There are at least two distinct types of Fladenbrot, the flat, tortilla-like bread which is the wrap used for Doener kebab sandwiches (similar to Greek gyros), and the 1-inch-high type, sprinkled with nigella seeds, as in this recipe.
We use this bread for soups, party trays with dip and, when split horizontally, for sandwiches.
This bread takes 2 days to make, 10 minutes the first day to make the sponge and 3 hours the second (hands-on time about 25 minutes). It can be served hot or at room temperature.
- Sponge - Day 1:
- 1/2 cup water (warm)
- 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast (active)
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup flour (all-purpose)
- Dough - Day 2:
- 1 1/4 cups/300 ml water (warm)
- 1 teaspoon/4 grams dry yeast (active)
- 3 tablespoons/30 grams olive oil (extra-virgin)
- 3 1/4 cups/375 grams bread flour
- 1 tablespoon/20 grams salt
- For dusting: Extra flour for adjustments
- For dusting: Cornmeal
- 1 to 2 tablespoons nigella seeds (black caraway, or black sesame seeds, for sprinkling)
Make the Sponge
- In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/4 teaspoon yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar and let stand about 10 minutes. There may or may not be foam. Stir in 1 cup all-purpose flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand overnight.
Make the Dough
- Add the yeast mixture (the sponge), 1 1/4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon yeast and the olive oil to a bowl. Stir in 3 1/4 cups bread flour and salt until wet dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. It will be very sticky, use a dough scraper if you have one and expect your hands to be covered with dough. Don't incorporate too much flour, this dough has a 75% to 80% hydration, which will help create the larger crumb.
- Place the dough in a large, floured bowl, flour the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Bake the Bread
- Place a baking stone in the middle of the oven on a rack and heat the oven to 450 degrees F. for about 1 hour. While the oven is heating, remove the dough from its bowl onto a floured surface and divide it into 2 or 4 pieces.
- Flatten (coax) each piece into a round or oblong with minimum degassing. Place them on parchment sprinkled with cornmeal or flour, on top of an overturned cookie sheet. Cover them with plastic and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes. You may also use a baker's peel, instead of parchment paper, if you have one. Put cornmeal on the hot stone just prior to adding the bread.
- Spray the breads lightly with water, sprinkle the ovals with the nigella seeds. Slide the ovals onto the hot stone in the oven (still on the parchment). Bake until crisp on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
- If the bread is baked and stored, crisp in the oven for a few minutes prior to serving.
- Nigella sativa (also known as Russian caraway or black caraway) is not caraway at all, but related to onions and has a distinctive, dusty, Turkish taste.
- You may add steam to your oven, but the short, hot cooking time makes it less necessary. To steam, heat oven to 450 degrees F. and place an old baking pan on the bottom rack. Place rolls in the oven on the next shelf up, pour 1 cup of water into the old baking pan and close the door quickly. Spray sides of the oven with water 2 or 3 times in the first 5 minutes using a regular spray bottle. Turn oven down to 400 degrees F. and bake for 15 to 20 more minutes.
- You see these breads also round, with scoring and even with extra, coarse salt sprinkled on top. I remember them to be oblong, 12-ounce loaves where I bought them in Germany.
- For low salt, you may cut the salt in half, but some salt is necessary to the bread structure. Less salt will affect the taste, somewhat.