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Chapati or Roti - unleavened bread

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Rod Franklin View Drop Down

Joined: 17 February 2010
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    Posted: 24 January 2013 at 14:00
Chapati or roti. These are small unleavened flat breads about 5 or 6 inches in diameter and maybe a little more than 1/8" thick that are completely hollow inside. When cooking they expand into almost round spheres, after which they collapse into flat breads. These things are made all throughout Asia. It's a very old way of making bread. I wonder how many trillions of these little breads have been made over the last several thousand years.

I've made these a number of times. I'm good at it. They're simple things but interesting to make. Interesting in that to make a bunch of them you gotta move quickly. And it helps to have one special tool. I took a small pair of ice cube tongs and filed the teeth off and smoothed things well and flattened the ends a little so to create a tool to gently manipulate the rotis. You could do it with your fingers, but you gotta be fast and tough.

Anyway, here goes:

One rounded cup of whole wheat flour.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add water to form a soft dough and knead for 5 minutes. Allow to rest for 1/2 hour. Knead again for 5 minutes.

At this point you can refrigerate it for several days.

When ready to make the Roti set up your work area. The stove should have enough clear space to allow a heavy flat pan (I use a cast iron griddle pan) to set over the burner and room for it to be slid off to the side. A clear area of counter space should exist right next to the stove top with room to roll out rotis and more room to have a flat plate with flour in it and more room for a covered dish to keep the cooked roti in.

Heat the flat pan till water sizzles off it quickly.

Take a deep breath because here we go.

Take a portion of dough and form into a smooth ball. Using some of the flour from the plate, in mid air, using your hands, form the ball of dough into a flat disk. Flour the rolling surface and roll the flattened disk of dough into a perfect circle of even thickness. Flip flop the formed roti between the palms of both hands to knock all the excess flour off, them flop it onto the hot pan.

Immediately begin to make a second roti and while you're doing that flip the roti that is already in the pan. Finish making the second roti.

Pull the pan off to the side and take the cooking roti out of the pan and throw it right on the burner flame. Put the second roti in the pan.

Using the tongs lift the roti that is on the flames by just the edges and look under it and rotate it several times (don't flip it over) till it's cooked. Then flip the roti that is on the flames over and repeat the lifting, rotating motions till the roti is completely puffed out and cooked. Remove the inflated roti to the warming dish.

Immediately slide the pan with the second roti back over the heat and flip the roti on the pan. Smear a bit of ghee on the finished roti and cover the dish to keep it warm.

Form another roti to replace the one finishing up in the pan, and keep going till you run out of dough.

Not working? Work faster.
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