I know, I know! Cinnamon is supposed to be paired with apples and overripe bananas are supposed to be mixed into cake batter and sent into loaf pans to bake. Even my son knows it. He’s all of three, by the way. But sometimes dementia can strike early. Like when you buy apples and forget why you bought them. And then pulsing it in the mixer jar into a milkshake for your son and offering it to him in his favourite sipper. And then, drinking it all off when no amount of coaxing him works.
And then your son reminds you, “Amma I asked for banana milkshake!” And then you regain your memory: “Aaah! Those apples were for the flatbread and the bananas for his milkshake!” But by then it is too late. The apples are already in a fuzzy state in your tummy and thankfully, bananas are available on the counter! So you blend a couple of them bananas in your mixer jar with some milk and add some cocoa powder as bonus points for your son for asking for a glass of milkshake on his own. But then, your son simply says, “Amma, I’m not in a mood for milkshake now.” And so, you gulp down another glass of milkshake, secretly happy this time around, since you added cocoa to it!
Coming back to the flatbread, all you’ve got is bananas on the counter – just two of them at that. So, you rummage in the refrigerator and find a couple of chikoos in the vegetable basket (don’t ask how they found their way there!), so you make a banana & chikoo flatbread. Well, bananas and cinnamon pair well too! I have to admit the chikoos weren’t a great addition here. Apart from me, nobody appreciated the chikoo’s presence there! For that matter, hubby also mentioned after the “it’s very nice” comment that “apples would have been wonderful on this bread!”
I soooooo wanted to make this recipe. Admitted the King Arthur Flour blog (where I found this recipe) has some droolicious (I know such an overused word by food bloggers, but still…) pictures of this flatbread. But the real big reason was that since making the sourdough starter in January, I had refreshed it only a couple of times. When you don’t refresh it regularly (at least once a week or so), the starter loses its potency and each refreshment means discarding most of the starter and using a small portion to refresh. I know that sounds pretty confusing. I’m often confused too. So I kind of keep the Bread Baker’s Apprentice at arm’s length always, ’cause that’s the recipe I used for the sourdough!
Anyway, the KAF recipe uses all-purpose flour and milk powder; I skipped the latter and used regular Indian wheat flour instead. I applied the soaker technique from the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf recipe to ensure I didn’t end up with a dense flatbread.
The recipe also uses boiled cider and cooking maple, both of which I don’t have. Instead, I used a simply jaggery syrup that I make often as a vegan replacement for the rich caramel syrup. My jaggery “caramel” has real vanilla powder and organic Ceylon cinnamon in it. I love the taste of it. As I often do, I managed to over-bake the flatbread by a few minutes. The bread was still wonderfully soft, only that the syrup drizzled on top left fewer gooey puddles than I’d have liked!
And if you’ve got loads of starter discard than you have use for, skip your usual pancakes-for-breakfast routine and try this for once. You’re sure to love it.
Cinnamon & Banana Flatbread (with Sourdough discard)
(makes one 9 inch by 13 inch flatbread or two 8inch square flatbreads)
Bottom of FormSourdough starter (fed or unfed) – ½ cup (I used the unfed discard)
Lukewarm water – 1/2 cup to soak wheat bran, plus 1-2 tbsp (if required)
Instant yeast – ¾ tsp
Whole wheat flour – 1 ½ cup
Salt – ¾ tsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
For the filling:
Apples – 2, large (I used sliced bananas and chikoo)
Boiled cider * – 3 tbsp
Maple syrup* – 3 tbsp
(* KAF suggests using apple juice concentrate in the absence of boiled cider. I used a little more than ¼ cup of simple jaggery syrup made with powdered organic jaggery, water, vanilla powder and cinnamon powder boiled together to the required consistency)
For the topping:
Cinnamon sugar – 2 tbsp (I had this wonderful bottle of homemade cinnamon sugar gifted by my co-blogger Kamalika. You could simply use a mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon powder)
1/4 cup syrup, reserved from cooked apples (I skipped the cooking part since I was using bananas)
The day before you plan to make the flatbread, sift 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour through a fine sieve two to three times. Soak the coarse part that is left behind in the sieve in 1/4 cup of water
The next day, mix the sieved flour, the soaked bran (along with the water) and the rest of the ingredients for the dough and knead for about 10 minutes (by hand) to make a smooth and soft dough. You can add additional water if needed
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover, and let it rise for about an hour. Gently deflate it, and allow it to rise till it at least doubles up
Slice your bananas into roundels. If using apples, peel and core them and dice them into one-inch chunks
Sauté them in a pan along with boiled cider (or apple juice concentrate) maple syrup (or honey or caramel syrup or jaggery syrup) till they become soft but hold shape. Drain the apples, reserving the juice. Set them aside to cool while the dough is rising
Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan or two 8 inch pans. Additionally, drizzle about 1-2 tsp olive oil: the first greasing keeps the bread from sticking, while the olive oil is said to give the bottom crust great crunch and flavour. The bottom of my flatbread wasn’t quite crunchy, though the sides of the crust were
Gently deflate the risen dough, then pull and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, and place it in the pan. If making two 8-inch pans, divide the dough in half, and put in the two smaller pans. Pat and stretch the dough to fill the bottom of the pan. If the dough shrinks, cover the pan and let it rest for some ten minutes and then pat it towards the edges of the pan again till the dough fills out the bottom of the pan
Arrange the banana (or apple) chunks atop the dough
Drizzle the topping ingredients (leftover syrup from cooking apples, if using and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar
Cover the bread, and let it rise for about an hour – it should be nice and puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F
Uncover the bread bake for about 25 minutes, till the crust is golden brown around the edges and feels done in the middle. I baked them in 8 inch pans and mine were a little overdone by 25 minutes. I’d say start checking at around 20 minutes
Once done, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool somewhat