Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Another Try at Flatbread

Tonight, I made another attempt at a Viking flatbread.

I forget the source of this recipe, but it's simple enough: one part barley flour to one-half part water. So I started with a cup of barley flour and a half-cup of water. I added a teaspoon or so of honey to give the mixture more flavor, and ultimately about another quarter-cup of water to give the mixture a smooth, if slightly thick, consistency. Then I greased a skillet with a pat of butter, scooped in the batter (it didn't pour, exactly) and fried each puddle of batter for a minute or two on both sides.

The result looked and tasted a lot like pancakes, only thinner than the typical pancake,* greasier, and not as sweet. They tasted best with fruit preserves instead of the stew. I may try making these again, thinning the batter out some more so that the pancakes come out thinner and larger (these came out to about 3 inches by 6 inches in size).

Eric was sufficiently hungry that he had finished his stew before I got the flatbreads done, so he didn't get to sample them. I saved the leftover dough, and may try again tomorrow.

EDIT (9/11/2013) (to add notes about Eric's experience and to add some additional observations to my original text): Eric was curious to try my flatbreads after I told him about this post. I used the rest of the dough to make him a few, which he tried with butter. He said he found them a bit bland that way.  So he ate the rest with maple syrup and pronounced them good.

Some proposed recipes for Viking flatbreads suggest making them with buttermilk; doing so would probably make these flatbreads more like what we think of as pancakes and would make them even more substantial and tasty. More like "buckwheat" pancakes (to which Eric compared them after eating some). All the same, I'd like to manage making a more savory and crunchy flatbread for eating with stew. More experimentation is clearly needed.

EDIT (9/12/2013):  I looked back at my recipe today and I see that I got the proportions wrong:  it actually should have been 1 1/2 cups of barley flour to 1/2 cup of water.  I'm glad of the error; the last recipe I tried that was so flour-heavy produced a lumpen and unappetising product.  

* Wikipedia notes that American recipes for pancakes generally include a raising agent while British ones do not. Since I am accustomed to American pancakes, the pancakes I achieved with this simple recipe seemed thin to me. However, they tasted very similar to the pancakes I'm used to.

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