Lentil-Stuffed Flatbreads; My Inaugural #ShortandTweet Adventure

You poor, neglected, breadheads. Anyone would think I cared not-a-jot for your burning desire for half-baked bread-based puns and amateur phone-based sarnie-snaps. But fear not, I have not forgotten you, I’ve just been building up to a content-fest. Oh yes. Oh, and celebrating my birthday. That too.

About that: it will come as no surprise to you, dear readers, that I’ve become a little obsessed by baking bread. So what else could a man ask for on the anniversary of his birth than a 40x30cm slab of granite, with bevelled edge and a polished top? Well, a copy of Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet”, that’s what. I am now the proud owner of both a beautiful baking stone, and what must surely be the modern bakers bible. Lovely jubbly. Thanks all!

And it is the latter that, as well as providing a cornucopia of new recipes to try (as well as ways to ruin my weight-loss regime before it’s begun), allows me to join in with the wonderful sorts who organise the #ShortandTweet bake-along. Each week, two or three recipes from the book are selected, announced on twitter (hence the hashtag), and then various members of the baking tweetisphere make the recipe, tweet about it, and very often, blog about it. Then the results are summarised on the short and tweet tumblr blog.

This week, I chose to make the lentil-stuffed flatbreads. Partly because I really enjoy flatbreads, and partly because I already had everything in. What? I’m a busy man. Sort of.

With this recipe, the dough is mixed the night before the rest of the cooking process. Now, despite having set a reminder on my “brain-beyond-my-brain”, aka my 2Do App, I forgot about mixing it until 11:30pm Thursday night. Dressing gown on, book under-arm, I snuck downstairs for a spot of clandestine midnight baking. I felt like a compulsive baker, hiding my habit from loved-ones, in fear of an American-style intervention and kneaders-anonymous meetings.

The product of my last-minute, late-night mixery.

The dough is made with strong white flour, a mix of water and milk, and oil, with baking soda to keep it light. The recipe, originally printed in the Guardian, is available here. In the morning it had developed lovely smoothness. The lentils were next: I smashed a garlic clove ‘twixt a knife and board, and added it to a saucepan of lentils, which were brought to the boil and simmered. I think, in retrospect, I slightly overdid the lentils, they broke down a little more than they did in the piccies of when Dan made them, here.

Muslin: Magic

Then I drained them, and strained them in muslin. Magic stuff muslin. I kept expecting the lentils to starts bleeding through, since the water was doing such a good job of it. Yes, it was my first muslin-straining experience. I’m a late-bloomer.

I mixed in the spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, and a wee spot of salt), and left to cool. When the time came to make them, I found the key was using plenty of flour to pat them out, and using enough lentil-mixture to flavour the breads, but not so much that a good seal was impossible to obtain. I sealed them up as one might a pasty, though by the look of the pics of Dan making them (of which I was only made aware after the bake), a more centrally pinched technique is intended). None the less, I was able to flatten them, and roll them out, again using plenty of flour.

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'...

Towards the end of the batch, when the family were getting cranky re the lack of dinner on the table, I made the mistake of rushing one and not using enough flour, and stretching the dough too thinly at the join. The results were a selection of tears in the flatbread, which produced the only runt of the litter.

Overall, I rate the whole thing a success. The recipe was good, and the social-network-provided kick-up-the-arse an effective shove in the direction of culinary exploration. I shall do it all again, the flatbreads, the bake-along, and probably the whole meal. The family were complimentary, and the breads provided a delicious accompaniment to the improvised spicy chicken stew which I’d made alongside the bake. I got positive feedback from newly-found follows on twitter, too, and enjoyed the camaraderie of baking digitally-alongside others.

I was also buzzing from the results of my first soughdough loaf, that was cooling after a simultaneous bake… But that’s a story for another day.

Friday Night Chams.

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9 thoughts on “Lentil-Stuffed Flatbreads; My Inaugural #ShortandTweet Adventure

  1. happy birthday Will! I am cooking my lentils as I type, they have boiled over once and I am yet to make something to go with the breads. Your dinner looks ace. 😦

    • Haha! My keyboard keys are permanently dusted with flour…

      Thanks for the birthday wishes, and for kind words. I think they’ll work with all sorts of things; they have a lovely fragrant flavour but don’t get in the way. I’m not sure how long they’d keep, but I quite fancy a batch for lunches.

      Let me know how you get on 🙂

  2. Oh, I hope my dinner looks like that (flatbreads and curry scheduled for this evening).

    I’m so happy that you’ve joined the #shortandtweet community – a place where you never have to explain a bread habit because it’s pretty much taken as table stakes 🙂

    It’s fortunate that I have asbestos hands because wringing out lentils or similar is quite the task.

    I have to keep plastic bags staged round the kitchen to slip doughy hands into before touching anything else – but I could use a plastic drop sheet for the poor laptop.

    I look forward to including this in the round-up.

  3. These do just look really good – and wholesome. I am rarely inspired by wholesome, but these hit the spot. Also, fun muslin picture!

    Doing it along with everyone else really does give a great kick up the ass for things I’d never otherwise try. Looking forward to more team bakes 😉

  4. I included one of your pictures in this week’s compilation: Short and Tweet Challenge 14: Lentil-stuffed flatbreads; North-South cornbread; Superwraps, so thank you for that.

    I saw your note about the colour change in the lentils on Jo’s post; I haven’t quite worked through the biochemistry but turmeric does change colour in the presence of acids/alkalis and I think this contributes to the change.

    Thank you for participating.

  5. Hey Will!

    Belated birthday wishes and Molly says thanks for your get-well wishes. The ear is improving.

    A really delightful read, Will, and I’m convinced now (between your post and Joanna’s) that I must make these soon. 🙂 I’m off to “Follow” you about on Twitter, and many thanks for posting your lovely comment on Misk Cooks. xx

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