Friday, May 15, 2009

Testing Bittman's flatbread.

The most underrated food celebrity in the many-starred food celebrity universe: Mark Bittman. Not only does he write excellent cookbooks, make hilarious TV series which may be airing on your local PBS station, and often dress like a parody of a Frenchman, but he's also, thankfully, all over the Internet.

In April, Bittman did a great video demonstrating an easy flatbread recipe (go check it out, at least for the brilliant opening sequence), and Jon and I didn't get around to trying it until tonight.

In the basic recipe, Bittman suggests using whole wheat flour - although in the video, he suggests adding a bit of corn meal. For extra fanciness, he suggests adding light coconut milk in place of water, and even curried cauliflower - which seems like we're venturing pretty deep into uthappam land.

Anyways, we're gluttons so we obviously had no light coconut milk around. We also happened to be out of regular whole wheat flour, so instead, Jon improvised a blend of whole wheat pastry flour (less gluten) with bread flour (more gluten), plus some semolina for tastiness. Here is the rundown:

Mark Bittman is likely NOT lying to us when he says this flatbread recipe is easy and good.

  • 0.25 C semolina flour
  • 0.25 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 0.5 C King Arthur bread flour
  • 1 can (14 oz) of coconut milk (full-fat!)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Oven-safe pan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients - dry stuff first.

3. Heat olive oil in pan. Once pan is hot, pour batter in, then put the whole pan in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour.

Results and Analysis
This is what it looked like fresh out of the oven:

Then, Jon exercised his flipping skills so we could admire the flatbread's purportedly more attractive bottom:

I will not impose value judgments on the attractiveness of our breads. ALL of our breads are beautiful to me, top, bottom, and all-around. An edge shot:

This bread was easy, and tasty, and, indeed, flat. The biggest bummer was that it took 50 minutes to bake. Also, perhaps because we used full-fat coconut milk, it was a tad underdone on the inside while still nice and crisp on the outside.


Sue Du said...

sylvia et al - I have to say that I love this blog so much - and it makes me want to bake bread!

:) the bagels look AMAZING (and as you know, bagels in CA stink).

big hugs,

sue anderdu

sarah emily said...

oh, I agree about Bittman. the man has a no-nonsense, full-love relationship with food.