Olive Oil and Potato Flatbread

Olive Oil and Potato Flatbread from Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet” Book

I downloaded the iPad version of Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet” yesterday at iBooks, and immediately set about joining the Twitter #shortandtweet baking challenge. Details : are here.ย  The challenge conditions and guidelines are here.

The Olive Oil and Potato Flatbread was the first challenge I joined. I’ve never made flatbread, or focaccia. This was going to be a first for me, and I was quite excited by the prospect of learning something new.

I grated the potato directly into the bowl of water, which is a nifty trick because the potato flesh didn’t oxidize and turn that icky pinky-brown colour. Usually when I grate potato, it starts discolouring instantly – not this time. So I mixed all of the ingredients together, and we were off and running toward homemade flatbread.

There were the usual ‘stretch and folds’ at 10 and 20-minute intervals, and then ‘blanket folds’ that work the gluten and incorporate air into the dough. I’m familiar with this technique because I have Dan’s other book “The Handmade Loaf” which also uses this method of kneading and resting for gluten development. There was a good puffy, risen texture after the second blanket fold.

The dough was quite sticky but manageable with oiled hands. I must remember that oiled hands also mean oiled fingers, not just the palms of the hand as if you’re working in hand lotion. The dough stuck to my fingertips when I started poking dimpled holes in the dough and pressing it out to cover the surface of the baking sheet.

All was well. Dough flat. Dough dimpled with holes. Dough sprinkled with flaked salt. Dough softly glistening from olive oil. And then I noticed that the dough was springing back on itself, shrinking from the sides of the baking sheet. I quickly put the dough in the preheated oven, and almost immediately it starting rising. And rising. And rising. After 20-minutes, it was still rising.

The only thing flat about this flatbread is the baking sheet. I started posting SOS tweets: Is this like pita bread; it deflates when it cools? The answers came back with comments like what yeast did I use, did I stretch and fold the dough, and how’s the weather – is it raining there?

But bless my socks, it’s utterly delicious. When I realised that I had failed this challenge, I thought, Oh, what the heck … and put some thin slivers of fresh mozzarella on the top of the loaf to melt and caramelise during the last 10-minutes of baking. This is a very good addition, by the way.

I’d never made flatbread before now — actually, I guess I should qualify that by saying that I still haven’t made flatbread — I’ve made really delicious overstuffed pillows based on a flatbread recipe.

Should I try again or just stick with sourdough and boules. It seems that boules are my forte.

Note: It now seems possible that my bulbous flat bread went all boule-ish because I didn’t allow it to rest between the stretch and poke holes manoeuvre. I’ve decided to try this recipe ย again, and we’ll see if I can’t force this dough to stretch and stay stretched instead of springing back on itself into a ball like a slug on hot tin roof.

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. Joanna says:

    Can I tell you a story? Once upon a time Zeb went to a sourdough class in London taught by a certain author and they made flatbread there in the class. Everyone else made their breads and Zeb said to that certain author, but you can’t turn that sloppy floppy dough into proper bread and then that certain author flung a bit of flour down and grabbed my sloppy floppy dough and before my eyes, with a curl of his fingers and a smile on his lips, flipped it into a boule.

    One woman’s flatbread is another chap’s boule…. have another go !

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Hi Joanna – Wow, you went to one of his classes? I would so love to do that. I looked online at his classes in Portland Street, and sort of decided that it was a “maybe some day” aspiration. He’s quite a talent, eh?

  2. That looks so delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Hi Lynds! It’s incredibly, and surprisingly, delicious but flat it sure isn’t… I might try again in a few days. I’m determined to do this recipe justice. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Your inadvertent re-interpretation of this recipe sounds and looks delightful. I’m itching to try this recipe now and am looking forward to seeing what happens to mine tomorrow.

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      I have no doubt that your bread will be perfectly behaved and exactly as Dan intended it. I suspect that my failure is due more to a lack of basic knowledge (I am a novice baker), and when a cookery book assumes that some details of method are elementary, and therefore theyโ€™re omitted โ€ฆ well, then I fall flat. Pity my bread didnโ€™t follow my example. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. ceciliag says:

    That is fantastic you made a flatbread that is rounder than my round breads, but i am still a beginner!! Not even a novice yet and certainly not ready to Take the Veil! Looks good! c

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      A veil. Yeah, a veil! I want a veil when I’m in the kitchen baking up bulbous flatbread! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. ceciliag says:

    Oh and that tip about grating straight into the salted water is a goodie! c

  6. Lou says:

    Hi. Found you by searching for shortandtweet. I hope to do this challenge too. Great rescue with the mozzarella! Looks like a very nice bread. Who cares if it isn’t flat?

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Hi Lou, and I’m glad that your search of #shortandtweet brought you here! It is a very good recipe, and my result certainly is not Dan Lepard’s fault – that’s entirely down to my inexperience as a baker. I’m determined to make this loaf again and get it right, so check back in a few days and we’ll see if I succeed. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. dianadomino says:

    Oh, look! Misk cooks! I wonder how to get the recipe for the lovely looking (not)flatbread?

  8. MiskMask says:

    Hi there! Oh yes, I cook. I cook better than I poem, actually. ๐Ÿ˜€ As for the recipe, we’re not allowed to the post it – that being one of the conditions set by the book’s author, Dan Lepard, for the “Short and Sweet” baking challenge. You can buy it at Amazon. Here’s the link. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0007391439/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d9_g14_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=16DS2YHBNK33MVYYRY8Y&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467128533&pf_rd_i=468294

    Gosh, that’s a really long link. I hope it works for you. If not, go to Amazon.co.uk and search for the book title “Short and Sweet” written by Dan Lepard. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for stopping by for a read, Diana!

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