*do it yourself for the win
What to do, what to do? That is something that I have been asking myself with increasing anxiety as I think about spending all of my waking hours at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. However, I have recently changed my mindset and am now asking myself ‘how can I decide what to do first?’ Over the past few years, I have made baking an on-and-off hobby. At first, I started exclusively baking cookies, however, as time went on, I branched out to other sweet treats like pie and the occasional savory dish like quiche. Now that eating out is no longer an option in Massachusetts, I am finding my self-quarantine as an excellent time to experiment in the kitchen.
While scrolling through Facebook in a mild state of boredom, I saw a post about “Navajo Flatbread.” The writer offered this bread as a great alternative if your local markets are fresh out of ready-made options. The beauty of this recipe is that it is easy to make, requires few ingredients, and tastes absolutely scrumptious. Excited for something to do, I darted to the kitchen full speed ahead. The recipe that I ultimately used was not the Navajo Flatbread, rather one for ‘garlic flatbread’ (I had just bought garlic the day before and wanted to make use of it).
The ingredients list is simple: plain flour, garlic powder, baking powder, sea salt, plain Greek yogurt, olive oil, and milk. Because I do not have the pantry or toolkit of a chef, I had to DIY a few elements of this recipe. For example, I had some sour cream left over from a previous baking adventure so I substituted some of the yogurt for sour cream so I could finish off the container. Also, I ended up using table salt instead of sea salt and whole milk because it was all that I had. Additionally, when it came time to prepare the dough instead of using a rolling pin, I used my palms to press and shape the soft blob. Once the dough was divided and rolled out into eight pieces, it was time to cook it on the stove.
The recipe suggested putting the dough into a buttered pan (I used canola oil to save on our small butter supply) and letting each side cook for two minutes on medium heat. One way that I often fowl up my baked goods is by letting them sit in heat for too long or too little. I have made cookies that would make one’s teeth ache and cakes that were gooey and unpleasant to swallow. I told myself that when making the flatbread instead of trying to guestimate with the timing, I would cook each side for exactly two minutes as called for….As a consequence of my diligence I flipped my first slice of flatbread over to see large black burn marks. Although flatbread acquires some dark marks while cooking, my concoction, was a bit over cooked. After just two pieces of dough, I had to open a few windows to let out the smoke. I worked frantically for about 20 minutes running back and forth from the stove to the window in an effort to keep the fire alarm at bay. After all of my practice, I believe that my final slab of dough turned out just right.
The final product looked a little dopey in comparison to the model that I found on the cooking website. Where the example bread was tan and lean, mine was thick, pale, and splotchy. However, such as with people and books, the quality of flatbread is found on the inside. Despite my haphazard substitutions and mad dashes to the window to let out pillowing smoke, the bread tasted delicious. It was so good, in fact, it surprised even me that the dish was made on a whim. Making flatbread was delightful! The bread is the slightest bit salty with a light garlic flavor. It goes great with a little butter, hummus, or more decadent savory toppings. For me, the taste of the bread on its own was just right.
If you were unable to secure enough bread during your last grocery run, this flatbread can be a nice little substitute as well as a fun activity to pass the time. When life gives you empty bread shelves, make your own (flatbread that is 😉 )!