving the dough a few folds. Plop it in the bowl and let rest 1 hour. Drag out the dough, give it another fold in each direction, then cover and set in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Baking Day:

Remove the dough from the fridge and let warm on the counter for a couple hours. Remove dough from bowl and divide into 24 balls. Set on an oiled baking sheet and cover lightly with a damp kitchen towel. Let rest about 40 minutes.

Take each ball of dough and shape as for rolls (pulling sides and tucking under to get a tight surface on top. Return to sheet and cover again. Let rest 30 minutes.

Begin preheating oven to 500 degrees F.

Generously dust several baking sheets with cornmeal.
Dust a ball of dough with flour on both sides and gently roll out to circles. Mine were about 5 inches across the centre, but do as you like. Place onto prepared sheet. Cover with a dry dishtowel as you work on remaining bread.

Let rolled breads rise another 20 minutes.

Place the oven racks in the lowest position, and the middle position. Staring on the lowest rack, bake for 5 minutes, then move to the centre rack for another 3-4 minutes. Remove to a towel and wrap breads to prevent them forming a crust as they cool.

This will generate quite a bit of smoke from the heat and the cornmeal so I suggest turning on a fan or opening a window if you are able.

When cool, top breads as you like, or use like a pita, bialy, or roll. Makes about 24.

For The Topping:

6 large cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Black pepper
1 cup diced, boiled potato
2-3 cups cooked brown lentils
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Cook the garlic in a pot with the oil over medium heat taking care not to burn the garlic. Mix in the cumin, tomato paste, and pepper. Mix well and cook for a couple minutes to mix in the tomato paste. Stir in the potato and lentils. Remove from heat and mix in the parsley. Use to top flatbreads.

I baked my flatbreads at 475 degrees F. for about ten minutes.

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