Hearty Oat-Nut Flatbreads

flatbreads 2

This recipe came about when I was living off food storage for a month in order to get material for magazine articles. By day 15, all the store-bought bread, milk, and butter were long gone. Eggs would be, as well, if I didn’t have chickens roaming my backyard. I needed bread for quick sandwiches to keep my family from chowing down on all the other easily accessible foods and ignoring two fully stocked freezers and a pantry of mason jars. Luckily I keep a lot of grains, flours, and oils within the freezer beside the meat.

(Please excuse the quality of the photos. My photographer is rarely around for spontaneous cooking experiences.)

Allergies or dietary exclusions: The eggs and pecans can be omitted without affecting the success of the bread. Any sugars or fats/oils can be exchanged equally for other versions. This bread cannot be made gluten-free.

 

Hearty Oat-Nut Flatbreads

Makes 20-24 flatbreads

 

  • 3 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup pecan gems
  • 2 packages (1 and ½ tablespoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup deeply flavored natural sugar such as honey, real maple syrup, raw sugar, or light molasses
  • ¼ cup oil, such as rendered lard, softened butter, or olive oil
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Additional olive oil for rising

 

Regarding ingredients: Within this recipe, whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal, and rolled oats may be exchanged for equal volumes of other multigrain ingredients such as teff, rye, wheat germ, or cooked and cooled multigrain hot cereal. Do not exchange any white/bread flour unless you add a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to make the dough soft and stretchy. Eggs add rich protein and texture but omission will not cause bread failure. Pecans can be exchanged for any nuts or dried fruit, or they can be omitted, only affecting flavor and texture. Choose sugar based on allergies or desired flavor. Maple syrup makes an excellent complement to both oats and pecans. White sugar will help the yeast rise but it won’t add much flavor while molasses will be deep and noticeable. And though all oils can be used in equal volume, including palm oil or shortening, lard is a non-hydrogenated way to achieve the best texture.

flatbreads 3

Mix all flours/oats. Within a large bowl, combine three cups flour with the nuts, yeast, and salt. Add sugar and oil then mix with electric beaters until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the warm water and blend until relatively smooth. Add both eggs and blend again. Slowly add the remaining flour, blending until the mixture is too thick for electric beaters.

Turn dough out onto a counter and work in the remaining flour. Kneed for ten minutes, adding additional flour as necessary to ensure dough is not sticky. Don’t knead for less time because ten minutes is necessary to work the gluten together to compensate for the non-gluten ingredients.

Place dough within a well-oiled bowl, turning dough so all surfaces are coated. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm location to rise for one hour, until double.

Heat a griddle or skillet on medium-high. Pinch dough off into balls about the size of a chicken egg. On a well-floured surface, roll one ball as thinly as possible. Gently set round of dough onto the hot skillet. Cook for up to one minute, depending on individual stoves, or until the raised edges of the bottom surface are browned but the rest of the dough is not. Carefully flip bread over and cook another fifteen to thirty seconds. Immediately remove bread from the pan and allow it to cool on a plate. Repeat with all balls of dough.

Keep flatbreads soft and moist by allowing them to cool slightly then sliding into a zippered gallon-size freezer bag. Stack two or three flatbreads within the bag then flip the entire unit over and stack more flatbreads within. Keep turning with every few additions to allow the bread to steam and distribute moisture inside instead of drying in the open air. If you plan to serve the bread soon, keep them warm by placing the freezer bag inside a folded towel.

All natural bread will turn moldy in less than a week. Freeze, the same day, what you do not plan to consume. If it is frozen fresh, the bread will thaw to be almost as good as if it was just made.

Use the flatbreads for peanut butter sandwiches, meat fillings, or simply as a quick treat.

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