flatbread Recipe

Flat bread ***

  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) full fat natural plain yogurt (or greek yogurt) Add enough yogurt to match the consistency in my video. You may not need the entire cup depending upon the type of yogurt and flour you use.
  • 1 cup (5oz/142g) all-purpose flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    Optional toppings
  • 1/2 cup (4oz/115g) butter
  • 2-3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • parsley roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch salt to taste
  1. In a large bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Next, add in the yogurt and mix with a spatula until the yogurt has absorbed the flour. You will need to get in there with your hands to really bring the dough together. �
  2. Please Note: Depending upon where you live and what flour you use, you may not need all of the yogurt. Start with the initial quantity of flour and add yogurt until you get the same consistency as I did in my video. You may not need all the yogurt so it’s best to add it little by little.�
  3. Once the dough is formed into a smooth ball, place it on a floured surface. Using a knife divide the dough into 6 (2oz) balls.�
  4. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll each one out to an 8 x 8 circle. Try to roll the dough as thin as possible as this will ensure the bread cooks evenly on both sides with a nice air bubbles in between. �
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. While the skillet is heating melt together the butter, minced garlic and salt in the microwave for about 30 seconds.�
  6. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of the rolled dough with the garlic butter before placing it (garlic side down) into hot skillet. Allow the bread to toast and bubble up cooking for about 2-3 minutes on each side.�
  7. Once the bread is nice and toasty on each side remove from the heat sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or herbs of your choice�
  8. Repeat this process until all 6 flatbreads are cooked. Stack up on a plate or in a covered basket to keep warm. Store at room temperature for 3 days and reheat on the pan before use.

Shrewsbury cakes (take 2)

After making Shrewsbury cakes, I found the dough was too loose, but I blamed it on the butter. Later, I was working on a bake and ran out of high extract AP flour, so I substituted 25% regular AP flour. I expected the dough to be firmer, as high extract flour needs more hydration in bread. It was not. This was, to say the least, a revelation. I made Shrewsbury cakes again, and indeed, they came out firmer with high extraction flour.

Thinking about the next project

Someone suggested that I investigate pastry. The problem, such as it is, with pastry is that making good pastry involved keeping the butter cold. Refrigeration, as we consider it, is really a 20th century thing. Prior to that, it was all about ice, both in boxes and houses.

Cooks, of course, would attempt to keep butter cold, and evidently washing butter was a huge thing. An initial overview of 19th century includes:

The practice of cookery and pastry – Mrs. Williamson. Printed in Scotland in 1862, she provides directions for making a full puff pastry, but recommend it be done in the colder months.

The New Practice of Cookery, Pastry, Baking, and Preserving: Being the Country Housewife’s Best Friend – Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Donat. In 1804, they are making rough puff pastry.

Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats – Eliza Leslie. Mrs. Leslie has published other cookbooks, hers is a familiar name.

The American Pastry Cook: A Book of Perfected Receipts, for Making All Sorts of Articles Required of the Hotel Pastry Cook, Baker and Confectioner, Especially Adapted for Hotel and Steamboat Use, and for Cafés and Fine Bakeries – Jessup Whitehead. In 1891 Jessup is a professional pastry chef, and would seem to be a good one, but he’s also a complete tool if his writing is any indication of his personality. Rough puff pastry only.

14th century cookbook

I need to investigate The Arundel Collection at the British Library.

From that collection, you have Liber quotidianus contrarotulatoris garderobae – on page 425 is a transcription of a manuscript called “ancient cookery” probably taken from 14th century manuscripts but transcribed in the 15th century.

Antiquitates Culinariae Or Curious Tracts Relating to the Culinary Affairs of the Old English also has a transcription of the manuscript as section 3, where sections 1 and 2 and the better known “Forme of Cury” and a scroll in the possession of Samuel Pegge the 18th century English antiquarian.

Shrewsbury Cakes

The Director:

Take two Pounds of fine Flour, put to it a Pound and a Quarter of fine Sugar sifted, grate in a Nutmeg, beat in three Whites of Eggs and two Yolks, with a little Rosewater, and so knead your Paste with it; let it lie an Hour, then make it up into Cakes ; prick them, and lay them on Papers ; wet them with a Feather dipp’d in Rosewater, and grate over them a little fine Sugar. Bake them in a slow Oven, either on Tins or Paper.

The young Ladies’ Guide to the Art of Cookery:

Take two pounds of flour, three quarters of sugar, one full pound of butter, and three eggs ; work these together into a paste, make them up in thin round cakes, and prick them with a pin to prevent their blistering; your oven must be quick; so bake them on butter’d papers.

The Guide to Preferment:

Take a Pound 1 of Sugar, three Pound of fine Flour, a Nutmeg grated, some beaten Cinnamon, the Sugar and Spice must be sifted into the Flour, and wet with three Eggs, and as much melted Butter as will make it of a good thickness to roll into a Paste, mould it well and roll it, cut it into what shape you please, perfume them and prick them before they are put into the Oven.

The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple

TAKE two pounds of flour, a pound of sugar finely searced mix them together, (take out a quarter of a pound to roll them In); take four eggs beat, four spoonfuls of cream, and two spoonfulls of rosewater; beat them well together, and mix them with the flour into a paste, roll them into thin cakes, and bake them in a quick oven.

The lady’s assistant for regulating and supplying her table

BEAT half a pound of butter to a cream; add half a pound of dried flower, one egg, six ounces of sifted sugar, a few carraway seeds; mix these well; roll it out thin, cut it out with a glass or tin ; prick them; bake them on tins in a slack oven.

The compleat housewife

Take to one pound of sugar three pounds of the finest flour, a nutmeg grated, some beaten cinnamon; the sugar and spice must be sifted into the flour, and wet it with three eggs, and as much melted butter as will make it of a good thickness to roll into a paste mould it well and roll it; cut it into what shape you please, perfume them, and prick them before they go into the oven.

Internet Archive

Just in case you were wondering, here are all the cookery books from 1770-1780 digitized on the internet archive:

The art of cookery, made plain and easy – Hannah Glasse. This was the cookery book of choice for the mid 18th century.

The compleat housewife – Eliza Smith is another well known cookery writer.

The lady’s assistant for regulating and supplying her table – references to “barbicue a leg of pork” as well as chyan pepper and other cool stuff.

The professed cook

The new book of cookery

English housewifery

The young ladies’ guide

A complete collection of cookery receipts

The guide to preferment

The director

The complete English cook

Bonus book: Domestic Economy

Gyngerbrede pudding

Pre-heat oven to 325.

Take 1 pound of de-crusted bread and soak in 3 cups of milk.

While the bread is soaking, take 7 eggs, 1 stick of butter and mix together until butter is mostly incorporated.

Take 330g of honey and add 1 teaspoon of long pepper (black pepper is OK on the off chance you don’t have long pepper around) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Measure out a pound of raisins (3 cups).

Add raisins, honey and spices to egg mix and beat some more.

Then add bread and milk and mix until mostly incorporated.

Place in casserole dish and bake at 325 for 45 minutes.