Making Chapati for 2

A few months ago a blog post I came across was for Bread from 1660 AD. Well, the recipe is from then anyway. It was a posting of one of the Bread Baking Babes. It was an intriguing recipe and I was going to make bread that day anyway so I made it, blogged about and posted all that same day. I found out that the group puts out a monthly challenge and those of us extras, known as Bread Baking Buddies, are given a couple of weeks to play with the recipe, and post about it. I’ve not been that interested in the intervening months’ recipes. Then came January’s Chapati recipe.

I cook Indian a bit at home and I have made homemade naan before, but I generally buy frozen naan from Trader Joe’s or the nice toaster sized fresh ones at Costco and freeze them. I tend to always have a block of paneer in the freezer too.  So, last week I made an Indian dinner an Chapati to go with. I didn’t want to make a lot, since it’s just the two of us so I cut the recipe down. Chapatis are also known as Roti.

Since I have Indian grocery stores easily accessible I chose to use the traditional Atta flour. I got mine at Vik’s Chaat in Berkeley for $4.99 for 5 pounds. I’ll be able to make a lot of Chapati with that.

Chapati (makes 4 serving 2)

¾ cup Atta flour
½ teaspoon salt
up to ½ cup of very hot water, just boiled

Start out at least 45 minutes before you want to serve.

Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Add some of the hot water, but not all. Reserve a tablespoon or two. Add more water as necessary. You’re wanting to end up with a smoothish dough that isn’t too sticky. One blog I read called it silly putty consistency. And yes you young ones might not know what that is. Knead for a few minutes to get a smooth dough. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and let rest for 30 minutes or more.

When you’re about ready to cook, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Heat a cast iron skillet or a Tava if you have one, over medium high heat. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough a thin, but not too thin thickness. The best way I can think to describe it is about the thickness of ten sheets of printer paper stacked up. I bucked convention and rolled all of mine and covered them with a cloth until I was ready to cook them. It worked for me.

Light a second burner on your gas stove to medium low. If you have electric read the original post for instructions.

For each chapati put it into the hot iron skillet cooking 30 – 45 seconds on each side. Small bubble should be showing. Then transfer immediately to the burner with the flame. Miraculously they puff up. Once puffed I turned them over for a few seconds on the second side.

I enjoyed making these. They were easy and tasty. I still prefer naan, but will definitely make these again.

Paprika Recipe Manager

A few years ago there were three binders full of recipes that I might like to try and that I have tried and liked. I also had a folder full of recipes on my hard drive. I endeavored to organize them. I choose my favorites and made a website in iWeb, not really thinking much about the Copyright issues. Although I didn’t promote my site, I did point people to specific recipes when someone asked what my favorite “X” recipe was. That site is still around, but hasn’t been updated in years.

After the website came Evernote. It was a good place to clip recipes that I might want to make. I also gathered the ones on my hard drive into it. This was convenient for the syncing across devices. However, it wasn’t designed as a recipe specific app. Then I found Paprika Recipe Manager. Paprika is now on my Mac, my iPad and my iPhone. It’s not free, but I think it’s worth every penny. It can auto-import from many well known recipe sites and manual import is very easy. The apps all sync together. It took me a while to import all my current favorites and “To Try, Have Not Made” recipes. But now that I’m current, adding new recipes I might like to try is easy. I also have all my recipes with me at the grocery store so that I can check ingredient lists. Paprika also will make grocery list and has a calendar for planning. It’s very feature rich and I don’t make use of some of them often enough.

I really love this suite of apps. If you’re looking for recipe organization I highly recommend this product line.

Tartine Bread-Lékué Bread Baking Bowl

312RoNM7GULLong languishing way down my Amazon Wishlist was this Lékué Silicone Bread Maker. I don’t remember where I first saw it. But when I did I thought about how it would surely help bake “freeform” loaves of bread recipes whose dough tend to the wet side of things. I’ve had some loaves flatten out like flying saucers before. There’s a lot to learn in bread baking and I’m fairly successful, but some doughs elude me. There’s gluten development and surface tension development. Both help stop the dreadful spread. However, the Tartine Bread recipe is one that even following all the directions I’ve had trouble with. I’ve tried it several times before and often it spreads and flattens out when deposited on the baking stone.

So, this Xmas Howard got the bread baking silicone for me. I’ve used it twice and I have to say it sure does solve the problems of a wet dough. Yesterday I baked the Tartine Bread in it. My loaf is up top. The baker did stop the spread and since steam stays in the crust is nice and crunchy. The house was cool yesterday and the dough wasn’t progressing so I took some shortcuts. I ended up with and acceptable loaf with a good crust, but lacking those big holes of air usually seen in this bread. The long ferment though means that the dough got that signature sour flavor. Which I really realize I’m not a huge fan of. I don’t know what’s happened, but I no longer care for sourdough much.

I would recommend this baker for anyone who’s afraid to make freeform loaves. It may be a bit of a crutch, but any tool that helps solve problems in the kitchen is fine by me. I use a silly zippered pie crust rolling bag. It works and helps me keep from adding too much flour to the crust. A true chef might think it inexcusable to use, but I don’t care. Whatever works.