For many years I’ve been fascinated by variations on yeast-free yogurt flatbread recipes (sometimes called yeast-free naan) that follow a loose formula of a cup of yogurt, a couple cups of flour, some salt, fat, and water. Sometimes there’s baking powder, sometimes there’s not. It’s kneaded together as you would a yeasted bread dough and left to rest for about 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, during which a transformation occurs and the dough becomes springy and smooth and very lovely to work with, like a freshly-opened can of Play-Doh. Once rolled thin, they’re pan-fried, and look, they’re fiiine. But they’re never as good as I want them to be.
With yeast scarce, I decided to revisit these flatbreads early in our Inside Days and see if I could make headway with them using scallion pancakes as my guide. The core of scallion pancakes [and, updated to add, other flatbreads such as parathas, parottas, roti canai, and malawach] is also a simple, yeast-free, dough, also kneaded and left to rest before you roll it out. But instead of frying them right away, you brush them with oil, sprinkle them with scallions (for scallion pancakes), and roll the pancake into a tight cigar, and then the cigar into a snail. This snail of wound dough is left to rest again, and then rolled into the final pancake. The hidden layers of flour and oil help the layers lift and separate into flaky layers as you fry the pancakes. And this layering, it turned out, was exactly what my one-dimensional yogurt flatbreads were missing.
From the outside, they look like any other tender, stretchy flatbread, but as you tear a piece off, an inner accordion emerges. And waft of buttered air. They deflate fairly fast but stay puffed (while you cook the rest or if you wish to rewarm them) in a 300 degree oven. And since this is one of the first recipes I worked on with a full apartment of noise vs. the relative peace of my Before work life — when I’d work on things throughout the afternoon and share at dinner — I had a lot of live commentary like “These are good!” And “I want more!” and “Wow, so puffy!” And “When are going to make them again?” Thus, you could call this a pre-approved recipe. I can’t wait to see how yours come out.
Six months ago: White Bean Soup with Crispy Kale
One year ago: Braised Ginger Meatballs in Coconut Broth
Two years ago: Fig Newtons and Cripsy Tofu Pad Thai
Three years ago: Granola Bark
Four years ago: Caramelized Brown Sugar Oranges with Yogurt and Potato Pizza, Even Better
Five years ago: Why You Should Always Toast Your Nuts (Please!) and Obsessively Good Avocado-Cucumber Salad
Six years ago: Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons and Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms
Seven years ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast and Bee Sting Cake
Eight years ago: Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche and Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch
Nine years ago: Blackberry and Coconut Macaroon Tart
Ten years ago: Baked Kale Chips and Almond Macaroon Torte with Chocolate Frosting
Eleven years ago: Artichoke-Olive Crostini and Chocolate Caramel Crackers
Twelve years ago: Spring Panzanella and Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake
Thirteen years ago: Arborio Rice Pudding and Gnocchi with a Grater
Layered Yogurt Flatbreads
Update, 6/5/20: What I’m learning from your comments is that yogurt varies widely in how loose it is and if yours is on the wetter side, you may not need any added water here. So, I am updating the recipe to only add water as needed. I hope this resolves any issues with sticky dough. Stick dough is fine when it first comes together — the goal, in fact — but it should absorb and become easy to roll as it rests; check my pictures of each step for reference.
- 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Diamond, use half of another brand, here’s why)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup plain, full- or low-fat yogurt (Greek or regular)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee (for assembly)
Layer dough: Divide dough into 8 wedges. Working with one at a time, very lightly flour your counter and roll out each into a round or oblong shape as thin as it will go — usually about 6″ in diameter. Brush thinly with 2 teaspoons butter or oil. Roll dough away from you into a thin cylinder, then wind each cylinder into a coil (it will look like a sideways snail). Place each coil of dough back on a floured spot and cover, resting for another 15 to 20 minutes; repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
Heat your oven to 300 degrees F and have a big baking sheet ready. (Flatbreads fully cook on stove, but you can keep them warm and lightly puffed in the oven.)
Cook flatbreads: Working with one coil at a time, roll into a thin round (about 5″). Brush the top with more butter, you can be a bit more generous here. Repeat with as many flatbreads as you think you can fit in your pan; leave the remaining coils continue to rest, covered.
Warm a frying pan over medium-low heat. Flip flatbread butter-side-down onto pan and cook until a deep golden brown underneath, about 5 minutes. Brush the top with more butter as it cooks on the first side, then flip and continue cooking until the same deep golden brown on the second. Transfer to baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Continue this process with the remaining coils and flatbreads.
Do ahead: These layered yogurt flatbreads keep perfectly in the fridge; I wrap mine in foil. Rewarm in a 300-degree oven for about 10 minutes.