The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flatbread HELP!

eeyore150's picture

Flatbread HELP!

I regularly make flatbread, using a bread machine to make the dough, then rolling out flat and throwing onto a hot griddle pan.  The breads start to bubble within a few seconds and when cooked (1 - 2 mins) are beautifully soft and puffy.

However, I recently cooked some for a dinner party, and to save time and effort, I rolled out the breads a couple of hours ahead of time, instead of rolling them immediately prior to cooking as I do normally.  I stacked them with sheets of grease proof paper between each bread and kept them at room temperature until I needed to cook them.

When I put them in the pan to cook, they hardly bubbled or puffed up at all and instead just lay there in the pan.  When cooked, they were considerably denser and harder than normal and nothing like the delicious, light breads I normally get.

Can anyone shed any light on why this might have happened?  Is it because they had been sitting out for a couple of hours before cooking?  I wouldn't have expected this to affect them but I'm wondering if it did.

If so, how could I prepare such breads for a dinner party in advance so that I don't have to roll them out at the last minute?

Many thanks, James



thomaschacon75's picture

The weight of the doughs, one of top of another, prevented your bread from leavening. You essentially made "unleavened" bread.

I put "unleavened" in quotation marks because, while there was leavening (yeast), it has only so much "proof strength", and not enough to leaven doughs stacked one upon another.

Recommendation: Do as you normally would, but use a rack of some variety, preventing the doughs from sitting on top of each other. You could probably use the racks in your oven (or improvise something with sheet pans, etc.).

JuRae's picture

I agree with Thomas - you most likely did not have enough proofing yeast and the yeast exhausted itself sitting out.  I know I'm jumping on this thread nearly a year later, but have you tried par-cooking the flatbreads ahead of time and then finishing them off at the time of your dinner party?  We host a lot of dinner parties and I've learned to rely on recipes that allow me to do much of the pre-work in advance, including par-cooking. 

thomaschacon75's picture

You mention you left them on the counter at room temperature for a couple of hours.

It could be that the yeast leavened the doughs per usual, but then "ran out of proofing energy" (i.e. no more food, so they stopped leavening) and deflated (if they were able to inflate at all, being stacked as they were) by the time you put them on the griddle.

If that's the case, then just put them in the refrigerator after you roll them, taking them out (an hour?) before griddle time to give them time to proof.