Baking is a great pleasure, particularly when the steps are simple and the results are glorious. I’ve become very fond of learning to make the most basic, regularly bought baked goods myself. Making breads and crackers is so astonishingly inexpensive, compared to what we could buy for the same quality. I’m regularly amazed to discover how easy they are to prepare and how versatile a good dough can be. Flatbread is one of these delights.

flatbread © elisa rathje 2012

I’ve learned to make these recipes well in advance to allow for a long, slow rise, making the breads flavourful and easily digested, in the old-time way. A few minutes to mix the ingredients, a few more to knead them. The only trick is remembering that I’ve set the mixing bowl away in the airing cupboard for the night. I’ve spent time making sourdough and was inspired by a baking class at River Cottage to try a yeast dough. I used the pizza dough recipe from my beloved copy of River Cottage Bread. I did toss in a bit of sourdough culture for some depth.

flatbread © elisa rathje 2012

Such a pleasure to roll these out. They were quite sticky and required lots of flour. With my sweet friend Heather, visiting us at our country cottage, we decided to use the dough to make ourselves wraps for lunch, cooked rapidly on a hot dry skillet and turned when puffy and golden, then filled with fresh vegetables and avocado. We were adventurous and made mozzarella together as well, and chilled it for our evening meal. So great to cook with a good friend. We rolled out the dough the same way that night, each of us choosing what we wanted on our own little pizza. Heaven. The next day I treated the bread as a tortilla, and filled it with beans, cheese, vegetables and spices. There are so many wonderful variations on leavened and unleavened flatbreads and what to eat with them, I think we’ll make it a weekly ritual.

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