Stuffed Moroccan Flatbreads

Using less than the often recommended amount of fresh or dried yeast will slow down the whole bread-making process, giving time for the dough to develop deeper and more complex wheaty flavours. In addition, it will also extend the keeping quality of your bread, it will increase the nutritional value, give a better crust and for some people improve the digestibility of the bread. A slower bread-making process results in a bread which is approaching the quality of a sourdough. You will need to start this recipe several days before you want to eat the flatbreads, but it’s really worth the effort!

This recipe will make 8 flatbreads.

Start with the sponge:

4g fresh or dried yeast (not fast-acting) such as Allinsons or Dove

200g wholemeal or spelt flour

325g room temperature water

A medium-sized bowl

Add 4g of fresh yeast or dried yeast (but try to avoid using fast-acting yeast- we’re trying to slow things down!) to the bowl, and pour over 325g of room temperature water (or tepid in very cool conditions- just to help things to get started) followed by 200g of wholemeal or spelt flour and stir to form a lumpy batter. Leave this mixture at room temperature for at least 12 hours, by which time it should be bubbly and have doubled in size.

The Dough:

300g organic strong bread flour

8-10g salt

Stir 300g strong bread flour and 8-10g salt into the sponge until it forms a single shaggy mass, sprinkle a little flour onto your work-surface then tip it out onto the worksurface and knead it for 2-3 minutes until it becomes a lumpy tacky ball. Cover the dough with the up-turned bowl and leave it on the worksurface to rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the bowl and knead the dough for 5 minutes, then recover it with the bowl and leave it to rest for a further 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the bowl and knead the dough for 5 minutes, then recover the dough with the bowland leave it to rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, test the gluten development of the dough. This is very easy to do- simply grip a small portion of the dough in your hand and stretch it away from the rest of the ball, if the stretched dough will form a very thin membrane then it is ready, if not simply knead the dough for a minute and then rest for 5 minutes and try again.

Once the gluten is developed, leave the dough to rest on the work surface for an hour.

After an hour, rub a small amount of oil onto the inside of a large freezer bag and place the dough inside (don’t seal it, just fold over the top to prevent the dough from drying out). Place the bag into the fridge for at least one day (and up to 4 days). During this period the doough will inflate to at least twice it’s original size.

The Filling:

8 red onions sliced

8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp spicy smoked paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

300g barrel-aged feta crumbled into rough chunks

Bunch of fresh coriander roughly chopped

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat then add 5 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil. Add the sliced red oinions and stir until coated in the oil. Add a pinch of salt. Cook the onions until they start to wilt and turn brown at the edges. Sprinkle in the turmeric, spicy smoked paprika and the cumin. Stir continuously for about a minute until the onions are well-coated in the spices. Remove the pan from the heat and set-aside to cool.

Making the Flatbreads:

Take the dough from the fridge and remove from the bag, placing it onto a lightly oiled work-surface. Cut the dough into 8 equally-sized pieces. Rub a little olive oil onto the palms of your hands then take each piece of dough and flatten it into a disc. Using a rolling-pin roll-out each disc into a 25cm circle. This is easiest if you roll each one alternately so that each disc relaxes once the dough has stretched as far as it wants to, whilst you move onto the next one.

Spread 1/8th of the onion mixture onto the centre of each dosc leaving a 5cm border around the edge. Sprinkle 1/8th of the feta and coriander over the onion mixture.

As if you are making an envelope, fold the top edge of the disc towards the centre of the disc- about 3/4 of the way (not quite to the middle as you want to leave a small window of the onion mixture uncovered to let the steam escape during baking). Fold the bottom edge of the disc towards the centre in the same way (so you now have a rectangle). Then fold the side edges towards the centre too. You should end-up with a small square of uncovered onion mixture in the centre and a roughly square flatbread.

Press each flatbread firmly with the oiled palm of your hand to flatten it and rub each flatbread with any remaining olive oil.

The flatbreads can be baked immediately, but they will keep for at least a day in the fridge covered with a piece of oiled cling-film.

Pre-heat the oven to 250C then pre-heat a baking sheet or baking stone. Place the flatbreads onto the hot baking sheet/stone and bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes until they are golden brown.

The flatbreads can be served with greek yoghurt (to dip into) or as part of a moroccan feast!

Bon Appetit!