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Flatbread

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Fellow bread baker Joanna put me onto Dan Lepard’s potato stottie cakes. The recipe is from his wonderful book, The Handmade Loaf – which I waxed lyrical about it here.

Jo mentioned that when she’d made this traditional flatbread  from Newcastle upon Tyne, the bread had risen quite a lot, rather than staying flat.  I took a variation of Dan’s recipe and applied my own flatbread methodology, which I’ve used with both yeasted breads and sourdoughs in the past. The end result is always very moreish and, as an added bonus, you can eat the bread hot out of the oven, which makes it a great standby when you’re in a hurry.

Flatbread makes a great accompaniment to Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, though my boys were happy to scoff these smothered in homemade butter.  As I’ve never been to Newcastle upon Tyne, I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the finished product, but they were absolutely delicious!

Here’s how I shaped the stottie cakes…

Turn the risen dough onto an oiled bench and give it a few folds.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces and shape each piece into a tight ball.  Place each ball on a square sheet of parchment paper.  Spray a sheet of clingfilm with a generous coating of oil, then wrap it closely around the dough ball.  Allow the dough to prove for a further 15 – 30 minutes.  Preheat pizza stones in the oven to 250C (with fan).

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Just before you’re ready to bake, gently flatten out  the dough into a thin pizza-like disc on the sheet of parchment paper, pushing through the clingfilm with your fingers.

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Carefully remove the clingfilm (if you’ve greased it well, it should come off easily).  Dust the top of the dough with a little flour.

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Slide the flattened dough, still on its sheet of parchment, onto a pizza stone.  Reduce the heat to 220C with fan. Allow the flatbread to heat up for a few minutes, until the dough starts to rise a little.  Once the dough has started to firm up, carefully remove the sheet of paper and discard.   After a few more minutes, open the oven, pull the rack out carefully, and flip the bread over.  Either use an egg slide, or the “perfect for every occasion when I might give myself a second degree burn” welding gloves.  The gloves really are great for this – I just picked up the flatbread and turned it over!  After a few more minutes, flip the dough over again and bake until the top is brown and the bread is cooked through.

These didn’t take long to cook because they’re so thin – ours were in the oven for about 10 minutes in total.  They were eaten before they had a chance to cool!

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