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Here's the thing:

I am currently experimenting with a Oshawa diet #7 and I discovered that I can make these tasty flatbreads in my frying pan.
However, the issue is that after each flatbread is done I have to wash the pan with a wet sponge, as either flour or small parts of the dough will get burnt and stick to the pan.
This means that I have to then wait for the pan to reheat again and this, together with the washing, makes the process a lot longer.

Here's what I tried so far:

  1. I've tried removing any excess flour before frying, but some dough parts still got burned and got stuck.
  2. I put baking paper on top of the frying pan. This worked, but the baking paper got burned after each flatbread and I had to replace it each time.
  3. I also tried baking them in the oven. Although, it did work, the flavor and texture are different.
  4. My final attempt was buying a stone-effect frying pan, hoping that the cleaning process would be almost zero. True, it is far easier to wash than my previous pan, but it still takes a lot.

Now, what I would like to know is if there are other ways cooking these flatbreads (without oil) what would make the process faster and more efficient.

Thanks in advance for the help!

  • 1
    What was your first frying pan surface? I see that "stone-effect" is some new hyped non-stick - never heard of it or seen one in person. A clean smooth PTFE non-stick pan would be my best bet on fry pans I know here, and perhaps lowering the heat a bit if parts are getting burnt. If your "stone effect" pan is smooth, thus, try lowering the heat a bit. – Ecnerwal Feb 29 '16 at 3:35
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    Although you are trying to avoid oil a very small amount of it would really help your process. A light brushing or spray of vegetable oil would produce much better results for a very small amount of calories. – GdD Feb 29 '16 at 8:51
  • It sounds like your dought might be just a little wet if it's sticking. – Chris H Feb 29 '16 at 11:29
  • Nonstick for roti-like flatbreads is kind of pushing it... just too much heat ... using an old wrought-iron pan and accepting that you will occasionally have to brush ash out (can be done while hot with a grill brush. Don't use your best pan, the seasoning will suffer) might be better in the long run... – rackandboneman Apr 17 '18 at 0:46
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My family always made these Chinese flatbread-like pancakes and we cooked them on a cast-iron pan (although it was more like a frying surface or something, it was flat, round, had a handle, but no conceivable border) without using any oil. Now it is true that a little bit of the flour kept sticking to the pan, but we also had a little broom made of spliced bamboo (I think) with which we just swept the excess flour off. This of course is rather messy, but we only had to clean the stove after the cooking was done. I think this worked so well because the dough was not too wet (but also not too dry) and we covered the surface of every flatbread with a little bit of flour, which helps in making it less sticky.

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A wide enamelled dish on top of the stove might work nicely. I've got a le Creuset that I use for all sorts of things, but my excuse for buying it was flatbreads, which it does very nicely. They don't stick at all unless they're much too wet, and any split flour can just be dusted out between breads. As it's cast iron it also has a nice even heat, which reduces burning.

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    And the enamel doesn't go bad? Interesting. When I fry mekiza and other yeast dough "breads" on stovetop, I get the pan hot enough that the smoking oil triggers the fire alarm. I would expected these temperatures to damage enamel, how are you dealing with that? – rumtscho Feb 29 '16 at 11:42
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    @rumtscho one reason for choosing enamel was that it's a good surface for dry-frying this sort of thing. Oil would burn and be interesting to get off. The enamel itself is unaffected -- it's fired at a higher temperature than you could readily achieve in the kitchen. Le Creuset don't give a maximum temperature for the enamelled iron itself, but "Products with integral cast iron handles or stainless steel knobs can be used at any oven temperature" just after specifying a maximum of 250°C for the knobs in some other models. – Chris H Feb 29 '16 at 13:43
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When you tried baking them, did you use a baking stone? How did you bake them, exactly (i.e. time and temperature used, did you preheat, etc.)?

I suspect using a baking stone with sufficient preheating ought to give you the texture you are looking for.

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Have you tried putting them in the microwave to heat through and then just putting them either in a bread toaster or toaster oven for that crispness? Or placing the bread on aluminium foil to protect the pan or in a toaster oven?

  • There's now 'release' aluminum foil, which might work well for this application. I wouldn't advise the microwave for cooking bread, though. – Joe Mar 8 '16 at 19:04
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I make flatbreads on a really hot cast iron griddle -- but I don't cook them all the way through if I'm cooking for multiple people. I cook them until they're charred enough to release, and then I move them to a moderate oven to finish cooking through. This might allow you to speed up your cooking and minimize burning.

If you do need to clean the pan between batches, I'd recommend finding a stiff-bristled brush that can handle high heat. I have one that has wooden bristles that's just labeled 'pot brush'. It allows me to quickly knock off any loose debris that doesn't require much scrubbing without needing to wet down the griddle. I've also been known to take a metal spatula to scrape down the surface if needed. (I've filed down the corners of my spatulas to reduce the chance of gouging the surface).

Another option would be to cook the flatbreads on a grill. (a real grill, just just a grill pan). Any loose flour would just fall into the flames below.

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A change in technique might help, at least to keep the dough from sticking. As for random dustings of burnt flour, they can probably be brushed out dry or just left till the cooking's over - even burnt it isn't harmful. Disclaimer, I'm more familiar with chapatis or tortillas, so there might be some other differences with your specific flatbread and its dough, but the basic technique is pretty helpful.

I've found, when making chapatis or tortillas, it helps if the surface is quite dry (like dusted with flour, and brushed off). It helps a lot to hold one side of the dough, and sort of slowly sweep the other half over the hot pan, then do the other half (of the same side) before settling the dough on the pan, that side down, spend a second or so moving it around in the pan, skittering it with my fingers, to make sure it won't stick before leaving it to cook.

What exactly these few seconds do I'm not quite sure, perhaps warm or dry the surface a bit better or form the lightest crust, but it does seem to keep the dough resting lightly on the surface... and if it doesn't stick in the first few seconds, it isn't likely to stick at all.

As I said, if any flour dusts off it can be swept off with a brush, paper towel, etc, or else it can just be left till you're done and cleaned then. It won't encourage sticking, well not any more than the pan's actual surface will, if it won't come off brushing it isn't likely to come off on your flatbread, and it isn't harmful in such small amounts.

  • Ah, I knew I'd written this out somewhere before - a longer description of the same technique can be found here if that's useful to you. – Megha Jun 27 '18 at 2:17
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We made Dutch boys this weekend. It's a sort of baked pancake (quick bread) that includes no oil in the recipe, but it does rely on a heavily buttered cast iron pan, so not sure this is the answer you were looking for, but thought I would offer it.

Search for Dutch baby pancakes on the Google.

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