Seasoned Flat-Bread

  • Seasoned Flat-Bread With Red Onion and Sumac

Lebanese meze always end with mixed grill flourish: tender pieces of lamb, chargrilled chicken marinated in garlic or minced meat kafta skewers. The latter come on a bed of onions slices rubbed in sumac and hidden like a jewel in the pouch of Arabic bread, which had been seasoned with oil and red pepper.

Sometimes having less is more; I longed for kafta and wine coloured onions, but I only had chicken, flour, water, yeast and good will. Two hours later as I had baked the pastries and cooked the chicken I was able to revel in tastes which reminded me of home.

The pastries could also be topped, cheese, tomato and olives or simply with a dollop of labneh.

You can also make a whole batch of these breads, freeze them and re-heat them from frozen. Middle eastern delis will sell the pepper paste, if you don’t have it, add a sprinkling of chilli to the tomato paste and oil.

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 400 g white flour
  • 100 g fine semolina flour
  • 1 sachet quick yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 350 ml tepid water

For the topping:

  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1½ tablespoons pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Sumac
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt

Method

  1. To make the dough using a machine: put the flour into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Add the salt and the quick yeast and mix thoroughly. With the machine running at a moderate speed, incorporate the olive oil first and then the water. Keep working the dough until it looks uniform and feels soft. Transfer to a floured bowl, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm and draught-free place until it has doubled in size.
  3. To make the dough by hand: place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. With the tip of your fingers incorporate the olive oil into the flour. Make a well in the center and gradually add the water. When you’ve combined all the ingredients, transfer the sticky mixture to a work surface. Knead for a good 5 minutes; the more you knead, the less sticky is the dough. Stop when it is smooth and comes away cleanly from the worktop.
  5. Shape it into a ball and place it in a floured bowl. Leave it in a warm draft-free space, covered with a clean tea towel.
  6. Depending on the temperature of the room the dough will rise and double in size within 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to the highest setting or 220°C
  8. In one bowl, mix together the onions, sumac, salt and 3 tablespoons olive oil and set aside.
  9. In another bowl, blend the pepper paste and tomato paste with 3 tablespoons olive oil and set aside.
  10. Divide the dough into 10 portions. Dust them with flour and roll each one to a round disc about ½ cm thick.
  11. Place the dough circles on an oiled oven sheet.
  12. Spread the pepper paste mixture onto the dough pastry and arrange a tablespoon of onion on top.
  13. Bake for 14 minutes.
14 minutes

Baking time

45 to 75 minutes

Preparation time

10 Flat breads

Serves

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