Grilled BBQ Flatbreads with Herb Oil (Fladenbrot vom Grill)

 

It’s super quick to make these amazing flatbreads – if the sun comes out you can be ready to put them on the grill in just over an hour!

Holidaying in my parents’ house in Austria, we had a family BBQ this afternoon. There is a wonderful ‘Kräuterschnecke’ (which translates as ‘herb snail’) in our garden with lots of different herbs. I baked Jamie Oliver’s lovely barbecue flatbreads and used my own herbal olive oil concoction to brush it.

Kräuterschnecke ('herb snail') in our garden
Kräuterschnecke (‘herb snail’) in our garden

The grilled flatbreads are soft, chewy and a little smoky; they taste wonderful with grilled meats and vegetables, dips and salads.

BBQ'd flatbreads with fresh herb oil

How to make the grilled BBQ breads –

Fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley
Fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley

You can also fry the breads in a skillet or griddle pan if the weather is bad…

Recipe for Flatbread with Nuts

 

This is a recipe my aunt from Höhnhart, Upper Austria shared with me (thank you Berta :-)). Berta and I are connected by our passion for bread and while she has been a master for years, I’m just at the beginning of my bread journey!

This bread is super-delicious with just butter and cheese.  Add carrots, celery and some chutney and you have a perfect afternoon snack!

Flatbread with nuts and some lovely cheeses by my aunt Berta
Flatbread with nuts and some lovely cheeses by my aunt Berta

Ingredients (makes 2 breads)

  • 21g fresh yeast (or 7g dry yeast)
  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 200g rye flour
  • 6g salt
  • 200g water, lukewarm
  • 50g olive oil
  • 150g roughly chopped nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts – whatever you have)

How to make the breads

  1. If you are using fresh yeast, mix the yeast with 200g lukewarm water. (With dry yeast, simply add all ingredients together in one go.)
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flours and salt with a balloon whisk.
  3. Add the dissolved yeast and water, olive oil and the mixed nuts to the flour bowl.
  4. Use the dough hooks of your hand mixer and knead the dough until smooth. Alternatively, hand-knead for 5 minutes or so. I added a little bit more water to get the right hydration as the rye flour I used was very coarse.
  5. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rest in a warm place for 45 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4).
  7. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead for a minute.
  9. Divide the dough into two parts.
  10. Roll out each part to reach 25cm in length. You can work with a rolling pin or just work the dough into a round or oval shape with your hands.
  11. Place the loaves onto the baking tray.
  12. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

Thanks for the tasty recipe Berta!

The perfect bread for our Sunday afternoon tea
The perfect bread for our afternoon tea (with chutney, hummus, cheddar and celery sticks)

Khobz Recipe – Authentic Moroccan Bread

 

Watching the first episode of Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast set in Morocco, I was (of course) inspired by the industriousness in the Moroccan bread bakery. It brought back memories of my first authentic Moroccan meal, sitting on a balcony overlooking the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh.

If you love Middle Eastern & Mediterranean food as much as I do, Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are an unbelievably wonderful resource:

Now For The Khobz Recipe…

This authentic Moroccan bread, called khobz, is a round, flattish bread with plenty of crust making it an ideal bread for dipping and scooping up tagines and salads.

Khobz 2014
Khobz – Moroccan Bread with Sesame Seeds

I found a wonderful recipe for Moroccan bread on the Culinary Anthropologist blog and have adjusted it slightly by using wholegrain spelt instead of wholemeal wheat flour. The bread is usually flavoured with anise seeds; however, I used fennel seeds instead which worked well.

Ingredients for 2 khobz loaves (enough for 6 people)

  • 325g strong white bread flour
  • 50g wholegrain spelt flour (use wholemeal wheat flour as an alternative)
  • 125g maize flour or fine polenta
  • 9g salt
  • 5g dried yeast
  • 350g tepid water (add slightly more if needed)
  • 2 tsps sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • Sesame seeds for the topping
  • Olive oil to grease the bowl and brush the bread

How to make khobz bread

  1. Combine the flours, salt, yeast and water in a large bowl.
  2. Knead for 10 minutes.
  3. Knead in the sesame and fennel seeds.
  4. Lightly grease the bowl with olive oil.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl (moving it around to cover the dough with olive oil), then cover the bowl.
  6. Prove the dough for approx. 2 hours (depending on the temperature in the room; it should rise significantly).
  7. Divide the dough into 2 halves with a dough scraper and shape each part into a ball.
  8. Prepare a baking tray and line with baking paper.
  9. Place the dough balls onto the baking tray and flatten them with your hands to about 4 cm in height.
  10. Sprinkle the loaves with the sesame seeds and use your flat hand to carefully press them into the dough.
  11. Cover the loaves with a tea towel and leave for their second prove. This should take about an hour.
  12. 1/2 hour before baking, preheat the oven to 240°C.
  13. Just before baking, brush the loaves with olive oil and make a few incisions.
  14. Bake for approx. 30 mins.
  15. Cool on a wire rack.
Khobz close up 2014
Moroccan bread with maize flour and fennel seeds

Khobz is best eaten on the day of baking. We had it with this super-tasty lamb tagine, a recipe by Antony Worrall Thompson.

