How to get your flatbread to puff
You may have tried and failed to have that signature airy pocket which shows that you nailed the recipe. If this is your case, this post is for you.
|My homemade garlic naans|
I know some people who can’t get their flatbreads to puff and have that pillowy form before it collapses (yes it does, but it’s important to have in the first place).
Most of the flatbreads need a trapped steam inside which will split them from within and form 2 distinct layers within a pillow-shaped bread.
Even if the bread will still taste good without that balloon-effect but the puffing is still important for its general texture.
|Puffing mini Moroccan batboot being pan-fried|
These are the points to follow in order to make flatbread that puffs
1/ Follow the recipe you are given
This is another moment where most of the flatbreads tend to stick to the surface especially in the case of yeasted ones.
After you shape the bread, you need to transfer it to another surface for resting or proofing. Ideally, cover it with kitchen towel and dust it with flour then cover the bread again with another towel .
3/ Keep the rolled flatbreads covered so they don’t form a crust.
If the flatbread is to be pan-fried or stone-baked, make sure the surface has been preheated and greased whenever the recipe calls for that. If you are baking the flatbread, the oven as well as the baking stone should be hot.
|Naan hitting the hot pan and starts bubbling right away|
5/ If the bread is going to be baked, do not move it from the stone or the baking sheet until you are sure the bottom has been baked and sealed or you will tear it.
Transfer the flatbread to the frying/baking surface delicately: nails are flatbreads’ enemies, so is the spatula with sharp corners..
Also, baking implies that you don’t move the bread until it forms a crust and do not tear. It’s more difficult to pan-fry than to bake but sometimes the first option is what’s required.
6/ Pan-fry the surfaces evenly
Some airy pockets are better than others..Actually, some airy pocket are just wrong! How?
|Sometimes, big uneven bubbles complicate the pan-frying process.
In picture 6, it’s becoming difficult to pan-fry the bottom side
while in picture 7, I avoided this problem from happening
|Once the dough starts puffing it’s time to flip it for the first time.
Do not wait until the craters get bigger
- Left: the air is so far under control, the crust at the bottom is just forming and it’s time to flip.
- Bottom right: uneven pockets of air which may not necessary come together, making some unwanted craters instead of a pillowy puff.
- Up right: I’m pushing the air around by applying a pressure and helping it finding its way to the edges as well
Do it about 3 times for each side and you should have 2 wonderful flat sides. While some breads are even better with that, Moroccan batbout should ideally be pan-fried evenly.
|I love burned spots over a Naan. In this case, uneven baking is the perfect method.|
7/ I followed all previous step but still no major puffing happening
It might take about 2 minutes before you see that pillow we are all after. But you can help it finding its way by gently pushing one side on the other.If you see a big bubble forming, it’s even better, push it delicately and it will spread all its hot air all around.
|My batbout on the right looks like a pillow. I’m just finishing off the edges.|