Flatbreads @ 80% Hydration

Yet another use for my 80% hydration dough – https://thepartisanbaker.com/80-hydration/

Comme d’habitude there’s dough in the fridge awaiting the call. Couple of weeks back there was some six or seven days old by which time the gluten is pretty knackered. Freezer was full of buns so I thought I’d do something crazy and make flatbreads. Crazy because by this time the dough is very wet and sticky and hard not to tear. Even with plenty of flour it finds spots where it can stick on the work surface and the rolling pin and your hands, and, if you get a little fold, there’s no way you can free it. After the first one I knew to take the skillet to the rolled dough and not the dough to the skillet. Some had a few holes, but we made do and, to my surprise given the length of fermentation, they were soft and delicious.

So this time it was planned. Dough had been in the fridge three days – about 800g. Half went to make two pizzas for todays lunch. The remainder was scaled at 60g to make seven flatbreads. Lots of flour for the work surface, hands, rolling pin. Roll out as thin as possible bearing in mind you have to pick them up by the edges and flip the into the dry skillet, so not as thin as wheat tortillas.

My technique is to roll out three while the skillet is getting hot (the longer they sit waiting the more likely they are to stick). Take the skillet over to the dough, flip the first one in, shake the pan, put it back on the heat while you roll out the next one. After about a minute turn the flatbread and press down on it with a fish slice. The dough will bubble up. Turn it again continuing to press down with the fish slice. Probably about three minutes in total – it’s something you need to learn by experience. Wrap in a tea towel while you finish the rest.

This sort of operation gets easier once you’ve done it a couple of times so that you relax, get in the flow and start to wonder why you thought it was tricky. Doughs that seemed impossible to knead and shape become compliant and part of your routine.

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