Friday, 7 June 2013

Khubz


Khubz (the Arabic word for bread) is just one of many flat breads cooked all over the Middle East; in the UK we are more familiar with pitta but increasingly it's possible to find alternatives, khubz being one of them. I often cook these pillows of yeasted dough to serve before a meal, they make ideal delivery systems for any number of mezze. Readers of this blog will know that I try to extend the length of time dough takes to ferment, especially when using commercial yeast, so in this case the dough is put together just before I retire for the night, using only half the normal amount of fast action yeast and leaving the addition of the salt until the following morning.



For 4 of these flat breads you will need;
400g of strong white flour
3g of fast action yeast
8g of salt
300g of water.

Begin by mixing together the flour, yeast and water to form a very soft dough. Leave overnight covered in a bowl. In the morning, add the salt and mix for 1 to 2 minutes to fully combine. Leave the dough to rise for 2 t 3 hours, stretching a folding every hour. Divide the dough into four and form into large bun shapes, The dough is sticky because of the high water content but a well floured board makes this easier, cover with a dry tea towel and leave for an hour. Heat either a flat griddle or pizza stone in the oven, switched to 240C. Roll out each bun to form a flat circle, transfer quickly to the griddle and place in the oven for 7 to 12 minutes to puff up and take on a little colour. Bake one at a time.

Notes:
You can of course reduce the length of time it takes for this dough to ferment, but the flavour will not be so good. It's also possible to make up twice the quantity and keep half the dough back in the fridge for a day or two. Allow the chilled dough to return fully to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours before dividing and forming into bun shapes.


4 comments:

  1. Do you leave your dough at room temp overnight or in the fridge?
    And why do you leave adding the salt until the following morning? I would have thought the addition of it with the rest of the ingredients would slow down the fermentation even more?
    K.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Karen, thank you for your comment, I leave the dough out overnight, but I have to say my kitchen, even in summer is always cool. I'm sure you are right in saying the addition of salt right at the beginning would help slow down the fermentation, it's just that I have for a long time believed that dough benefits from a period where the yeast has a chance to become established without the presence of salt; however, sometimes when I use commercial yeast I do add the salt when I make up the dough last thing at night and at that point I pop it all in the fridge. Using only half the amount of dried yeast I find overnight at cool room temperature without the addition of salt produces just the right amount of fermentation. It would be interesting to see just how little dried yeast could be used to ferment 400g of flour. Temperature, salt and the amount of yeast used will all have a bearing on how long the dough takes to ferment and playing around with these to suit yourself is probably the answer. Happy baking, Tôbi.

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    2. Thanks Tobi. I mostly use a sourdough starter and seldom use commercial yeast, so I'd have to have a bit of a play around. I'd guess you could use very little by making a pate fermentee with a very small amount then feeding it like a sourdough starter.
      I will be trying your recipe - thanks :)
      K.

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  2. Hello again, I too mostly use my sourdough starter, occasionally finding commercial instant dried yeast is more suitable for the end product, usually something that requires a lighter textured crust. My current batch of sourdough with gruel is going berserk at the moment, I have it in a large dairy bowl out in the garden and the temperature is already a scorching 23 degrees, stretching and folding needs to be done every half hour or so, I guess it's constantly a case of keeping an eye on things and responding appropriately. Bread produced with wild yeast is without doubt superior but in the absence of constant conditions, it requires attention. It's just as well I'm in a position to do just that. Best wishes, Tôbi.

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