Thursday, December 19, 2013

Laffa Bread

My love for Zahav is incredibly real. Please never doubt how much of a perfect dining experience it is. Ever since I was a little kid, I've been a huge sucker for bread served before a meal. Shit, it's the only reason the Olive Garden still gets business. To this day I can't stop myself and continue to go for bread until they physically take it away from me. Think Corey Matthews during the episode with Wendy where he imagines stealing dinner rolls1. So imagine my enjoyment when at Zahav, they start you off with hummus and freshly baked laffa. I don't know a lot about laffa unfortunately. I know it's an Iraqi flat bread. That's about it. I do know its similar to naan but also very similar to pita; it makes sense since it's coming from a region not to far from either. The texture is incredibly soft but at the same time toothy enough to tear and hold up to a heaping spoon full of hummus. Laffa is meant to be dipped and when partnered with the right dip, it's impossible to stop eating.

My first attempt at making laffa was delicious but not entirely similar to the ones at Zahav. Mine ended up being crispier and more rigid. I tried cooking them for less time but it just left me with under cooked flat breads. While what I got wasn't terribly similar to what I knew as laffa, it was still incredibly delicious and paired very well with all the dips we had. The one key thing to know is these suckers need to be eaten warm. Once cooled down, trying to eat them is similar to eating a ceramic plate. Reheating the laffa revitalizes them like Viagra. This recipe is perfect for a novice bread maker.

Adapted from Zahav's recipe.
Qty Ingredient Procedure
1 cup warm water
  1. Start with proofing your yeast. Combine the first cup of water, yeast, and sugar and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Should get frothy like the mouth of someone with rabies.
3/4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast
26 oz all purpose flour
  1. In a food processor with a dough blade, combine the flour, pastry flour, salt, and the proofed yeast. Add the rest of the water until you have an elastic sticky dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, approximately an hour.
  2. With a pizza stone, heat your oven to as close to 600°F as possible (550°F is most likely). With wet hands pinch the dough into ten equal portions and let rise for 10 more minutes.
5 oz pastry flour2
1.5 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
  1. Combine a pinch of salt, the herbs, and sesame seeds and set aside.
  2. Roll out the ball to 1/8 inch thick. You should be able to see through it. Place on the stone for about one to two minutes. Take back out, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and dried herb mixture. Put back in for another 30 seconds. Eat immediately
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried majoram

  1. They want you to take the rolls
  2. I didn't have any pastry flour so I used a ratio of 7 parts all purpose flour to one part cornstarch as a substitute. 

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