If you have any leftover khobz, try this spicy Moroccan bread salad recipe.

Enjoy!

Quick pita bread recipe

 

It’s amazingly quick and easy to make great home-baked pita breads. Very few ingredients are needed to bake these lovely round/oval flatbreads and the delightful ‘pocket’ is simply created by steam puffing up the dough when exposed to a high temperature. Preparing the dough is very straightforward and you can choose to refrigerate part of it for the next day or later in the week.

Pita Bread

It’s the pocket that makes pita bread so very practical and versatile. Here are some ideas for filling, dipping and wrapping.

  • Serve with any meze platter
  • Scoop up hummus and baba ghanoush
  • Wrap around kebabs, shawarmas and falafel
  • Fill with souvlaki, tzatziki… anything  Middle Eastern, North African, Greek and Turkish will work a treat – add french fries if you feel naughty!
  • Cut the pitas into wedges, brush with olive oil and toast to make pita chips or croutons
  • Soak up the goodness of this tasty Moroccan-style chicken casserole
Pita pocket with Moroccan-style chicken
Pita pocket with Moroccan-style chicken

Ingredients (Makes 10 – 12)

  • 300g white bread flour
  • 150g wholemeal wheat flour (using wholemeal flour will give the pita breads a hearty taste)
  • 1 sachet of dry yeast (7g)
  • 1 ¼  tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • 300 ml water, lukewarm

How to make pita breads

  1. Dissolve the honey in the tepid water.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except the oil) in a large bowl until the dough comes together and you can form a rough ball. Add the oil towards the end and a little more water if not all of the flour can be picked up.
  3. Place the dough on a clean work surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil the large bowl you used earlier by spreading a glug of oil with a kitchen brush.
  5. Put the dough back into the bowl.
  6. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.
  7. Deflate the dough to release the trapped gases.
  8. Once risen and punched down, you can refrigerate the pita dough until it is needed – it will keep in the fridge for about a week.
  9. Shape the dough into a 25cm long log.
  10. Divide the log into 10-12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
  11. Dust the balls with flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes (you’ll be able to shape the dough much easier after this time).
  12. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250º – the highest setting you have. If you are not using a baking stone, leave the baking tray in the oven to heat up and make sure it is placed near the bottom of the oven.
  13. Roll each dough ball into a 15cm circle, about 6mm in thickness.
  14. Bake until the pitas puff up, have lightly browned and fully ballooned, circa 4-5 minutes. Don’t overbake them as they should come out still soft, not with a hardened shell. If they don’t puff, the oven/baking tray isn’t hot enough. Don’t throw out pitas without pockets – they are still delicious disks of goodness and great dipping material.
  15. Turn over and bake for another minute.
  16. I usually bake about 4 – 6 pitas at a time, removing the baked pitas with a spatula before placing the new dough disks on the baking sheet.
  17. Cool for a minute or two; the puffed up pitas will collapse and flatten as they cool. Pita breads are best eaten when still warm. Alternatively, store in freezer bags at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Pita Bread with a smaller pocket
Pita Bread with a smaller pocket

Spelt Flour Chapati Recipe

 

In fitting with today’s delightfully autumnal weather, I decided to cook a hearty vegetarian curry with butternut squash. As is the case for most dishes, Indian curries taste best if eaten with freshly baked breads. I’ve made this spelt flour chapati recipe many times since visiting India in 2007 and it didn’t let me down today. These homemade spelt chapatis are no hassle at all – you’ll be done in just over an hour.

Spelt flour chapatis
Spelt flour chapatis

When visiting Malaysia recently, I picked up a tava (a round flat or slightly concave iron griddle) used in Indian cooking to make flatbreads. I haven’t got the traditional Atta flour handy, so I’m opting for a mix of wholemeal and white spelt flour instead.

Chapatis are…

  • Unleavened flatbreads (i.e. made from a dough containing no yeast or leavening agents)
  • An integral part of the Indian cuisine (also eaten in Pakistan and other parts of South Asia)
  • Traditionally made with Atta flour (stone ground wholemeal flour which has been sifted to remove the coarsest bran), salt and water. You can use a mixture of wholemeal and white flour if you don’t have Atta flour to hand.
  • Cooked on a tava (you can also use a flat bottom non-stick frying pan)

Spelt chapati recipe

Ingredients for 6 chapatis

  • 100g finely ground wholemeal spelt flour
  • 100g white spelt flour plus extra for dusting
  • 125g water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil plus extra for brushing

How to make the spelt flour chapatis

Before you follow the instructions, here is a video for a quick introduction of the process:

