"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
I ran out of rice cakes the other day, but I wanted something to spread things on. So of course, my first thought was “Why don’t I make bread on the stove?”
I was introduced to the concept of making a few quick Chapati (a Kenyan flatbread) by good friends of mine, and was reminded of it when I visited my friend in Italy recently. When you really have the hang of the recipe (I don’t yet), it’s fairly simple to throw together fresh, tasty flatbread at the drop of a hat.
I based my recipe on this one, modified here for readability and with suggestions for the less equipped baker.
2 cups of Flour
1 teaspoon salt
About 1 cup of cold water
Oil – olive or vegetable oil are both fine
You will also need:
A rolling pin or a glass bottle
A large, flat surface for rolling, or a large cutting board
(recommended) A piece of plastic wrap
2. Add enough water to make a fairly stiff dough. I used about a cup, but you should add water in small splashes from a cup and work it into the dough. You can always add more flour if it becomes too wet.
3. Knead well. If you’re not familiar with kneading, work the dough by folding and pushing it until it becomes smooth.
4. Put the the dough on a floured board (a smooth, cleaned countertop can be used in a pinch) and place the plastic wrap on top (this helps when rolling). Roll out into a fairly thick circle. Use a rolling pin, of you have one, or a glass bottle (if it has something in it, make sure it’s closed tightly). If you don’t have either, you can use your palms, but it will be difficult.
6. From the center of the circle, make a cut to one edge.
7. Roll up dough into a cone, press both ends in, and make a
ball again. Repeat steps four to seven 2-3 more times.
8. Divide dough into 4 or 5 balls, and roll each out into a thin circle (you can keep them on separate plates on the side). Heat a frying pan over moderate heat and add some oil, coating the pan.
9. Fry chapati slowly until golden brown on each side (it should puff up). Serve hot or cold. Make a few extra and stick them in the fridge, wrapped in plastic.