When we dispatch offerings outdoors, we try not to do undue damage to the environment. Paper and cardboard as well as bamboo and large leaves are often used as offering plates. A big flatbread is another option. This recipe is for a dough that once grilled in a frying pan, becomes stiff and chewy. It can usually withstand somewhat wet foods and has lots of pits that prevent things from rolling or sliding around too much.
Remember when you’re making this that it is not an exact science, and you will be going a lot on feel. Also, the bigger they are, the floppier they will be. This dough will usually stay stiff up to a spread hand’s width; 20-30cm, but larger than this and there is a risk of it bending in the middle.
These are best made on the day they will be used or the day before. If you refrigerate or freeze them, it introduces moisture that may take away from its resistance to the water in the food placed on it. If you need to store them long term, go for freezing. Put them in a bag that closes well and add some cooking papers between them.
Another advantage of this bread is portability and stealth. You can easily keep this in a backpack as you travel. They look like normal flatbread or pita.
This bread can also be the offering itself. Just be mindful that adding things to it larger than sunflower or pumpkin seeds might create holes.
- For: 13 pieces
- Preparation: 1 h 30 min
- Cooking: 5 min
- Ready in: 1 h 35 min
- In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of warm water with the yeast and a half teaspoon of the sugar. Stir until the yeast is dissolved and let it get foamy.
- Put the rest of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. Notice I didn't say sift it. Don't bother with that unless you need to for ceremonial reasons. Some warrior deities require some sort of "threshing" behavior.
- When the yeast water is a bit foamy, add it to the flour mixture, and start combining. At this point you can start folding in more water until it starts forming a very stiff dough.
- When there is just enough water to moisten everything and hold it together, begin to knead the dough strongly. You want it to be somewhat elastic, but with just enough water to make it shape-able.
- Once the dough is stretchy but difficult, put it into an oiled bag or bowl that you can cover well.
- Let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight, or rise for an hour in a warm place. If it is during the colder months, give it up to 2 hours. You want it to double in size.
- Heat up your pan. Cast iron is best for this. You want it to be very hot, but not so hot that things will burn instantly. The heat should be at about medium to medium high.
- Add a tablespoon or so of oil to the pan.
- Take out a handful of dough and stretch it into a disk. Then lay it in the pan. You don't want to roll this. You need to stretch it so that a sort of "rim" is created around the edges.
- Fry until the bottom is golden brown in most spots. Then flip it to do the same to the other side.
- When it's done, put it on a plate, and start the next one. Keep going until you use up your dough.
- When they are all done, try to spread them out and let them cool completely before storing in a bag or container.
Now you have chewy, stiff, flatbreads you can use as outdoor offering plates or offerings themselves. If you want to make them prettier, you can roll them out, but I’d recommend rolling them to twice the thickness you want and then pressing from the middle outwards so you are still creating a rim.
You can also poke shallow holes in them with a fork and bake them, but there is a risk of their becoming puffy.
Blessings and Ashé!
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