Friday, August 15, 2014

Homemade Indian Flatbread

I originally posted this recipe on the blog in 2013. After I saw a recipe on Food52 today, I decided to repost mine and post theirs at the end. I hope you take some time and enjoy this great grilled bread as I did when I was a boy and also now, as an adult.

I was raised in Michigan. Michigan is a name based on the Chippewa Indian word meaning great water, referring to Michigan's Great Lakes. As a child, we learned about the many tribes that settled the various areas of Michigan.  Thirty Two counties in Michigan have Native American Indian names.We spent a vacation at the Wisconsin Dells when I was about 10 years old. It's a outdoor campground and lodge with activities and a lot of historical settings, lakes and boating activities.
There are over 20 campgrounds with acres of pine forests.
They have many water activities on the lakes and the Wisconsin River.
There was a Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show that I was fascinated with as a young boy. It has a Wildlife Park with a vintage train that you can ride.
I remember shops with souvenirs and some great food.
There were always demonstration by the various Indian Tribes representing life as it was when the area was occupied by Indians. I vividly remember cooking demonstrations where they made Indian Flatbread over an open fire. We used to eat it and I loved it. At the time I had no idea how simple it was and that it was basically a staple of Indian food. Apparently it was important that a woman learned to make the bread, because marriage was contingent on how well she did it. The bread eventually turned into the present day Tortilla that is a staple of Mexican and Tex - Mex cooking.

Here's an updated, basic recipe for Indian Flatbread

We make it on a grill over hot coals.

5 C white bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBS baking powder
1 tsp of any available fresh chopped herbs
1/3 C olive oil
2/3 C warm water.

Mix all  of the dry ingredients in a bowl using your hands
Make a well in the center and pour in the oil and 2/3 C of warm water
Continue using your hands to combine the ingredients adding a bit of water if it's too dry
Once it all starts to come together, form it into a ball

Dust your hands with some flour and knead the dough on a flat surface. This should take about 5 - 10 minutes
Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a towel and let it relax.

Divide into 10 equal balls
lightly oil your hands and press the dough balls in your palms to begin to flatten and shape them.
Slap them back and forth in your hands to turn them into a 1/2" thick circle.

Place them as you make them on a hot griddle, in a Cast Iron Skillet or on the a Grate over an open fire pit
Cook them until they begin to turn golden brown in spots.

Keep them warm in a towel lined basket, serve warm with butter
They can be served to accompany meats, stews, salads and soups.

Peace in the Kitchen!

The following is another recipe for Grilled Flatbread that I got from Food52.
This recipe makes 4 individual pieces of flatbread.

3 C Bread Flour
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Instant Yeast
1 1/4 C Warm Water
1/4 C Olive Oil + additional for brushing
Sea Salt for the finished bread
Fresh Rosemary Leaves for sprinkling at the end.

In a large mixing bowl:
Whisk well.
Add Yeast and whisk again.
Make a well in the center and add Water and Oil.
Use a wooden spoon to mix well.
Work on a floured surface and knead the dough unto a ball, about 8 minutes. (or 3 minutes on medium speed in a stand mixer with a dough hook)
Transfer to a medium bowl that has been lightly oiled,
Cover with a Tea Towel and allow to rise between 30 minutes to 1 hour. It should double in size.

Preheat a charcoal grill or a grill pan on the stove.
Divide the dough into 4 balls.
Stretch each piece gently to create an oblong shape.
Place the bread on a sheet pan and take it to the grill.
Flip the pieces once to oil the other side.
Transfer them to the grill.
Grill until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.
While they are still hot, brush with additional oil.
Sprinkle with Sea Salt and Rosemary.
They are great when slathered with Hummus or Ricotta Cheese and Pesto.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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