flatbread with no/low marginal labor per serving, like a loaf of bread?
October 8, 2019 6:20 PM   Subscribe

I like pita, roti, and bing, but they are more labor intensive to make. Some of them need to be cooked individually in a pan, and even the ones that can be baked en masse in an oven need to be rotated in and out because they don't pack as efficiently into the space. Contrast with, for example, a Pullman loaf, where I can throw a kilo of flour into my oven and walk away. Is there any way to get the best of both worlds?

Things I like about flatbreads:

- less leavened or unleavened
- crust all over
- can pre-form sandwiches (e.g., onion kulchas, cheese arepas, paneer roti)
- better surface-area-to-volume ratio for spreading or dipping

Things I like about loaves of bread:

- easy to make in bulk

Note I'm looking for stuff that's still somewhat soft. E.g., no hardtack, matzo, or cracker recipes, please. Those either break down too easily in storage and transport, or don't break down easily enough in my mouth.
posted by meaty shoe puppet to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Does foccacia work for you? It is leavened somewhat, and fiddly to put together (i.e. kneading etc) but very easy to make-ahead and then when you do make it you can cook a TON at once, make a lot of different kinds at once (incl stuffed kinds) and it stores/stacks/freezes really nicely. This is the recipe I use though there may be even simpler recipes (possible example).
posted by jessamyn at 6:32 PM on October 8, 2019 [7 favorites]

In the extremum, you could get yourself a automatic roti machine.
posted by saeculorum at 6:44 PM on October 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

Would a semi-homemade option work? Many Indian grocery stores sell already-rolled, but uncooked roti in the freezer section. Unlike western frozen foods, the ingredients lists tend to be the same as they would be if you made them at home. If you need to make a lot, you could also put a pan on every stove element you have, and cook several at a time.
posted by embrangled at 6:56 PM on October 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Have you seen this AskMe thread from 2011, which called for easy-to-make, yeast-free bread suggestions? My recipe for bannock bread is in it.
posted by orange swan at 7:13 PM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by snuffleupagus at 7:15 PM on October 8, 2019

Socca bread maybe?
posted by Violet Hour at 2:39 AM on October 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Naans ?
You don’t need to bother with the seeds or garlic or coriander and in fact in my lazy experience just flour, water and baking powder works pretty well.
posted by Segundus at 3:34 AM on October 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Definitely get pre-made frozen rotis and parathas. They’re common in supermarkets here in the UK but you might have to go to a south asian grocery store. Few minutes in a frying pan, no oil, flip once or twice. Lovely rotis. My partner is Indian and this is how we do it!
posted by Ted Maul at 4:22 AM on October 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Would this Tibetan Flatbread made in a skillet work for you? Everything should be done in 20 minutes or less, including preparation.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 5:18 AM on October 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hmm, I sympathize - I love making/eating flatbread but it's always more labor-intensive than other bread. I'm sure you realize it's challenging challenging because the whole flat/crust-all-over shape really necessitates the lower bread-to-heat density in the oven or on the stove that makes the process more annoying.

What about (savory) pancakes? You could do them with heartier grains to get them more bread-like. You still have to do them a few at a time but they're way faster and easier than something you have to actually form first. Lots of examples here.
posted by mosst at 7:09 AM on October 9, 2019

I'm wondering if technique and/or hardware are more important than recipe. For example, I've cooked naan on an electric griddle. Due to the large surface area, a lot could be done at one time, and it didn't take long. There is a skillet recipe for naan here.

Another approach would be to keep dough in the fridge and cook on demand. Chop a hunk off a prepared lump of dough, flatten it with your hands and cook in a non-stick skillet. This would work with just about any pizza dough. This way the "extra time" would run with whatever other preparations you are busy with.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Do you have the ability to get an extra oven rack,? You might have to rotate them or take them out at different times but it would let you increase the density.
posted by Lady Li at 6:33 AM on October 11, 2019

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