Caveman FlatbreadSteven Raichlen
This Caveman Flatbread is cooked directly on the embers. Serve this recipe with Ember-Roasted Vegetable Salad (Escalivada).
- Yield: Makes 20 to 24 breads, enough to serve 8 to 10
- 2 packages dry yeast (5 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ¼ cups warm water
- 2/3 cup plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 to 4 tablespoons for oiling the bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
- Coarse sea salt, for topping the bread
1A: Make the dough—mixer method: Place the yeast, sugar, and water in the mixer bowl. Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the yogurt, salt, 1 tablespoon oil, and 4 cups flour. Mix at low speed in a mixer fitted with a dough hook to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and moist, but not downright sticky—if too wet, add a little more flour.
1B: Make the dough—food processor method: Place the yeast, sugar, and water in a measuring cup and mix well with a fork. Let stand for 10 minutes. Place 3-1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in the processor and process to mix. Add the yeast mixture, yogurt, and oil and process to obtain a smooth dough. Add flour as needed.
1C: Make the dough—hand method: Place the yeast, sugar, and water in a measuring cup and mix well with a fork. Let stand for 10 minutes. Mound 3-1/2 cups flour on your work surface and make a well in the center. Place the yeast mixture, yogurt, salt, sugar, and oil in the center. Starting mixing the dough with your fingertips, working from the center outward, gradually incorporate the flour. Work the dough into a ball, then knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Add flour as needed.
2: Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size. You can do this 1 to 2 hours before grilling or you can make the dough the night before and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.
3: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. (Use natural lump charcoal only as you’ll be cooking the breads directly in the embers.) Fan the embers before grilling in them to blow off the excess ash. (A folded newspaper works well for this.)
4: Turn the dough onto a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces. Roll each into a 2-inch ball. Arrange the balls on an oiled baking sheet with about 1 inch between each. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean dish towel. Bring the dough balls, a baking sheet, a bottle or dish of oil, and a bowl of the coarse salt grill side.
5: Sprinkle flour on your work surface. Place a dough ball on top and press it into an oval shape. Using a rolling pin, roll it to form a circle 6 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with a few more breads, adding oil to the pan as needed. Generously flour each bread and place on a sheet pan.
6: Fan the embers to dislodge any loose ash. Lay one or two dough circles directly on the embers. Grill until browned and blistered on the bottom and puffed on the top, 20 to 30 seconds. Turn the breads and grill the same way to brown on both sides, 20 to 30 seconds more.
7: Transfer to breads to a cutting board or basket. Tear into pieces and use for scooping up the escalivada. Don’t be surprised when people ask for seconds and thirds.
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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2019 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein.