In 2012 we had a house fire and, among the many losses due to the asbestos wrapped around the pipes in the duct system, were my files of recipes, accumulated over the years, torn from magazines, or scribbled on the backs of napkins after a delicious dinner. I was sorry that all of this material that I mined for cooking ideas had to go, but truly only mourned the loss of one item, written on the back of a receipt - a fabulous and easy yogurt flatbread recipe that I really loved to make. It was very forgiving and always came out of the oven perfect, no matter what changes I made to the flour or if I added spices or toppings to the mix. I have been trying to recreate the recipe for years, sometimes coming close but never quite attaining the perfection of the original.
A few years and several moves later, as I was going through my books in order to cull the excess, I shook a paperback and out fluttered a tiny piece of paper - and there, somehow, was my recipe! The book that kept it safe was given to the local library since I obviously hadn't opened it since 2012 but I have been making these ever since. The recipe still yields, hands down, the best flatbreads that I have ever made.
Makes 6 flatbreads.
1/3 cup + 2 cups + 3/4 cups white flour (or half white and half whole wheat) + some extra for rolling out the dough at the end
1 tsp yeast
2 Tbsps plain, full-fat yogurt
2 tsps sugar
2 tsps salt
2 Tbsps + 1 cup warm water
Stir the yeast, sugar and the 2 tablespoons of warm water together in a large bowl. Then add the third cup of flour and the yogurt and stir together to form a thick paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside on your counter for a couple of hours. As mentioned before, this is a very forgiving dough so there is no set time to get back to it. After a couple of hours the paste will be full of air bubbles but I have left it for up to 6 without a problem.
Add 2 cups of the flour, the salt and the remaining water to what is officially called a poolish and which I have been calling a paste, and stir to combine until a straggly dough forms.
Line your counter with a piece of parchment paper and dump the remaining 3/4 cup of flour onto its surface.
Dip your hand into the flour and, with floured palm keeping the dough from sticking, transfer the dough from bowl to floured parchment. Roll the dough in the flour to keep it from being tacky and sticking to the parchment paper and start kneading.
Knead until all of the flour has been incorporated into the dough and a soft dough has formed. This will only take a few minutes.
Wash and dry the bowl that you used to make the dough, roll the dough lightly in a tiny bit of flour and put it back in the bowl. Cover and set aside for an additional couple of hours to rise again.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Sprinkle the parchment paper with a little flour and flour your palm again in order to remove the dough from the bowl without it sticking. Cut the ball of dough into 6 equal sized portions. Roll or pat each one into a circle, using a bit more flour if needed to keep the flatbreads from sticking.
You have 2 options for cooking the flatbreads.
The first, illustrated above by a halved and stacked flatbread, is to stick them in the oven as is and cook them for 25 minutes before removing them and letting them sit for 5 minutes before eating them. The end result will be a pale and soft flatbread, prefect for tearing into chunks and dipping into stews and sauces such as the chicken and yellow vegetable curry with which I served them.
The second, is to griddle them first. This will add texture, color, a crispy crust and charred flavor. To do so, heat a griddle pan and then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook each flatbread for 5 minutes on each side and then finish in the oven for 15 minutes. The 5 minute rest time before eating is mandatory here as well and this version of the flatbreads stand up to spreads and salads as well.