Long before there were ovens, bread—the first was flatbread—was baked on flat stones in a fire. When the skillet finally evolved, in ancient Mesopotamia and Greece, people still cooked everything over a fire (here’s the history of the frying pan).
Flatbreads are the simplest breads, requiring no leavening—although in modern times, some are leavened to produce a lighter, airier, more easily chewed bread.
Flatbread can be extremely thin, like a tortilla, one millimeter or so in thickness, to a few centimeters thick, like focaccia.
Each region of the world developed a flatbread; for example:
Using five pantry staples, you can have fresh, hot bread on the table in less than 30 minutes with no need to turn on the oven. Instead, use a skillet or stove-top griddle.
The dough comes together very quickly, and you’ll have something special for breakfast, brunch or dinner.
RECIPE: SKILLET FLATBREAD
Ingredients For 10 to 12 Flatbreads
1. PLACE the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add the oil and ice water and mix to make a soft, cohesive dough. Adjust with more flour or water as needed. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
2. PREHEAT a heavy-bottomed skillet on the stove top. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat until the oil starts to shimmer in the pan.
3. DIVIDE the dough into 10 to 12 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh about 1- 1/2 to 2 ounces, about the size of a large egg. Dredge each piece in flour, and roll to a rough circle or oval about 1/4″ thick. If you prefer, hand shape the pieces by flattening between your palms.
4. FRY the flatbreads in the hot oil in batches. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and fry on the second side for another 2 minutes. Add more oil as needed for frying successive batches.
5. TRANSFER from the pan to a rack to cool slightly before serving.
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