Khubz – Iraqi flatbread

This is one of those adapt as you go along recipes – you need to judge the look of the dough as you go and add more water or flour to suit.

  • In about 1 cup of warm water, stir in 1tsp honey or sugar and sprinkle over 1 sachet of active yeast.Let sit for 10mins or so until the yeast has foamed up nicely on top of the water.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of plain flour with 1tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Then add sufficient warm water (I added about 1/2 cup) to make a springy dough. It’s best to mix this all in with your hands so you can judge the dough to be right. When the dough is nicely combined and you’ve collected all the stray floury bits into the dough ball, cover the bowl with a towel and leave it somewhere warm for about 30mins.
  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius (or 220 if your oven’s not the hottest) on grill or top bake setting, and move rack to top setting.
  • When the dough has risen by about double and looks nice and shiny, knead it briefly, then separate into 6 balls.
  • Working on a floured surface, roll out each ball to about 20cm diameter. At this stage, you can add seeds and herbs if desired –  just brush the rolled dough with some olive oil and sprinkle over sesame seeds or za’atar*.
  • Place on a tray You can probably fit two at a time in the oven to cook, so you can get a little factory line going, rolling out the following breads as the first ones cook. Cook on the first side for about 5mins, until all puffed up and starting to brown in spots, then flip and cook on second side for just a few minutes before moving to a rack to cool. The khubz can kept for a few days or even frozen if you wish, but is best reheated (not in the microwave!) before serving.

Notes:

You might notice the subsequent breads cook better than the first ones, as they’ve been rolled out for a bit longer. If you like, you can roll out the breads and leave them to prove for a bit before baking.

*Za’atar is a heady mix of wild thyme, sesame seeds and spices, found at good gourmet stores and Arab Grocers’. Ubiquitous across the Middle East. I use Sami’s Kitchen blend: http://www.samiskitchen.co.nz/

This recipe lends itself to experimentation; go forth and adapt!

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