When I was in the middle east ten years ago I sat with a Bedouin woman in a camp (a tourist site) in the Negev desert near Beersheeva and watched her make a simple flat bread and turkish coffee for me and those touring with me.
She had a small "camp" fire which was actually a little gas lit fire piped in from outside set in a firepit (I thought that was cool and starnge too).
But I did not ask for the recipe and did not think much about it until recently...
With the price of bread and pita and living with three teenagers (mostly a vegetarian diet) I have recently been astounded at the prices and how much bread the kids eat. My thirteen year old who announced he wanted to be a vegetarian began eating home made eggplant grinders (store bought is way too expensive) with onions and peppers and Ragu chunky garden style sauce (his fave) but even grinder (sub/hoagie/poiboy) bread is now a dollar a loaf/roll! Crazy. And my 18 year old and her boyfriend LOVE hummus with Pita, which is a quick and easy snack. But hummus is godawful expensive so I taught them to make their own (much cheaper). But we were still buying the pita. Plus they make their own sandwiches for lunch and dinner when they work or go to college classes etc. So bread was starting to kill us at almost $4.00 a loaf for decent bread or damn near that for a small pack of Pita.
Well - the other day I stopped in a local store and the Pakistani man whom I chat with in my rural burg about politics and spiritual matters etc is eating the MOST delicious smelling meal --- homemade curry with cilantro, onions, potatoes, eggs and flat bread. I asked if his wife made the bread and he said no that she was still in Pakistan with his children, but that he made it himself. I asked irf he had bought the flatbread and he said no he made that himself too. Very simple.
So I asked him: howdja make it?
Simple: flour and water til mushy, roll into a ball and knead it for a couple of minutes, flatten and fry in a hot pan for a coupla minutes with a bit of oil.
I immediately went home and tried it out. Only took a coupla minutes. It was delicious!
Today I made my first loaf of Italian bread for submarine sandwiches, and everything!!!The kids all loved it.
The older teens said (and they have been buying groceries so they see the insanity of the prices) : we should never buy bread again!
The recipe for italian bread (simple recipe) is VERY simple. You just need some dry active yeast (I bought a small jar of it to save money rather than the individual oackets. Flour, a little salt and suger, yeast and a few little techniques to let it rise etc. Simple! I put crushed rosemary, oregano, thyme and egg, a dash of olive oil in the doughh as I kneaded it for a few minutes.
Now I am going to go eat some with my Ricotta and spinach and shells I made last night. and make an eggplant grinder with what is left for the 13 year old.
btw - I buy my veggies in the "distressed" section of the Stop and Shop near me. Cheap and for some reason eggplants and peppers (especially red ones) end up there more often than many other foods and are about 59 cents a pound or less. I stoc up and feeze what i don't eat right away - but usually we eat LOTS of these with onions and sauce.
FLAT Bread cheap! And Easy!
Rosemary Herbed Italian Bread! Cheap and easy!
Survival efforts turn out to be GREAT sometimes!
Next I am gonna put some ginkgo and acorns flour in the mix! Not to mention flax seeds for the onega threes!