  1. Place the spelt flours, water and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Form a soft dough with your hands. Note that firmer dough is easier to handle but makes harder chapatis. If required, just add a little more water until you get the right consistency.
  3. Add a tablespoon of oil and transfer to a clean surface.
  4. Knead for about 10 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl and cover.
  6. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
  7. Divide into 6 equal pieces.
  8. Shape the dough into balls by rolling the pieces between your palms.
  9. Place them on a lightly dusted surface.
  10. Roll out the dough balls (one by one) into a thin round on a lightly floured surface.
  11. Heat up a frying pan over a medium heat and place the chapatis (one at a time) straight on the hot surface.
  12. Keep it there for about 30 seconds until blisters appear and it becomes slightly darker in colour.
  13. Turn and cook the other side in the same way. The steam trapped in the middle will cause the chapati to puff up. Use a clean kitchen towel to gently push down as air pockets form.
  14. Once done, lightly brush the chapati with rapeseed oil (traditionally ghee is used) and cover with a clean dish towel until ready to serve.
Spelt chapatis
Spelt chapatis

Enjoy with dhal or your favourite curry – no cutlery needed!

Flammkuchen Recipe (Alsatian / German Flatbread)

 

My friend Felix from Munich frequently impresses guests with his delicious Flammkuchen, a type of German flatbread with a delicious sour cream, bacon and onion topping. He provided all his Flammkuchen baking insight to me yesterday, so what better way to finish a long week than unwinding with a freshly baked Flammkuchen and a nice glass of Austrian Weißburgunder, watching a movie on the couch wrapped in a cosy blanket – or dressed in one of these (who knew that Tart Flambée T-Shirts were a thing??!). Here is his Flammkuchen recipe for all of you to enjoy!

Flammkuchen
A very tasty freshly baked Flammkuchen

What is Flammkuchen?

Flammkuchen (or Tarte Flambée in French) is an Alsatian dish – it’s easy to make and you’ll only need a few ingredients. The traditional Flammkuchen toppings are sour cream (Felix recommends crème fraiche as it’s thicker), onions and bacon. I’m planning to experiment with different toppings, but to start with, I go all traditional on this recipe.

Flammkuchen recipe

Before I jump into the Flammkuchen recipe instructions, a few additional notes on what Flammkuchen is and what it’s not.

Flammkuchen is often referred to as ‘German pizza’, so I just wanted to set the record straight on this one.

Flammkuchen and pizza use the same base dough. The key difference is that Flammkuchen uses a base of sour cream or crème fraiche while pizza comes with tomato sauce. Flammkuchen is also not to be confused with white pizza which is pizza with a cheese base. Cheese is not traditionally used as a topping for Flammkuchen and the bread dough crust is generally thinner when compared to pizza. And… the Flammkuchen shape is usually rectangular or oval rather than round as it is for pizza.

Flammkuchen Tarte Flambee
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Flammkuchen Recipe

This delicious Flammkuchen recipe is easy to prepare and rewards your work with delicious flavours. The quantities below are for 4 portions.

Ingredients

Flammkuchen dough recipe

  • 500 g flour I used 400g strong white flour and 100g wholemeal flour; however if you can get your hands on strong 00 flour this will work even better
  • 7 salt
  • 7 dried yeast
  • 320 g warm water
  • A little olive oil

Flammkuchen sauce and toppings

  • 12  strips of bacon cut into small squares or cubes
  • 2 onions finely sliced into rings
  • 250 g crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 230 g natural Greek Yoghurt
  • tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh thyme optional

Instructions

How to make Flammkuchen

  • Combine all dough ingredients in a large bowl to form a rough dough.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic, stretchy and velvety dough.
  • Place the dough back into your bowl and cover with a lid.
  • Leave to rest for 2 - 4 hours at room temperature (or overnight in the fridge).
  • Preheat the oven and a baking tray to 250°C (the highest temperature possible) 30 minutes before the bake. If you have a pizza stone, preheat the oven and the pizza stone 1 hour before.
  • Divide the dough into 4 parts (8 parts for smaller sized Flammkuchen). I use a dough scraper to do this.
  • Shape each part into a ball and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Combine the crème fraiche and yoghurt in a small bowl, add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Roll out the dough pieces (2-3 mm) and transfer to baking sheets.
  • Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Fry the bacon strips briefly until almost cooked, don't let them get crispy.
  • Fry the onion rings in the same pan until slightly browned.
  • If you are making all 4 Flammkuchen but baking only one at a time, don't add the topping to all of them at once. One by one works better as the topping doesn't melt into the dough that way.
  • Evenly and generously spread the cream mixture onto the dough (you want a really thick coating in order for the finished product not to be too dry), leave a small border around the edge (this will turn golden-brown and crispy).
  • Scatter the onion rings and bacon on top and sprinkle with thyme.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned and the bottom is crisp.
  • Serve immediately.
German Flammkuchen recipe using onions, sour cream, bacon
Flammkuchen with delightfully crisp onion rings

If you have leftover dough, you can refrigerate this in cling film and bake more Flammkuchen the next day.

If baking the next day is not an option, you can freeze it too. Roll out the dough into a base and par-bake (for about 3 mins). It needs to be fully cooled before you freeze it. When you feel like a cheeky Flammkuchen, simply take out the base, add the topping and bake again.

Hope you enjoy this Flammkuchen recipe as much as I do, it’s perfect for a night in!