Potato Flatbread, who knew it would be so easy?
I have never been afraid of yeast. That demonstration at cooking school seemed to explain things perfectly. Two small balls of fresh yeast on the bench, roll one ball with a little sugar or salt dissolved in some water and it bubbles full of life and energy. Roll the other ball in a heap of sugar and it dies a limp liquidy death. Like me, fresh yeast revels in a little salty or sweet, but is overcome by over indulgence.
Fast forward a few years and was toiling in the kitchen, mixing and kneading several batches of 5kg pizza dough daily. 500g of fresh yeast, 1L lukewarm water a sprinkle of sugar. I was, and am still enchanted by the way the yeast wakes up, has a little breakfast, shakes sleep off and expands, as if to say ‘I’m ready for the world’.
Sachets of dried yeast don’t hold the same wonder for me. I see the green and yellow packaging and remember smelling and, unfortunately, tasting it as a child. Instant dried yeast is what the recipe called for, and I couldn’t find fresh available anywhere.
I was actually looking for a tortilla de patatas recipe in Stephanie Alexander’s A Cook’s Companion, when I came across this ‘marvellous and versatile recipe’ for Potato Flatbreads, and with days off over the easter long weekend, I decided to give it a go.
Potato has been used in bread extensively by the Irish to use up leftover mashed potato. This approach is more of a Mediterranean interpretation.
My flatbreads were airy but retaining a degree of chewiness and a slight crunchy brown base. Topped with fruity extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano and sea salt. I don’t think the potato added much flavour to the actual bread, in fact, most of the flavour came from the topping. Instead the addition of potato affected the texture, making it more dense and adding that delectable chewiness.
The first batch was devoured with Green Lentil and Anchovy Dip, the remainder we dunked into a spicy white bean and chorizo soup, spiked with paprika and and heavy with red capsicum.
(Adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s A Cook’s Companion)
2 cups cooked potato, mashed and cooled (I used sebago’s)
750g 00 type strong flour
2t dried yeast (or 1 sachet)
2/3 cup lukewarm water
extra virgin olive oil
Dissolve yeast in a little of the warm water. Mix flour, salt and potato until consistently combined. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the dissolved yeast, 2T olive oil and a little more water. Combine gradually, until dough comes together, adding more water if necessary. Knead by hand, or in a mixer with the dough hook attachment fitted, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Return dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Knock back and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each section into ball, place on a tray, cover and prove for another 10 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 200 celcius. Take a piece of dough and stretch it out, pulling the edges away from the center with your fingers. This can be done with a rolling pin, but I like the rustic way this looks, and found that small holes are ok, as they get crispy and nice. Place stretched dough onto a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and oregano.
Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until bottoms are browned and breads are cooked through.
Flatbreads can be eaten hot, cold or warm, or reheated.
(Please note: My oven is an ancient relic, so use your own intuition with cooking times for this recipe!)