Prep 50 mins
Cook 4 mins
There's character to spare in this layered flatbread, called msemmen in Arabic. The dough is rubbed with spiced oil, rolled into a spiral, flattened, and then cooked on a griddle, for a flakiness that's surprisingly substantial.This recipe from Farid Zadi. Zadi likes pairing the flatbread with an acidic dish,but the bread actually goes well with an entire meal, so plan on leaving it on the table from start to finish.
- 3 cups finely ground whole wheat flour (preferably Indian atta or King Arthur whole-wheat)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Make dough:.
- Stir together flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Slowly stir in water until a soft dough forms. If necessary, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes.
- Form dough into a ball and coat with 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough stand at warm room temperature 1 hour.
- Stir together cumin, paprika, turmeric, and remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small bowl.
- Form flatbreads:.
- Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and, keeping remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap, flatten 1 piece of dough into a disk. Roll out disk as thinly as possible (into a 9-inch round) on a lightly floured surface with a 6-inch wooden dowel or a rolling pin. Spread 1 teaspoon spiced oil on dough with your fingertips, then roll up tightly into a long cylinder and coil into a tight spiral. Transfer to a large sheet of parchment paper, then loosely cover with plastic wrap.
- Make 11 more spirals in same manner.
- Finish and cook flatbreads:.
- Tape another sheet of parchment to a work surface and on it roll out 1 spiral of dough into a round approximately 6 inches in diameter. Heat a dry large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat until hot, then cook flatbread, turning once, until puffed and browned in spots, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel. Roll out and cook 11 more flatbreads, stacking them on plate.
- Cook's notes:.
- • Flatbreads are best when freshly made but can be cooked 1 day ahead, then cooled and kept, wrapped in foil, at room temperature. Reheat (in foil) in a 350°F oven or in a steamer about 10 minutes.
- • Spirals of dough can be rolled out (but not cooked) 1 day ahead and chilled, layered between sheets of plastic wrap, then tightly wrapped, on a baking sheet. Bring to room temperature before cooking.