Oven Baked Flat Bread - Saluf
by Daniel Rogov
This is not an easy bread to make, as the flipping of the flattened loaf onto the sides of a hot oven is an art form that needs to be mastered. The practice will be well worth the effort. Should one's initial efforts fail, any flat bread (such as pita) may be substituted.
Combine the fenugreek seeds with the tomato puree and 3 Tbsp. of water and mix together well. Cook over a low flame and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
Sift together the flour and yeast and then knead the mixture together with just enough lukewarm water to make a moderately thick dough. Cover lightly and let stand to rise for half an hour. Repeat the kneading and rising process 6 times in all, kneading at half hour intervals.
Heat the oven to its highest possible temperature. Turn off the heat and, taking care not to burn yourself, wipe the walls of the oven with a wet cloth. Immediately after the last kneading flatten the dough and make two thin loaves. Over each spread 3 Tbsp. of the fenugreek mixture and, with a rapid motion, stick the breads on the walls of the oven. Let cook just until the bread peels off the walls and falls to the floor of the oven.
Note: Keep in mind that many Yemenis will make two portions of bread for each diner, one to be served in the soup and the other on a separate plate to be dipped into samneh. To prepare samneh, simply melt 1 cup of butter together with 1 Tbsp. of whole fenugreek seeds. When the butter has completely melted, skim the surface and carefully pour the butter into a small sauce dish, leaving behind the solids that have settled to the bottom of the skillet.
Daniel Rogov is the restaurant and wine critic for the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. He is also the senior writer for Wine and Gourmet Magazine and contributes culinary and wine articles to newspapers in Europe and the United States.
Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry and Rogov's Ramblings. Reprinted with permission.