98

I'm going to agree with Szczerzo about this being an anthropologic question, but I'm going to disagree about the cause. While nomadic lifestyles was an influence, it's not causative. I'm also going to ignore the distinction made about raising agents in the OP, because it's factually incorrect; most Arab/Levantine/Turkish/Kurdish breads use yeast. Instead, ...


35

It's actually an anthropologic question. It's more due to Europe being settled down while Middle Eastern peoples were still nomadic. Raising bread, even with agents, is very hard when you move or don't have much time. For a raised bread you need a starter and few hours; for a flat bread you need a few minutes. Not to mention flat bread can be baked ON an ...


18

Most likely the flatbread is not very pliable when cold. I believe that Subway forces the heating of the flatbread to keep it from splitting when they fold it.


14

The magic word is "water" - the dough needs sufficient moisture to stay moist while it expands to one big pocket and enough to generate the steam to make that pocket. Most people when doing doughs make them too dry because they're easier to work with. As the dough rests, it will pull together more. Ideally make your doughs for this kind of bread slightly ...


13

It's also worth mentioning that many flatbreads have a rather long storage life. For instance, the Sardinian pane carasau is split and cooked a second time so that it could be used on months long trips. It's quite possible that the different climates and jobs led to differences in bread making.


12

Consider the humble supermarket pita. The kind with the ridiculously long shelf life. Straight from the packet, it's pretty miserable. It's chewy - not in a good way. It tastes of cardboard. Toast it however, and it comes to life. The slight browning of the outside improves the flavour. The steaming of the inside softens the bread inside. I'll bet the ...


11

If you are having trouble rolling dough to a uniform thickness then you might consider putting training wheels on your rolling pin until you get more practiced. http://www.amazon.com/Rolling-Hills-Pin-Rings/dp/B000I1ZXBC (I don't know anything about this particular brand.) These rubber bands fit on your rolling pin and act as spacers so you can enforce a ...


8

You need a temperature of at least 250°C (480°F) to get a real good steam puff inside the bread the moment it goes in oven. It is the initial rush of heat that cooks just the outside layer, and also makes steam inside which forces open the bread and makes a pocket. Once the bread is partially cooked through, you wont get a single clean pocket Traditional ...


8

Perhaps the difference is not so much between leavened and unleavened as between flat and loaf. In colder climates, there is an existing need for a persistent fire, which has been lit for heating, as well as cooking. In those cultures, ovens and baking are more likely to arise. Even the leavened breads of the Middle East and South Asia tend to be flat, and ...


7

The flavor you want is from the high heat of the clay oven (around 900F, much like a wood-fired pizza oven). Probably nothing you can do to truly replicate it at home, but here are some things to try: Use a pizza stone in the oven, and turn the oven to MAX, as hot as it will go (above 500F). Let it preheat for 45 min at least to get the stone to full heat. ...


7

Chapatis are a pain to shape perfectly; however, I have found a few tricks that helped me conquer the Australia-Shaped Chapati Problem: Roll the dough into rough balls, and allow it 10 minutes to rest so the gluten can relax. Flour both the work surface and the dough THOROUGHLY. Flour is your lubricant here, and you can never have too much lubricant. I like ...


7

If we're talking about the same sub making restaurant, their flatbread contains the following ingredients: Enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, malted barley flour, ascorbic acid), water, soybean oil, yeast; contains 2% or less of: nonfat dry milk, wheat gluten, salt, dough conditioners (guar gum,...


6

The reason subway has to "heat" the flatbread is to make it soft. If you want it toasted you get it with the meat and cheese toasted under a hotter setting that actually toasts it. When subway released the flatbread they understood some people don't want there sub toasted so in order to comply with this request they have the option of just heating the ...


6

As @Marcin stated in the comments above, there are no sources for the answers given, and many of the answers have issues: Materials, it may not be the prairie, but wheat, spelt, barley, and rye were all available and used for breads even in the ancient Middle East Resources, sure, there's less wood for ovens and flatbread cooks more quickly, but desert ...


