This Lebanese mountain bread recipe is the real deal: homemade bread made easy!
I have tried my best to find a ready-made bread that is light, fluffy, soft, and tasty, all at the same time, but to no avail. Too thick, too dry, too calorific… I couldn’t find a way out.
Truth be told when Jay enthusiastically said ‘Let’s make our own!’ I was scared – well, not scared, but rather really worried I would end up with a very hard ball of dough I would have to throw away after hours of waiting for it to rise. I was not looking forward to going through my first chapatti experience (minus the rising) all over again!
As we love having a nice wrap over the weekend, marinating chicken in different ways, a couple of different side salads, homemade tzatziki (when we say wrap night, we mean it!), it was always a disappointment to have to wrap and enjoy all of these lovely homemade delicacies in very boring store-bought bread, so I gave in to Jay’s suggestion and started researching!
There are multiple mountain bread recipes available online, in books, in magazines, and they are all different; some are quicker and some just take forever, some have very few ingredients, some way too many, so I decided to find my own way in a happy half-way.
This Lebanese bread recipe that I was looking to make needed to be light, soft, and easy enough to form our delicious mountain bread wraps, and after a few trials and not real errors, but rather unsatisfactory results, this homemade vegan bread came to life.
~~ If you are looking for the PERFECT filling for this flatbread, look no further: Chicken Shish Kebab!
How to prepare Lebanese Mountain Bread?
This recipe is extremely easy to follow and it is prepared in 3 easy stages:
1 – Start by adding all the ingredients of stage 1 (yeast, flour, water and sugar) in a bowl and mix it well, creating the ‘wet base’; set this aside and allow the yeast to start reacting and ‘bubble’.
2 – In stage 2 you will start creating a sticky dough by adding all the ingredients of this stage (salt, oil and flour) and knitting everything together; after assembling the sticky dough, move into stage 3 straight away.
3 – Prepare the dough for rising by knitting it with some of the flour of stage 3; mould the dough into a round ball and cover it with the olive oil and put it in the bowl again. Cover the dough with some cling film or a tea towel and allow it to rise once more, this time for a couple of hours.
OPTIONAL stage 4 – Should you have enough time, after the dough has risen, knit it some more and put it in the fridge into a closed resealable plastic bag (or some cling film) without air and leave it there overnight if possible before continuing with the next steps.
Next, divide the dough into 8 balls and roll each of them into a flatbread about 1-2mm thick; cook each bread in a flat pan ensuring the pan does not overheat. To do so, warm up the pan and cook the breads using medium heat; this will allow each flatbread to be ready in 3-4 minutes (about 2 minutes per side).
As an optional, once the first side has been cooked, flip the flatbread and brush a bit of olive oil on it; once the second side is cooked as well, flip the bread again and brush some olive oil on the second side as well. Allow this to warm up on the bread for about 10-15 seconds per side.
Serve and enjoy!
Stage 1: The 'Wet Base'
Stage 2: The 'Sticky Dough'
Stage 3: The 'Final Dough'
How long does it take to make Lebanese mountain bread?
How long for it to rise properly?
The process involving you knitting takes minutes, but I recommend a minimum of two hours for rising, but if you are planning in advance, preparing it in the morning for the evening or even the night before, is great, as it gives the bread that extra rising time in the fridge.
Putting the dough in the fridge slows down the rising process (because of the cold) but it doesn’t stop it completely, but what overnight rise offers additionally is a more yeasty flavor, which is key to Lebanese mountain bread.
How to make homemade bread light and fluffy?
This recipe calls for a lot of water in proportion with the flour, so you are never supposed to have a hard dough during the preparation of this. This and the yeast allow the bread to rise lightly while slowly cooking on a flat pan, allowing it to stay light and fluffy.
~~ Concerned about carbohydrates? Don’t be, first get to know them better! Carbohydrates: What are they? How do we use them?
Can I use whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour?
You certainly can, but the proportions will have to be changed; as whole wheat flour tends to be lighter (volume comparison) when using the same amount of this instead of all-purpose flour, you will require more water.
To avoid the result being too dense, it is advisable to use half whole wheat flour and the other half of another type (ie: spelt flour). Always adjust the water amount accordingly with all flours, don’t just put the whole amount recommended in one go.
I added the amount of water stated in the recipe but now the dough is too dry/wet, why?
Flour’s humidity levels may change on how this is stored, where you live (hotter/colder countries), type, so the water it will absorb depends on multiple factors. Never add the water or flour in one go, always a bit at a time, mixing in between, ensuring neither is added in excess.
