I'm a pretty humble person
I don't like to toot my own horn
or pat myself on the back,
which is all by way of assuring you that I don't say this very often, but... don't lose track of this post! Pin it, bookmark it, memorize it, do whatever you need to do to make sure you don't lose it before you make this laffa bread and this hummus. Make it for (or even better, with!) your Valentine---you'll both forget all about chocolate.
Everybody knows that homemade hummus is the way to go. It's so easy and it's so much better than even the best stuff you can buy. But the real star of this post is the laffa bread. Laffa bread is a middle eastern bread that is thicker and chewier than pita. It's used to wrap meats like kebabs and shawarma in food stands. It's super popular in Israel and Palestine, and it's perfect for scooping up hummus. Once you taste laffa bread you'll never go back to pita again.
The bread dough rises for about an hour, then gets formed into individual pieces, rests for 10 minutes and then gets rolled out and cooked quickly on a griddle.
I find it amazing that so many different breads have such unique characteristics even though they start out with the same simple ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, sugar, water and oil. This bread cooks in just a couple of minutes, and is chewy and very elastic. The scorch marks give it a nice grilled flavor. It's not a fussy bread---it rolls out easily and the shape isn't important, you're going to be ripping it apart anyway.
I found my recipe here, it makes 10-12 individual loaves so I froze half the dough in a heavy weight zip lock baggie after the initial rise.
7 cups unbleached bread flour plus another ½ cup in case the dough is little to sticky
1 package dry rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of warm water
- Combine the dry ingredients. Add the oil and water and if you are using a food processor process for about 60 seconds until a very smooth, soft, and slightly sticky ball forms. If using a mixer, mix with the dough hook until the dough is very smooth, soft and elastic. If making by hand; after you add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix by hand in the bowl for a few moments until well combined and coming together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
- In all cases after the kneading, place the dough in an oiled bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Then cover the bowl with a tea towel and place it in a draft free warm corner so the dough may rise. In about an hour, when the dough has doubled or more, punch the dough down. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal balls, and then roll the balls until smooth. Place the balls on an oiled cookie sheet. Cover them with a damp tea towel and let the dough balls rest for about ten minutes. Resting makes the dough easier to roll out.
- Pre-heat a grill pan to medium. I found that the large non stick grill pan was the easiest to work with. Take a ball of dough in your hands and flatten it out on an oiled wood surface. Roll it out with a rolling pin or use your hands. Make a circle about 12 inches in diameter and place the Laffa on the hot grill surface. When you see the edges looking dry and the bread is poofing up turn it over. Laffa only takes a few minutes to grill. Place the finished Laffas in between some kitchen towels to keep warm.
Now for the Hummus. Because I spent time on the bread, I used canned beans here. But you can go all the way and use dried beans. I think that's actually better. But canned are almost as good! This is a basic recipe, halve it if you like.
2 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans, liquid reserved
at least 1/2 cup tahini
the juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 smashed cloves of garlic
a couple of tablespoons of olive oil plus more for garnish
toasted pine nuts for garnish
- Put the beans, tahini, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor or blender.
- Start pulsing and add a little of the liquid from the beans to get a good consistency.
- Drizzle in a little olive oil and salt to taste.
- Pour into your serving dish and drizzle with more olive oil and toasted pine nuts. If you aren't using it right away, store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...