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Rachel Roddy’s Recipe: Yoghurt Flatbreads
The lesser-spotted Rachel Roddy flatbread. Photograph: Rachel Roddy/The Guardian

At the beginning of Fergus Henderson’s book “Nose to Tail Eating”, before the contents and the introduction, there is a page titled “Four things I should mention.” The first of these details the unique order of service at Sweetings, a fish and oyster bar in London’s City area. The last piece of advice reads: “Do not be afraid of cooking, as your ingredients will know and misbehave. Enjoy your cooking and the food will behave; moreover, you will pass the pleasure on to those who eat it.”

While I like both parts of this advice, I favor the first part. It is incredibly reassuring, especially when considering that the term “afraid” could be swapped with words like out-of-sorts, tired, grumpy, and busy. It is also an amusing perspective on cooking, reflecting my own unpredictable relationship with a kitchen full of ingredients that either behave or misbehave, influenced by variables such as the day, weather, and other factors.

This week’s variables resulted in odd meringue biscuits, a chickpea flour bake that turned out unexpectedly despite being in the same bowl, tin, and oven position I always use, and a vegetable stew with lemon slices that a friend described as tasting “cross.”

While this was all very unsatisfying, it was funny to think of the ingredients as a group of kids taking advantage of the situation. As I poured flour into the bowl to make flatbreads, I wondered if it could sense my fear and smell my allergies. Would they fail to rise because I was grumpy? As it turns out, flatbreads work even when you are fearful, tired, grumpy, and sneezing. This is especially true if you have a guide like Laura Lazzaroni, who recommends you hope for the flatbread to puff up, but not to expect it. Today’s recipe is inspired by Laura’s, with the addition of yogurt inspired by Turkish bazlama.

When making the flatbreads, it is a good idea to stack and wrap them in a tea towel while you continue cooking the rest. The steam and retained warmth keep them soft and pliable. You can decide whether to brush the flatbreads with olive oil or melted butter or sprinkle them with herbs. Bring these to the table along with a selection of fillings and let everyone fill and fold their flatbread as they wish. Potential fillings include tuna or tinned sardines, sliced tomato, cucumber or pickles, salad leaves and herbs, soft cheese or ricotta, yogurt mixed with grated cucumber and mint, ham, mashed beans, and sliced hard-boiled eggs.

Makes 4 flatbreads:

250g plain flour
1 tsp dried yeast, baking powder, or a spoonful of sourdough starter
150ml plain, whole yogurt
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil

For the fillings:
Possible options:
Tinned tuna or sardines, sliced tomato, salad leaves and/or herbs, soft cheese, ham, mashed beans, sliced hard-boiled egg

Working in a bowl, mix the flour and yeast. Add the yogurt, water, olive oil, and salt, and bring everything together into a ball of dough. Knead gently until the dough is soft and smooth. Divide the dough into four parts, shape each quarter into a smooth ball, and place them on a lightly floured board. Cover with a clean cloth or clingfilm for 30 minutes.

Heat an iron or nonstick pan. On a lightly floured surface, pat one dough ball into a patty, then roll it into a circle the size of a dinner plate or the base of the pan.

Lift the flatbread into the pan, press it down with your fingertips to spread it across the base of the pan (be very careful), and cook for one to two minutes. The flatbread should puff up in places. Check that the underside has dark amber, leopard patches, then flip the flatbread, cook on the other side for up to a minute, then lift it out of the pan.

Stack and wrap the flatbreads in a tea towel while you cook the others; the steam and warmth will keep them soft and pliable. Serve the flatbreads with a selection of possible fillings and encourage everyone to fill and fold their own flatbread as they wish. You can brush them with olive oil or melted butter, or sprinkle them with herbs, before serving.

Source: The Guardian