Think of laffa as the pita's softer, fluffier, pocketless cousin. The pliable, slightly chewy Iraqi flatbread enjoys tremendous popularity in Israel as well, where it's used as a sandwich wrap, for scooping up dips like hummus or baba ghanoush, and as an accompaniment to an Israeli breakfast spread (it's perfect for sopping up saucy shakshuka).
It's traditionally cooked in a taboon -- a clay-walled, wood-fired oven -- but you can get good results in a home oven with a pizza stone, or even an upside down rimmed baking sheet. You can also cook laffa on a grill pan or in a cast iron skillet, which scorches the bread and adds a little smoky flavor.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out the dough)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (or fine kosher salt)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
We know making bread can be intimidating, but stick with us and you'll have this delicious pita-like bread made in no time!
Make the Dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook (or, if mixing by hand, in a large bowl), combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle with the yeast, stir, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the yeast starts to foam.
Add the flour, salt, and olive oil. Mix on low speed (or with a large wooden spoon) until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough pulls into a ball. The dough will be soft and fairly sticky.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.
Flour a work surface. With well-floured hands, divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces. Cup each piece between your hands, shaping the dough into balls.
Cover the dough balls with a tea towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 10 to 20 minutes more.
To Bake the Laffa
While the dough is on it's second round of rising, preheat the oven to 500 F. Once the oven is preheated, place two rimmed baking sheets upside down in the oven, and allow to heat for 10 minutes. (If you are using a pizza stone, preheat to 525 F, and place the stone(s) in the oven when you turn it on.)
On a well-floured surface, roll each dough ball into a thin 8- to 10-inch round or oval. Prick all over with a fork.
Working quickly (but carefully!) so you don't let too much heat escape from the oven, transfer a piece of shaped dough onto each baking sheet or stone.
Cook for 3 to 6 minutes, or until the laffa begins to turn golden brown in spots.
Carefully remove the baked laffa from the oven with tongs, transfer to a platter, and cover with a piece of foil to keep the laffa warm and allow it to steam slightly. Working in batches, repeat with the rest of the dough.
Enjoy warm, or wrap in foil and store in a plastic bag for 1 to 2 days at room temperature. Reheat the foil-wrapped laffa before serving.
To Pan Fry the Laffa
Heat a grill pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with oil, and add a piece of laffa dough. Cook until the bottom begins to brown in spots, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn with tongs or a spatula, and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes more, or until the dough is cooked through, and the surface is bubbled and charred in spots.
Transfer the laffa to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm and steam slightly. Repeat with the rest of the dough, lightly oiling the pan as needed.