The name of this flat bread comes from the Arabic word for “rolled.” Rolling gives this bread a remarkable texture: it is extremely crispy on the outside and has the texture of a puff pastry or croissant on the inside – some of the best flatbread we’ve come across so far. Traditionally, it is eaten sweet with butter and jam or honey. However, we find it especially delicious with savory dishes, such as kefta, lentils and egg (similar to shakshuka).
Don’t be afraid of the preparation: what may look a bit complicated at first is actually not difficult, but quite fun.
First, we need a classic yeast dough. We use half and half regular wheat flour and durum wheat semolina. The slightly more granular texture that the semolina brings about makes the bread extra crispy. Dissolve the dry yeast in the warm water and feed the yeast with a spoonful of sugar. It will only take a few minutes for the mixture to start foaming. The activated yeast will give your dough a good start.
Combine flour, semolina, salt and yeast dissolved in water in a mixing bowl and knead it into a soft but compact dough. This will take about 5 minutes with a food processor or up to 10 minutes with your hands.
Form the finished dough into a ball and place it in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When the dough has about doubled in volume, you can continue.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. It should not boil or foam, but just become liquid. While this is happening, you can form eight small balls from the dough. To make them the same size, we just keep halving the amounts – first two equal portions of dough, then four, then eight. You will see that your hands can “weigh” well with this method, so that you can form relatively equal balls without scales.
You can shape the dough balls by pushing them out of the dough like a balloon, so that there is only a seam at the end, which you can then close. Here some tips on forming dough balls.
Now for the creative part. Pour some oil on your work surface. If you can’t or don’t want to work directly on the kitchen countertop, use a large flat plate or tray as a base for the next steps instead. First, use both hands to flatten each ball evenly until the round patty that results is translucent. Turn it several times while doing that. It is not a problem if some small holes should appear in the process.
Now pour some of the melted butter on the flattend dough and sprinkle with some semolina.
Fold two sides towards the middle.
You can now safely stretch this elastic strip a bit longer before folding it lengthwise one more time. It is also worthwhile to further lengthen the strip by pulling it again – the thinner the individual layers of dough that now lie on top of each other, the more beautiful the structure of your bread will be later.
Roll up the strip into a spiral, which now consists of many individual buttery dough layers – just like puff pastry or a croissant.
When you have formed all the spirals, heat a large coated pan.
Take each spiral and flatten it from the top, just as you did with the balls. You will see the round structures. Do this until a thin flat patty has formed again. Our best ones were about 12 to 14 cm (4 to 5 inches) in diameter.
Now fry your breads with a little oil (there should still be some of the specified amount of oil left) on both sides in the pan until they are golden browned.
We recommend doing this over medium heat. If the pan is too hot, the bread will burn on the outside before it is done on the inside. If the temperature is too low, you won’t get a nice crust. You may have to experiment a bit until you find the perfect temperature.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 8 flatbreads / 4 people):
For the dough:
150 g plain wheat flour
150 g durum wheat semolina
1 teaspoon of salt (if you want to eat the bread sweet, a pinch of salt is enough)
1 tsp sugar
200 ml warm water
16 g dry yeast (1 sachet)
For the processing:
110 ml good vegetable oil
60 g unsalted butter
40 g durum wheat semolina