This recipe is life-changing. Time-consuming? Yes, but worth it beyond measure. And it freezes well so you can make lots and have this any time you want.
Malawach (or malawah) is a flaky flatbread from Yemen typically eaten for breakfast topped with tomatoes, boiled eggs, cheese and zhoug. You can think of it as a cross between a Chinese scallion pancake and puff pastry. It’s the PERFECT accompaniment to the Turkish Eggs recipe I shared yesterday and really any recipe with roots in and flavors from the Middle East. Good for dipping, spreading, layering, sandwiching and snacking…just about everything.
The time takes some work: the dough has to rest for a bit after it’s mixed and then portioned, laminated with copious amounts butter (don’t be tempted to skimp on this), rolled, and flattened into a pancake shape. To cook, you fry it up in a skillet and wait for the magic to begin. The smell of these cooking will make it impossible for you to wait for these to cool before diving in. Oh and the flaky layers!!!!! They pull apart into buttery whisps of flatbread will quickly become addictive.
Freeze any leftover flatbreads between two layers of wax paper and go from freezer to mouth in less than 5 minutes. Hey guys, but seriously…use two layers of wax paper or they will stick together with only one layer and you won’t be able to get them apart to cook them and you will be a very, very sad person (speaking from experience).
The forming process can be a little tricky to describe so watch this video a few times before and while making the recipe to help; once you get a few down, it will be a cinch.
Once you get the hang of it, mix in herbs and spices and experiment with whatever fillings or toppings suit your fancy. I have no doubt that no matter what it’s served with, it will be a winner.
Buttery, flaky flatbreads that cook up in minutes will become your new obsession!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 2-1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and add the water, stirring with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and let rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and gently pat into a thick rectangle, about 13 x 5 inches. Cut into 9 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the baking sheet, turning to very lightly coat in oil so a skin does not form as the dough rests. Cover and let rest for another 30 minutes.
- Flip a large baking sheet over so the flat side is upright. Grease with some softened butter to coat. Place one piece of dough onto the buttered baking sheet and pat into a long rope, about 10 inches. Using your fingertips, press and slide the dough outward, stretching into a very thin rectangle, about 10 x 12 inches. Don’t worry if the dough tears a little, but try to be gentle. Spread about 2 tablespoons of softened butter all over the top of the dough with your fingers.
- Starting at the long end closest to you, keep folding the dough over on itself until you have one long strip about 1 inch wide. Press down on the dough to flatten slightly and remove any air pockets. Roll the dough strip into a tight coil and transfer to the baking sheet with the remaining dough pieces. Continue with all of the dough until all nine coils are formed. Cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- Prepare 18 squares of wax paper, large enough to hold an 8-inch round of dough. Set aside.
- Place one piece of dough between two pieces of wax paper and roll into a rough 8-inch circle with a rolling pin. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough, sandwiching each between two pieces of wax paper. Freeze the dough sheets until completely frozen, about 1 hour. You can store the dough between the wax paper sheets in separate gallon-sized Ziploc bags.
- To cook, preheat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the skillet with butter and add one frozen dough sheet. Immediately lower the heat to medium and cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top does not have any uncooked patches of dough (it will look like a tortilla when ready to flip), about 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. Flip and cook another 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until golden brown all over. Serve hot.
Inspiration:Malawach on tastingtable.com