Saturday, 25 November 2017

Gourmet Camping [or not!]: Sour Dough Chapatis

When camping you 'need' to eat great food! So this year I experimented with sour dough chapatis. They are a great dessert! The easiest way to make sour dough is to get some starter from a friend! :) .... I will post other ways to start you own in a separate post.

Sour dough is made with flour, water and starter. How fast it "grows"/ferments depends on the temperature/weather. So if it's warm you need to keep feeding it. See upcoming post.

The great thing about sour dough is that it is literally pre-digested by the bacteria. So it is easier to digest. And the sour taste helps stimulate digestion. It also won't go bad as long you continue to 'feed' it.

Like most recipes, you need to get a sense of what you're making - i.e. I can give measurements but ultimately you need to be the judge. Chapati dough is made to the same basic consistency of bread. I am being flexible or expansive in using the term 'chapati'. They are grilled. But you can also use butter, or ghee as in traditional Indian cooking. in the pan just before you place the dough in it. These are called parathas. It's more like a shallow fried bread. Both are great.

To make enough for 2-3 hungry campers:
Start with about 1-1.5 cups starter
Add enough flour [preferably whole grain organic] to make a thick consistency. This depends on the type of flour, how it is milled, etc. But expect to use at least 2 cups.
It is best to use gluten flour to help it rise, but not necessarily. I have used buckwheat, oat, spelt, and wheat flours. You can also add things like sesame seeds, ground flax, poppy seeds, etc. My Garam Masala adds a fantastic boost of flavour. [See recipe in previous post]. Mix well so all ingredients are wet. Traditional Indian recipes often call for ghee to be added to the dough mix itself. But don't do this till you are forming the balls, if so desired.

Leave the mix at least 1/2 day. The longer the more sour it becomes. This also helps to break down phytates found in grains, seeds, etc. which are anti-nutrients. You can "punch it down" when it rises. The longer you leave it, the more flour the bacteria "eat", so you will need to keep feeding "them" flour. More water should not be necessary.

Make small balls of the dough - about 2" or so. Meanwhile have a pan [or even a pot] heating on your stove or fire. If you want you can add 1-2 Tablespoons of butter, ghee or coconut oil to the pan. Other oils should not be fried. If making at home, a toaster over works well. Then you just flour the pan and roll out dough and bake at 350F or higher till it is done. The higher the temperature, the more it will rise.

When the butter is hot,and after you flatten the dough by hand, bottle or a similar object, put the dough in the pan.It will cook fast - depending how think you make them. Flip when one side is browning. Once both sides are brown they are ready to be devoured.

Add more butter, etc. before each new ball is put in the pan,if necessary.

You can serve with anything you would put on bread or just plain. Yum!

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