What do I need to prepare this bread?
A mixing bowl, rolling pin, and a pan (plus something to turn the bread on the pan!); this flatbread is cooked on a pan and not oven-baked, therefore the dough can be prepared in advance, while the flatbreads cooked last minute, to be served hot.
How can I use this Lebanese mountain bread?
You can use it for wraps, as pitas to serve with hummus, with different sauces cutting it in triangles like tortilla chips, or in any other way you fancy!
This bread is not salty, nor sweet, so you can also roll it with some peanut butter and jelly, some bananas and honey, you name it!
~~ Why not mix-and-match? Try this delicious Chicken Tikka Recipe to fill your wraps!
Can I warm up the wraps if I prepare too many?
Yes, you can. Either lightly wet them and warm up on a pan with a low flame, or put them on a plate with a glass of water on the side and warm up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds; the water will stop the bread from going too dry by releasing moisture in the microwave.
How can I store my ready-made flatbreads?
For freshness, store in an airtight container, but if you do not have one big enough, you can use cling film instead.
Can I use my dough at different times?
Sure, you can use half after the second rising and the other half after the overnight rising; this will allow you to taste the difference and decide which way you prefer it!
You will love this recipe because it is straightforward, easy, quick (it requires you to be around for only a couple of minutes at each stage!) and tasty; after trying this very family-friendly recipe you will say ‘no’ to store-bought flatbread – truly!
I have divided the ingredients by ‘stage’, so you can get out only the ingredients you require at the stage you are at. You will notice that although I normally write in grams, this recipe is in cups – this is because of the humidity in the flour, and have found it easier (and quicker) to work this way on this occasion. When using a ‘cup’ measurement – always use the same, if you are not using a traditional measuring cup.
Give this recipe a go, you’ll find your new wrapping ingredient obsession!
~~ If you love experimenting with homemade bread, try this delicious Bhature recipe?
First stage: preparing the wet base
- ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Dry Yeast (I use Allinson’s Easy-Bake)
- 1 tsp White Caster Sugar
- 3/4 cup Warm Water
Second Stage: preparing the first dough
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
Third Stage: creating the final dough
- 4 tbsp All-Purpose Flour (for knitting as required)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients of the first stage and mix well; this is what I call the ‘wet base’ as it will be as liquid as water. Set the bowl aside for 60 minutes; this will allow the yeast to get activated and the mixture will bubble.
- After the wet base has been left to bubble for 60 minutes, add the ingredients of the second stage to the bowl and mix well. At this stage, you will find yourself with very sticky dough.
- Straight away, move to the third stage: put two tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour on the countertop and start working the sticky dough with it; continue adding the last two tablespoons of flour until you reach the consistency of a very soft dough, which is not sticky, nor overly-dry. As mentioned before, you may find yourself needing a bit less or a bit more flour; adjust accordingly.
- Create a smooth ball with the dough and place it in the mixing bowl again; cover its surface with the olive oil mentioned in the third stage. This will ensure that the dough does not go dry and keeps moist while rising. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or clingfilm and set aside for the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes; ensure you do not leave the dough in an overly cold or warm room – normally next to the cooker is the perfect area.
- After this has risen for 60 to 90 minutes you can either go ahead and cook the bread or continue with the next step, which is the overnight rise. Should you wish to do this, gently knead the dough and transfer it to a reusable kitchen plastic bag, removing as much air as possible; if you do not have this, you can use cling film. Put in the fridge and allow to rise for another 8+ hours or overnight.
- Once you are ready to cook, you can divide the dough into eight balls; with a rolling pin, helping yourself with a little dusting of flour (leftover from stage 3), roll the dough out until it is about 1-2mm thick.
- To cook, warm up a flat pan on medium heat; once the pan is warm put the rolled out dough on it and allow it to cook. Air bubbles will start forming and the bread will balloon quite quickly, so turn the flatbread and allow it to cook on the other side. Each bread will take around two minutes to cook.
- OPTIONAL: Should you wish, brush some olive oil on the flatbread on the cooked side, before turning again and doing the same on the other side.
- Do not overcook the bread, as you want it to stay soft; this flatbread will not become dark while cooking as it is not baked in the oven, you will only have some darker spots where the air bubbles created and have maintained contact with the pan for longer. This flatbread, when cooked correctly, remains soft also once cold, so any leftover can be lightly reheated.