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I admit I call many things 'my favorite' or 'the best thing ever,' but without any facetiousness or exaggeration, I can say that warm dough is my favorite and the best thing ever.
Baguettes, bagels, pizza dough, naan, rolls, loaves, English muffins, challah, sourdough, pita, pretzels, funnel cake, foccacia, ciabatta, empanadas, flour tortillas, arepas or good ol' sandwich bread (Oroweat's whole grain and oat is my sliced bread of choice)… I'm a glutton for gluten.
I have, on multiple occasions, organized my entire day around proofing and baking dough. Making bread from scratch is certainly rewarding, but it requires more time and planning than is often practical. Luckily, there are ways for more instant satisfaction. Pilsbury is a modern marvel — and delicious — but ancient cultures had quick ways to make bread, too.
All it takes is water and flour, people. A little fat and salt, a hot surface…we've got ourselves warm carbs from scratch in 15 minutes.
While I waited for my Goan-style roast chicken to cook last week, I watched the Mumbai episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations (the Rajasthan episode was better). Just before the show ended and the poultry reached an internal temperature of 165, I decided I needed some Indian flatbread, or chapati. Since it's an unlevened bread, and I'm all about skipping steps, I had hot bread by the time the bird was done resting. I even made fresh batch for my leftover chicken the next afternoon.
And guess what? It was the best thing ever.
Chapati — Indian Flatbread
Adapted from Contadina to be even quicker
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup water
- splash of oil or ghee
- shake of salt
In a bowl, mix ingredients into a dough using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, adding slightly more water if necessary. Knead a few minutes on a floured surface. Divide into 6 portions and roll into thin circles. (I don't have a rolling pin, but a tall glass works fine.)
Cook bread on a hot griddle, a few minutes on each side, just until brown spots form.
Serve hot, brushed with ghee or butter, or plain to scoop up curries.