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Laffa Bread

Posted By Linda Capeloto Sendowski On April 29, 2011 @ 10:09 AM In Baking,Cookbook,Sephardic,Side Dish | 16 Comments

Bread the Staff of Life.  After the Passover drought of leavened foods, fresh bread fills the nostrils with the earthy aroma of yeast and delights the mouth with a sublime taste that satisfies some imprinted human instinct.

I decided to make some Laffa, thick pillows of chewy bread, freshly cooked on a griddle or bottom side of a wok or cooked simply in a frying pan. I confess I never made my own Laffa until this attempt so I did a little research.  All of the recipes I found seem to be about the same only different quantities of flour with the rest of the ingredients in the same ratio.  Incidentally, to learn more about the concept of Ratios in cooking there is a brilliant book byMichael Rhulman [1] called Ratio. [2]

Most recipes out there are short on instruction and very brief, leaving a lot to the discretion and experience of the baker to decide.  I made the crust three different ways.  It is good thing that you can freeze Laffa since after three batches and one being a double batch I made quite a bit of Laffa.  First I used a Cusinart, then a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, and finally I kneaded the dough by hand.

In all three methods I added the dry yeast, sugar, and salt to the unbleached bread flour first and then added the liquids. I wanted to see if the method of kneading affected the outcome of the dough for better or worse.  All three methods worked great.  So whatever machine you have in your kitchen will do the job and if you don’t have a machine your hands are the best.

To make 12 pillowy Laffa you will need: [3]

7 cups unbleached bread flour plus another ½ cup in case the dough is little to sticky

1 package dry rapid rise yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups of warm water

Combine the dry ingredients.  Add the oil and water and if you are using a food processor process for about 60 seconds until a very smooth, soft, and slightly sticky ball forms. If using a mixer, mix with the dough hook until the dough is very smooth, soft and elastic.  If making by hand; after you add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix by hand in the bowl for a few moments until well combined and coming together.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about ten minutes until smooth and elastic. [4]

In all cases after the kneading, place the dough in an oiled bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap.  Then cover the bowl with a tea towel and place it in a draft free warm corner so the dough may rise.  In about an hour, when the dough has doubled or more, punch the dough down.  Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, and then roll the balls until smooth.  Place the balls on an oiled cookie sheet.  Cover them with a damp tea towel and let the dough balls rest for about ten minutes.  Resting makes the dough easier to roll out. [5]

Pre-heat a flat surfaced grill pan to medium.  Alternatively you can use an upside down wok or a plane large frying pan.  I found that the large non stick grill pan was the easiest to work with.  Take a ball of dough in your hands and flatten it out on an oiled wood surface.  Roll it out with a rolling pin or use your hands.  Make a circle about 12 inches in diameter and place the Laffa on the hot grill surface.  When you see the edges looking dry and the bread is poofing up turn it over.  Laffa only takes a few minutes to grill.  Place the finished Laffas in between some kitchen towels to keep warm. [6]

Serve Laffa with hummus and vegetables, schwarma, grilled kabob, grilled kufte, salads or falafel.

You can freeze Laffa and also reheat them.  You can cut this recipe in half. [7]

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments To "Laffa Bread"

#1 Comment By megi On April 29, 2011 @ 11:13 AM

Hi Linda, these look amazing, I am so glad you gave such detailed instructions, after looking at all the gorgeous photos, I am planning on trying it today. I will come back to report the result, thank you for sharing.

#2 Comment By Greek Girl in Queens On April 29, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you soooooo much, Linda! I’ve been intimidated by laffa for the longest time, but you make it look and seem so simple, that I’m once again inspired and motivated to attempt making some very, very soon. It might be a bit ‘dangerous’ for me, however, if I perfect this, because judging from how much I adore my chicken shawarmas at Iskander’s (an amazing Middle Eastern cafe in Dublin that are supposedly legendary when it comes to shawarmas – and I most heartily agree), if my own laffa bread comes out tasting anything like Iskander’s (their laffa bread is incredible, believe me), I may just find myself making more shawarmas than I should be eating. Then again, as you’ve said, they can be frozen…all it takes is willpower on my part, na?

Thanks so much for sharing this, Linda. When I do make some, I too will share with you (and Megi and Norma and all the rest of your loyal readers) how they turned out. From your photos above, I have to say they look just like the amazing ones at Iskander’s. I bet they taste incredible. Have a lovely weekend.

#3 Comment By Norma On April 29, 2011 @ 8:19 PM

Hi Linda,

Although I have never tasted Laffa bread, I am anxious to give this recipe I try. Your pictures look so tasty. I am also curious to make the Passover lemon Pavlova. The picture just looks so yummy. It seems like it will be a great summer dessert. I hope to try these recipes soon.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Megi, I want to know how your bread came out.

Norma

#4 Comment By megi On April 30, 2011 @ 3:47 AM

Hi Linda and Norma, the bread came out beautifully, I was really impressed! Thank you for such a great recipe Linda. It’s easy to make and cooks very fast on the stove top, I made a little change by using half spelt flour and half unbleached bread flour and the taste and texture were fantastic. We enjoyed some yesterday and I froze the rest. I highly recommend it!