5

Although it doesn't simulate a tandoor, I stopped my quest for making the best naan after seeing the result from a Dutch oven on max heat. Fantastic. Lid on keeps the moisture in and stops it from going too crispy or hard, it bubbles up and parts of it get that slight charring. Use a cheap Dutch oven as the charring marked my expensive one. Try it, you'll ...


5

Your essential problem is heat. Like pizza and many other flat breads, its best done HOT. Instead of the oven, try a cast iron pan on high on the stove. My pan on an electric stove will easily reach over 800F. Do it just for a minute or two and flip. Its not quite the same as an 800-900 F oven, but works. A user below suggests a cast iron (un-enameled) ...


4

To add one more tip to the excellent advice of both rfusca and Laura: How you roll it out does matter. After resting the dough, you should pull off balls an roll them out smoothly, from the center, in a few quick rolls. Three issues will rolling out will prevent pitas from pocketing well: If you allow the dough to fold over at all while rolling out If ...


4

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 ...


4

The crispness comes from the very high heat of the very thick cast iron skillet used in restaurants. The usual non stick pan, unless it is made of heavy cast iron, cannot produce that crispness. Kind of the American reason why oven pizza does not come out nice and crusty like the stone oven pizza. The ingredient is the very high heat that is missing here.


4

If you are using the same dough then the issue lies in your preparation of the dough. There are too many variables to this, I would approach this systematically, eliminating variables as you go by watching your mother in law and measuring how she does things. Specifically I would look for: Maybe your roti is too thick or too thin, measure the weight of the ...


3

Your list of ingredients doesn't contain any kind of leavening agent. A leavening agent is an ingredient that helps to incorporate air and gas bubbles into the dough of the product. Without that inclusion of air bubbles, the dough doesn't have anything to lift it and make it lighter, so it will fall and become heavy, doughy and sad. In many traditional ...


3

The problem is the rolling pin... Indian rolling pins are thicker at the centre, and taper towards the end. This helps to spread the dough into a more circular circle.


3

Knead you dough nice and soft and even. Make smalls rolls of the dough for each chapati and leave them for over 5 minutes. Flatten the chapati rolls between your palms. Place a circular cut cloth of equal size on your rolling plate. Now place chapati dough at the center of the circular on the rolling plate. Start rolling the chapati and keep turning the ...


3

A quick hack is to place a medium-sharp-edged round shaped container top on the rolled Australian-shaped chapati to trim the rough edges :-)


3

Having just eaten an untoasted Subway flatbread sandwich, I noticed the bread tasted like flour and had an unpleasant texture. So they "have" to toast it to make it taste good, not for any weird reason about chemicals.


3

Yes, you can make perfectly acceptable naan breads without the need for a tandoori oven. The keys are very high heat, ie under a domestic grill (watch while they puff up and brown) and yoghurt. You can also make them with baking powder without the need for yeast, which produces surprisingly good results.


2

I've found the easiest way to re-hydrate your dough is to simply keep dipping your hands in warm water as you're kneading until you reach the desired texture. If you hydrate too much and your dough becomes sticky, add more flour again.


2

Take a chunk of the chapatti dough, roll it lightly to form a ball, and flatten it slightly between your palms. Dip in flour, place on a floured surface, and roll it flat with a rolling pin, rotating it a couple of times to ensure even thickness. You sometimes see people flapping the chapatti from hand to hand, but they've had years of practice; life's too ...


2

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 ...


2

The crispiness also depends on your rice to urad dal ratio. If its 2:1 or 3:1, and the batter is thinner, you can get crispy dosas at home as well. I use a heavy non-stick pan which doesn't require oil coating, but you can add a tiny amount of oil, especially around the edges to get extra crispiness. Here's a video which show what I have suggested: https://...


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