We tried our hand at making Indian bread before we left for India with pretty good results. While our bread puffed on the griddle the finished product was not as tender as some of the roti we tasted in country. With practice and some more sampling I’m sure we can improve our technique. We found this method of mixing the dough in a food processor a very convenient alternative to the labor intensive hand mixing method. The whole wheat roti flour was purchased at I Shop Indian.
Based on the recipe in Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni.
1 ½ cup whole wheat roti flour
½ cup warm water (90° – 100°)
Flour for dusting work surface
Mixing the dough in a food processer
Use the regular cutting blade and place the flour in the processer bowl. Pulse once. With the machine running pour about half the water into the flour in a slow steady stream. As the dough starts to clump slow down the rate to a dribble. As soon as the dough balls together in one mass stop adding water. Continue to process for another 40 to 50 seconds to knead the dough. The dough is finished when it is soft, pliable and shiny.
Shaping and cooking the bread
Remove the dough from the processer and place in a bowl and cover with a moist cloth or plastic wrap. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, preferable in a warm location (100°- 120°). The dough can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before rolling the dough.
Preheat the griddle over a medium-high flame.
To roll out and shape the roti, divide the dough into two balls and form each one into a rope. Pinch off about one inch sections to roll out into discs. This is according the directions found in the original recipe. Watching the process in India I noticed that they used much larger sections of dough and rolled the dough out thicker than in this recipe.
Dust the ball with flour and flatten into a disc. (Keep the remaining dough covered to prevent drying out.) Place the disc on a floured work surface and roll back and forth into a 8-9 inch circle. Dust to prevent sticking but try not too use too much flour. This is where I think my batch got too tough – too much flour.
Place the rolled out disc on the griddle and cook for about 45 seconds. It will start to brown. Flip it over and cook an additional 30 seconds or so. It may puff which is a very good sign. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.