Adventures in Aga land

At the beginning of January we spent a week housesitting in rural Lancashire. It was a beautiful house in a very quiet location and there were two dogs to walk. It rained almost the whole week so I spent much of it stood over the aga in the kitchen. I have never cooked on an aga before so this was quite an adventure in itself. The only other oven was a microwave so I had to get familiar with Mary Berry’s Aga Book.

I don’t think I ever got used to the fact that the heat was ALWAYS there, no preheating the oven. The hotplates were definately my favourite thing about it, how versatile! I managed to bake scones and cupcakes in the roasting oven with much, smug success. I had been given Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book Veg Everyday {highly recommend} for Christmas so I thought I’d give the Flatbread recipe a try.

I don’t know how many batches I made, I had a bowl of risen dough in the fridge ready for a quick flatbread whenever the moment took me. The secret to the success was definitely cooking them on the simmering plate with the lid down, they puffed up magnificently resulting in amazing light, fluffy flatbreads. We ate them with curry, stew, soup, chilli, everything.

"Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall" flatbread

Flatbread Dough

makes 8

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 250g Strong White Flour
  • 1 and half tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp easy-blend dried Yeast
  • 325ml Warm Water
  • 1 tbsp Oil plus extra for oiling

Put the flours into a nice big bowl along with the salt and yeast. Mix it all up then add the water and the oil, combining it into a dough. Flour your hands and tip it out onto the work surface then knead your cares away for 5 – 10 minutes, until smooth. It should be a loose sticky dough. Don’t go over flouring it, go with it and it will become less sticky as you knead.

Trickle some oil into a clean bowl and turn the dough in it to coat. Cover the bowl with a teatowel and leave it to rise somewhere warm. It needs to be double in size, which should take anything from and hour upwards.

Once it has risen, tip it out and knock all the air out of it by jabbing it. Now separate the dough into eight evenly sized pieces and roll them out into circles or ovals a few millimetres thick. Leave them to rest for about five minutes.

Put one of the circles directly onto the simmering plate of aga {or onto a preheated heavy based non stick frying pan} and close the lid down. After a minute or so, take a peak, it should have bubbles on the surface. Flip it over and cook the other side. You should be able to judge when it is cooked through. The lid really speeds things up, if you are using just a pan it will take a bit longer I expect and maybe not rise as much.

I haven’t made these since as I’m sure cooking them in a pan on a normal hob will be disappointing compared to the Aga experience. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down {and get a big kitchen with an Aga}, but until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on………

Aga Tea

Afternoon tea, Aga style! I must confess I didn’t make the beautiful cake in the centre though, that credit goes to David Hodgson.

5 Responses

  1. My mum always gives me her copies of Country Living when she’s finished with them. Without fail there is at least one kitchen featuring an Aga, and without fail I swoon each time! (:

    • haha, i love Agas, i still wouldn’t be without a decent electric fan oven as well though- if i was to have my dream kitchen! We housesit two houses with Agas and they’re great fun xx

  2. Dave says:

    Looks yuuumm-my

  3. Sophie Wild says:

    Mmmmm, and a very yummy, cosy, perfect afternoon tea it was!!xx
    Ps. Brill blog – love it!