Naomi Duguid tastes flavorful flatbreads and their delicious accompaniments in her book, Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker's Atlas. These delectable pairings include dips, chutneys, curries, salsas, and stews among others. Duguid co-wrote the book with her husband, Jeffrey Alford.
Sweet Persian Bread (nane sheer)
Makes approximately 2 dozen 3- to 4-inch square thin flatbreads.
These breads are more like cookies than flatbreads, but they are so simple and delicious we had to include them. They are made with milk and flavored with brown sugar and vanilla. We should warn you that they can be somewhat hard-to-the-bite once they've cooled, so enjoy them as they are customarily served, with a cup of hot tea or coffee, and dunk the breads to soften them. They are also delicious dunked in hot milk for a milk-and-cookies-style snack.
- 2 cups hard unbleached white flour, or more as necessary
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk, or more as necessary
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- You will need a medium-sized mixing bowl, two small (10- by 14-inch) baking sheets that can fit side by side in your oven, a rolling pin, and a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Whisk or stir together. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk and vanilla extract. Stir the flour into the milk until a soft, kneadable dough begins to form. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour; if too dry, add a little more milk. Turn out onto a lightly floured bread board and knead for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Dust two 10- by 14-inch baking sheets with flour. Divide the dough in half and roll out each piece to the size of the baking sheets (the dough should be less than 1/4 inch thick).
- Place in the center of your oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 250°F. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven. Working with one sheet at a time, turn out onto a large cutting board, and cut into 3- to 4-inch squares while the bread is still warm; it will harden quickly as it cools.
Three-Color Focaccia (focacels alla pugliese)
Makes 4 round breads about 8 inches across and 2 inches thick.
Focaccia is a flatbread traditionally cooked on the hearth, often in a skillet covered with hot embers. Nowadays it is more often baked in an oven, though a skillet is still used, as in this recipe. Focaccia comes in many forms; all tend to be thicker than most pizza and to carry their flavor in the dough rather than on the top surface. In the north of Italy focaccie are made with wheat-flour doughs and usually flavored with herbs. The potato-based dough used in this focaccia from Puglia, in the south, produces a dense-looking tender dough. This version of a focaccia recipe in Carol Field's classic The Italian Baker has the colors of the Italian flag: the red of sun-dried tomatoes and the green of sage and parsley, all floating in a pale dough -- a pleasure to look at as well as a satisfying snack or accompaniment to soup.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tsps dry yeast
- 4 to 5 cups hard unbleached white flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups chopped cooked peeled potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
- 1/2 cup potato-cooking water (or spring or tap water)
- 3/4 cup packed flat-leafed parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tsps salt
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- Olive oil for brushing
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Note: If you use dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes, drain, and pat dry before using.
Recipes from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.