Pizza dough in a hurry?
People always ask me about easy pizza dough recipes, and where to buy pre-made pizza dough when in a pinch. Most pre-made dough is either expensive or the wrong style for wood-burning ovens. This week, while pre-baking 100 pizza rounds for a crowd I found myself wishing I could grab some pre-made rounds just in case I hadn’t made enough. Walking down the aisle at Costco, I spotted ready-to-bake Roti Chapati. Could Chapati substitute for pizza dough? I decided to find out.
Flatbread by another name
Every culture seems to have a flatbread, and the ingredients are similar. Roti chapati is a flatbread associated with the Indian subcontinent. Eat Your World‘s article, Breads: naan, roti, chapati explains the difference between naan and chapati:
Roti and chapati are both unleavened wheat-flour breads rolled out much thinner than naan and cooked on a tawa, or flat griddle; the breads are so similar as to be interchangeable in name (technically, chapati is a type of roti), and so popular that the average Indian will have some at every meal.
Chapati is traditionally unleavened and made from stoneground whole wheat flour, called atta. Today there are a variety of recipes made from different kinds of flour and ingredients. Some of the chapati-style breads are leavened, like the roti chapati I bought at Costco. Many are made with blends of stoneground atta flour and bread flour or coconut flour.
Chapati has its place
In India and Pakistan, chapati is eaten at every meal as a carrier for curries, savory meats and to mop of sauces. The very qualities that make it so good, its soft, creamy texture, suppleness, and higher fat content, make it not a suitable substitute for pizza. A slice of pizza should be eaten out of hand. Our foolproof pizza dough recipe makes fantastic pizza rounds that are lean, flavorful, and firm enough to roll thin and support sauce and toppings. I’ll keep looking for a ready-made, just-in-case alternative when I can’t make the dough myself.
Thoughts on pre-made Chapati
Pre-made chapati is a great option for wood-fired entertaining. Whether hosting an Indian-food-themed party (see our blog on using your oven as a tandoor) or just adding an easy appetizer to any menu.
Bake it on the oven floor and it puffs and browns beautifully. It bakes well at lower heat than pizza, so if the fire is raging, cook chapati closer to the oven mouth. For appetizers, just bake these while the oven is warming up. We love roti chapati plain or dipped in garlic butter. It makes a great carrier for hummus, guacamole, roasted tomato salsa, and queso—easy appetizers.
Chapati makes delicious roll-ups with turkey slices and attractive pinwheels with savory cream cheese. My favorite application was as a carrier for meat and veggies cooked on kabobs. It’s tradition!