Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flatbread Heaven 2

My family loves flatbread season.  Another go-to recipe in my collection is chapati.  I was introduced to chapati by Marc Bittman of the New York Times.  He published an easy grilling recipe in August 2008 and I have been using it since with some modifications.
 Buckwheat chapati dough can be made in the food processor.
I like his recipe since it starts in the food processor.  This of course makes clean up easy.  Bittman's recipe suggests using whole wheat flour with an addition of all purpose flour.  I decided to use buckwheat because I was out of whole wheat flour.

Once the dough is mixed in the food processor, it's important to let the chapati rest for thirty minutes.  The resting helps to soften the bran in the flour and make it easy to roll out.  I decided to use my tortilla press for making the chapati.
It is easy to use a tortilla press with buckwheat chapati.
Before pressing the dough into discs, I usually preheat the gas grill on high for fifteen minutes.  Feel free to use a charcoal grill if you are cooking additional foods.  Traditional chapati is rolled out on a counter dusted with flour.  I decided to use a tortilla press.   A cut open plastic zip top bag is necessary for this process.  I will warn you that the dough does stick slightly to the plastic after flattening it.  To avoid this, you can sprinkle a little all purpose flour onto the plastic before pressing the dough into chapati discs.

The chapati are layered between parchment paper to keep them from sticking.
Chapatis are usually brushed with ghee (clarified butter) to retain the bread's softness.  I chose to use a thyme butter brush (I used DadCooksDinner for inspiration) for half the bread and olive oil for the remaining half.  My children aren't quite fans of green herbs yet.  I also brought sea salt to the grill to sprinkle on the bread after grilling.
From Left to Right, Clockwise:  Thyme butter, spanish olive oil and French sea salt.
After scraping the grill and brushing the grates with oil,  I turned the burners down to medium heat.  The grilling goes quickly so don't walk away.  After placing about six chapatis on the grill, I cooked them for two minutes while covered.  You may want to check them sooner if your charcoal grill is really hot.  Flip the bread and cook while covered another two minutes,  The bread should be puffy and darkened with grill marks.  Brush each chapati with oil or butter and sprinkle with salt.
Grilled chapati can be enjoyed with your next grilled dinner.
Chapatis are a great accompaniment to grilled chicken, pork or fish.  I make them whenever we need a starch addition to our meal.  It is such an effortless way to make bread without opening the oven door or adding yeast.  Summer is prime time for flatbread!

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