10 - 15 Minutes
Laffa is an a thin flatbread of Iraqi origins prominent in Israeli cuisine. Charlotte chef, Shai Fargian, churns out thousands of these filled with falafel, beef kofta, spiced salmon, and more at his Mediterranean street food restaurants, YAFO Kitchen, in Charlotte.
Fargian has one of the more interesting backstories, starting with growing up in Israel where he served in the Israeli army and learned to cook traditional Persian meals alongside his grandmother. He began his culinary career under celebrity chef Avi Britton before moving to New York with his now wife Sharon where he worked under renowned restaurateur David Burke.
The couple eventually moved to Charlotte where YAFO Kitchen was born. It’s named after the ancient Israeli port city, and it’s where Fargian combines his native recipes and global knowledge to put out Mediterranean fare with Middle Eastern flavors at three locations around Charlotte. Here, Fargian shares with us his guide to making laffa.
Mix sugar with yeast, olive oil, and 3¼ cups warm water. Let the yeast bloom for 5 minutes, then add flour and salt. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, then switch to high speed and mix for another 1 minute.
Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and proof in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.
Once doubled in size, fold 4 times, then form into a ball again. Cut into 16 pieces, approximately 140 grams each.
Roll the pieces into balls once more. Freeze immediately or place in an oiled pan and proof for another 20 minutes before baking.
When ready to bake, flatten each ball with your hands to create round flatbread. Use a rolling pin to thin out the dough. Using your hands, stretch the dough out to a 10-inch circle.
Set a Big Green Egg, with a convector, grill net, and the baking stone in place, to 550 degrees. Bake each flatbread for 30 seconds. Flip and bake for 30 to 45 seconds or until brown spots appear. Stack them together under a linen napkin so that they steam and soften.
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