Laffa

Laffa is an Israeli flatbread, also known as Iraqi pita, that’s cooked in a taboon, a tandoor-like, high-heat clay oven. For those of us who don’t have taboons in our home kitchens, a pizza stone or even a baking sheet turned upside down and preheated in the oven will produce beautiful, chewy laffa. This version of laffa comes from Michael Solomon of Zahav, Philadelphia, PA, and is relaxed, user-friendly dough. Get the lowdown on 5 types of Eastern Mediterranean Flatbreads, here

Laffa
 
Makes 8 breads
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups water, divided
  • 2½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
  • 2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (256 grams) bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoons (9 grams) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) olive oil
Instructions
  1. Mix together ½ cup water, the yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until blended. Add the yeast mixture, another ½ cup water, and the oil and mix on low until the dough forms a ball that pulls clear of the sides and bottom of the bowl. (If after a minute the mixture doesn’t form a ball, add a tablespoon of water.) The moment the dough starts to pull clear of the bottom of the bowl, add remaining ½ cup water and continue mixing until incorporated. The dough should feel tacky when slapped with a clean hand, but it should not stick. (If it sticks, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.)
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about an hour. Alternatively, let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat the oven to 500°, with a rack in the upper third. Place a baking stone or an inverted baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well.
  4. Roll the dough into 8 balls the size of baseballs. Cover with a cloth and let rise until they are about the size of softballs.
  5. For laffa: Roll each dough ball as thin as possible (less than ⅛ inch is ideal—the laffa should be the size of a Frisbee) with a floured rolling pin on a floured work surface. Drape one laffa over your outstretched hand and quickly invert it onto the baking stone or baking sheet, quickly pulling any wrinkles flat. Bake the laffa until puffy and cooked through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
  6. For pita: Roll each dough ball to about a ¼-inch thickness (about the size of a hockey puck) with a floured rolling pin on a floured work surface. Place one or two at a time on the baking stone or baking sheet and bake until puffed and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately, or let cool.

Recipe excerpted from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking ©2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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