I recently got a wonderful cookbook called Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. The whole first chapter is filled with tempting flatbreads and I’ve been planning on trying them but haven’t gotten around to it. When Sourdough Surprises challenged us this month to make sourdough flatbreads, I knew exactly where to turn for a flatbread recipe!
While flatbreads are not traditionally leavened, they are a still a good way to use up discard starter. Dal Puri, flatbread filled with spiced split peas, is actually leavened with a little baking powder. The sourdough flavor doesn’t really come through except on the edges of the bread where there isn’t any spiced filled, but these were the lightest flatbreads I’ve ever made and I wonder if the slight leavening power of the sourdough starter contributed to that. I’ll have to make them without the starter next time to compare. The breads were delicious both hot off the grill as well as chilled the next day for lunch. This is a plus in a bread recipe for a small household and I’ll be making these again.
The first step in making the dal puri is to make and cool the filling. Yellow split peas are gently cooked until they are soft but still hold their shape. They are drained and cooled and then pulsed in the food processor with coriander, cumin, chili, turmeric and garam masala.
The dough is made very quickly in the mixer with a dough hook and is formed from flour, baking powder, a touch of sugar, water, oil and the discard sourdough starter. I chose to use 3oz of starter and subtracted 1.5oz from each of the amounts of water and flour called for in the original recipe.
After a light kneading, the dough rests for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. The rested dough is divided into 6 pieces. Each piece of dough is rolled flat into a circle.
- 4.5 oz (scant ⅓ cup) dried yellow split peas
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 184 tsp. ground chili
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 3 oz. sourdough starter (discard, from the fridge) 100% hydration
- 7.5 oz all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. sugar
- about 3.5 oz lukewarm water
- 2 tsp. oil
- extra oil as needed
- Make the filling: Rinse and clean the split peas in a strainer and put them in a pan with about 1 fl oz/2 cups of water. Cover the pan and bring to a boil Give the peas a stir, then lower the heat and allow to simmer just until cooked. This will take 12-20 minutes depending on how fresh the peas are. The peas should be still firm or it will be hard to grind them. The water froths a lot, so you may need to crack the lid of the pot slightly.
- Put the cooled and drained peas with the spices and salt in the food processor and pulse until very fine. Stir in the oil and set aside.
- Make the Dough: Sift the flour and baking powder together and combine with the starter, water, oil and sugar and knead for a few minutes until a silky smooth ball forms. Coat the ball lightly with oil and allow to rest, covered, for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
- Re-knead the dough for a minute and then divide into 6 balls. Flatten each piece on a lightly floured work surface to about 5 inches in diameter. Press the outer edge to make it slightly thinner.
- Brush lightly with oil, leaving about 1 inch free around the edge. Put the disc of dough in your cupped palm. Soon ⅕ of the filling into the center, then coax the dough around it and pinch the edges to seal.
- Brush the surface with oil and place on an oiled plate. Make the rest the same way and space them so they won’t stick to each other.
- When you’re ready, preheat the griddle and set a plate next to the stove. Invert a spoon on the plate and cover with a dish towel (use an old one, turmeric stains if you have any spills).
- Flatten a dough ball with your hand and roll evenly and gently into a 8 inch circle. Brush with oil (roll out on a silicone mat if you have one to help prevent sticking). Be careful not to let any filling escape. Brush the griddle with oil and use the rolling pin to transport the bread to the griddle.
- Turn after a minute or two and brush with a little oil. Repeat with the other side. The flatbread is cooked when both sides are faintly speckled. Don’t let it brown or it will become hard.
- Fold the dal puri in half on the griddle, then transfer to the plate and wrap it in the towel to keep warm while you make the rest.
Be sure to check out all the other wonderful sourdough flatbreads that were made by this group!