Brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews, this buttery, flaky flatbread became so popular in Israel that it crossed into mainstream Israeli cuisine, joining the likes of falafel and hummus. It is traditionally served either savory—with hot tomato sauce and hard boiled eggs—or sweet with honey for Rosh Hashanah. Israelis now use the dough imaginatively to make an array of savory and sweet dishes, from hamantaschen to rugelach, pizza to calzones.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup + 4-6 tablespoons warm water
- 4 tablespoons melted butter or other pareve fat (can also be a mix of clarified butter and olive oil)
- Put flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and mix by hand. Add 1 cup of warm water and mix for about 5 minutes, adding water by the tablespoon, as necessary, until the dough comes together, a bit sticky, but firm. Form into a ball, wet your hand with water and pat all over the top surface and cover with a towel. Alternatively, cover with a wet towel. Let rest for 15 minutes. Knead dough again until smooth and elastic. Pat on top with a wet hand, cover and let rest for another 15 minutes.
- Dust a tray lightly with flour. Cut dough into 6 pieces, roll each into a ball and put on dusted tray. Pat top of balls with a wet hand, cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Grease a smooth board (not wooden) or counter surface lightly. With oiled hands gently stretch dough from center to edge while your hands keep moving around to create a circle. Put circle on board and stretch the dough to form a thin, translucent leaf. Work your way from the center first, then going around the circle, gently lift and stretch a small portion of the leaf at a time. Spread 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of melted butter all over the leaf. From the edge closest to you, roll the leaf away into a cylinder. Coil the cylinder around one of its ends to create a disk. Put on a tray and repeat with the other balls. These disks may be frozen for up to 1 month. To cook, use a pin to roll the disc into a thin circle. Heat a frying pan and put the dough in. Cook for about 3 minutes until one side is golden, then flip and cook until the other side is golden.