A Flaky Flat bread – Dhakai Bakharkahni
Bread baking moves in mysterious ways, apart from the miracle of a rising dough, there are also the mystery of what makes a bread so much fun to bake, it could be any reason really, from interesting technique to all the ingredients at hand to it just being the right moment for the right bread. A bit like meeting the love of your life, you need to be in the right place at the right moment with the right people and in the right mood. I suppose it is all about luck really. Anyway, this was the right bread for me, I had so much fun doing it despite certain passages in the recipe that made me shake my head while reading but almost danced through when I was baking it. I say almost because a) I did rip the dough when stretching it super thin but decided to go on as if nothing happened and b) I’m allergic to #happydances. This bread (I have to look up the name every damned time I write or talk about it) is called Dhakai Bakharkahni and it is my dear Bread Baking Babe Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen who has chosen this fantastic bread. I was hoping she would choose an Indian bread and so she did, you must click over to read the story and get more information about it, all I can say that it’s layered, it’s flaky and it disappeared much too quickly here so now I will have to make it again. But I suppose I should be grateful for that as it means I will bake and have fun again. So I’m sending a big Thank You over the continents to Aparna for making me discover a new kind of bread! I hope you will make it too and if you do and want to be a Bread Baking Buddy, you will get all the information over on Aparna’s blog. I suggest you check out what the others did, I know one Babe cheated a bit with the mawa (see below)and I’m sure there are variations on the theme as ususal.
Bake My Day – Karen
Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie
blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle
girlichef – Heather
Life’s A Feast – Jamie
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
My Diverse Kitchen – Aparna
Bread Experience – Cathy
The Bakharkhani in this recipe is the Dhakai version (from Dhaka Bangladesh) and is meant to be firm and somewhat crisp and is served with tea. Sprinkling sesame seeds on this flatbread is not traditional, and just an option.
Adapted from Honest Cooking (http://honestcooking.com/bakarkhani-bread/ )
For the mawa/ khoya:
1 litre full fat milk (2% will also do) – makes approximately 3/4 to 1 cup mava
For the Bakharkhani:
2 cups flour, (plus a little more for rolling it out the dough)
1/4 cup mawa
1/4 cup ghee* (plus a little more for spreading on the dough while rolling it out)
1/4 tsp teaspoon salt
2 tsp sugar
2/3 cups water (a little less or more if needed)
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle (optional)
*ghee is nothing but clarified butter and should be available readymade in Indian stores. It is quite easy to make your own at home. Since you are making the effort you can make a little extra and store the rest for later use. Ghee can be stored at room temperature and keeps for a while.
Melt 500gm of unsalted butter and let it cook until the milk solids in the butter start turning golden brown (do not burn them) and the liquid fat is a golden colour. You should get a rich aroma from it.
Let it cool to room temperature and then decant or strain the golden liquid into an airtight jar.
Make the mawa/ khoya:
(This is Ilva who’s talking, I used a huge non stick skillet and it took half the time to make it that way. I do suggest you stir ALL the time though)
Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half. The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.
Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be a bit moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.
Let it cool. Once it has cooled, it should still be dry,but a little moist and you should be able to crumble it.
Making the Bhakarkhani:
In a large bowl, put the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Crumble the mawa into it and mix in. Then add the ghee and use your fingers to rub it into the flour. Add the water, a little at a time, and knead well until you have a smooth and elastic dough that can be rolled out very thin.
Please see this video to get an idea of how the dough is rolled out, layered with ghee and flour and folded. The language in the video is Bangla but the visual is quite descriptive. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyiOLuJywHQ )
Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying. Let it rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then lightly coat the dough with a little ghee and then let it rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170C (325F).
Also lightly coat your rolling pin and board (or your working surface) with some ghee (or oil).
Now divide the dough into two portions, working with one portion at a time. Roll out one portion of the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle, without adding any flour. It should be thin enough for you to see your work surface through the rolled out dough!
I didn’t divide my dough but rolled the whole thing at one go on my dining table so that I could save myself the trouble of having to do the layering and rolling out twice!
Brush some ghee (not too much) all over the surface of the rolled out dough with your fingers. Sprinkle some flour evenly over this, enough so that the ghee is absorbed when spread out. The flour layer should be thin. Brush some more ghee, again, over this and then sprinkle some flour over this like previously.
Fold the dough into half and once again repeat the process of brushing the ghee and sprinkling the flour over this twice, as before. Fold the dough for the second time (see the video) and repeat the brushing with ghee and flouring, twice.
Now roll up the dough into a long cylinder and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Pinch off lemon sized balls and roll each one into a small, round flatbread about 1/8″ thick and approximately 4″ in diameter. Sprinkle sesame seeds (optional) and lightly press into the dough. Make three cuts centrally and lengthwise on each flatbread using a knife. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they’re light brown on top. Do not over bake.
Let them cool and serve with coffee or tea. This recipe makes 10 Bakharkhani.