My question is about a recipe for hushva nan (AKA pebbled Persian bread). The bread is awesome, but I don't really understand the recipe.
Hushva nan = a leavened flatbread with a slightly glossy sheen when "baked." [justification for scare quotes below] The process goes like this:
Ingredients: 7 cups flour, 1 T salt, 3.5 cups water (total), 1 T yeast, 1 T oil.
1. Mix ingredients together, form dough.
2. Knead for about 6-8 minutes.
3. Let dough rise until it has doubled in size.
4. Punch down dough, knead in 1/2 cup of water (about 2 minutes).
5. Let dough rise again until it has doubled in size.
6. Punch down dough, divide into 8 pieces.
7. With *wet* hands on a *wet* surface, shape into flat rounds.
8. "Bake" each round like this: one side on stove-top in a heavy pan that starts hot but finishes warm (4 minutes), the other side finished under the broiler (3-4 minutes).
As I say, the result is awesome bread. But here's what I don't understand:
a. Why knead in 1/2 cup of water at step 4? Why not just make a wetter dough at step 1? Does the extra knead contribute to the glossy sheen of the finished crust?
b. The kneading time at step 2 is shorter than most kneading times from this recipe book (generally about 10-12 minutes). Is this because there are two rounds of kneading? What if I just made a wet dough and kneaded for 12 minutes? Would I get the same result?
This recipe is from the excellent but sometimes mystifying Flatbreads & Flavors