#5 Comment By Greek Girl from Queens On April 30, 2011 @ 4:52 PM

I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think my comment made it through for some weird reason. Ah well…I just wanted to say that I’m, as always, impressed and inspired – especially now that you’ve made one of the most delicious types of bread I’ve ever tasted in my life. You make it seem so easy – not to mention delicious, going by the photos you’ve shared with us. I can’t wait to try this recipe out – nor can my hubby. The last time we had laffa bread was almost a year ago, in our favourite Middle Eastern cafe in Dublin, called Iskander’s, a cafe that lives up to its claim of making the best shawarmas in all of Ireland – absolutely amazing shawarmas. Thanks so much for sharing this one with us, Linda. Oh! And turning over the wok and cooking/frying the bread on it is trust a brilliant and ingenious idea (hubby agrees when I showed him this blog post).

I’m really, really excited about making this now. I’m just hoping I can easily find some bread flour in the shops here. I don’t know if plain all purpose flour or self-raising flour would produce the same beautiful, chewy, fluffy/pillowy type of bread, so I’m going to saerch for bread flour (I’d try spelt flour, but the hubby doesn’t much care for the taste of it, he’s since told me).

Thanks again for this, Linda. And Megi – I’m delighted that your first attempt was such a success. I hope mine turn out as well.

#6 Comment By Greek Girl from Queens On April 30, 2011 @ 5:47 PM

Oops…sorry…I meant my first comment, not the one above, that obviously did go through. I think, in my joy and excitement upon reading this post and wanting to comment and congratulate you on it, I forgot to hit the ‘submit post’ button after I’d typed up my comment! See what even the mere reading about laffa bread can do to me? It has got to be one of the most amazing tasting breads in the entire world – and this from a big-time bread fan (the kind you eat, as well as the 70’s soft-rock band that went by that very name – bread).

I’m also glad that the bread freezes well…otherwise, it’d be me saying hello to not only many shawarmas, but also a not-so-friendly ‘hello’ to an expanded waistline. Some of us are addicted to chocolate (I love chocolate, believe me) and some are addicted to cakes (I love cakes too), but me? I’m addicted to bread – all and every kind of bread out there (and that includes borekas!).

Okay…I’m being a bit silly now (it’s nearly 2 a.m., so you’ll have to forgive me) so I’ll send this off – hopefully properly and correctly this time – and say thanks again for posting this wonderful post and recipe.

#7 Comment By Linda Capeloto Sendowski On May 1, 2011 @ 8:51 PM

Hi Megi, I love that Idea of using spelt flour. I will try that next time.

#8 Comment By Norma On May 8, 2011 @ 4:20 PM

Hi Linda,

Just wanted to let you know that I made a half recipe of Laffa bread today in the Kitchen Aid Mixer. We had this with homemade hummus and chicken shish-kabob. The bread was delicious and not hard to make at all. I used a pancake griddle pan.

I hope you and all the readers of this blog had a Happy Mother’s Day.

Norma

#9 Comment By Garry On July 8, 2011 @ 6:10 AM

Great staff.

Made it yesterday and it was great and easy to make. Used half spelt half white flour.

Many Thanks

#10 Comment By plato1 On May 14, 2013 @ 9:18 AM

This is the way we make naan, kulcha, bhatura (the same dough, but rolled fairly thin & deep fried instead of baked). Here, at homw, we use the oven or the broiler. But I use the skillet or the pressure cooker (or the cast iron dutch oven) to make it on the stove top. Back home, & in Indian restaurants, it is baked in the clay oven called the Tandoor, where the heat is really high.

#11 Comment By It tak On September 22, 2013 @ 5:06 AM

I made it today – it was delish. Now that I have a solid basic recipe I can experiment a little . I also think I chickened out and turned the laffa a bit too early because I was afraid of overbaking it but when I reheated one of them on the wok it tasted much more “smoky” – the flavour that I am used to.

#12 Comment By Cnem On January 4, 2014 @ 7:06 PM

OMG!!!! YOU ARE QUEEN!

#13 Comment By Nansi On July 17, 2014 @ 6:42 AM

Hi! I stumbled on your blog yesteday and felt ambitiuos enough to try this recipe and your instructions and ingredients were to a T!!!! One of the best recipes ever tried, I’m adding this as a staple, it was amazing!!!! I felt like you were right along with me while I made it. DELICIOUS!

#14 Comment By Indyjps On August 25, 2014 @ 4:12 AM

Great write up, I’ve made these from a similar recipe twice. For baking, try your backyard barbeque grill on medium heat, about 400. The laffa cooks quickly, you also get a nice flavor from the fire, crisp it as much as you like. I knead by hand, press, stretch, roll by hand, it was quicker for me to do so than get out all the equipment and wash it. Laffa and shakshuka is my new favorite meal. I brushed the hot laffa with butter and honey and my children love.

#15 Comment By Robin On October 3, 2014 @ 11:32 AM

You don’t mention proofing the yeast or when to add it. Did I miss something?

#16 Comment By Linda Capeloto Sendowski On October 5, 2014 @ 3:32 PM

Hi Robin, Usually, yes you do proof the yeast in warm water as for hand made Challah. However in this instance you combine all the dry ingredients, including the active dry yeast and then add the liquid ingredients to mix. No proofing involved. I hope you enjoy the bread, try making the Schwarma to go with it. Even if you don’t have a rotisserie machine the spices in the recipe give the meat that Schwarma taste.


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[1] Michael Rhulman: http://www.amazon.com/Ratio-Simple-Behind-Everyday-Cooking/dp/1416571728?SubscriptionId=AKIAJCGDQKMISISPMFLQ&tag=theglobaljewi-20

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[8] Image: http://www.theglobaljewishkitchen.com/2011/07/31/pita-bread/

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[10] Image: http://www.theglobaljewishkitchen.com/2010/02/24/challah-2/

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