Taste the World - Christmas Island - Roti Canai

*Official name: Territory of Christmas Island *Motto: "Research and Discovery" *Capital: Flying Fish Cove *Official Languages: Chinese, Malay, English *Government: Federal Consitutional Monarchy under the United Kingdom *Area: 52 sq mi *Population: (2011 estimate) 2,072 *Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD) *Time Zone: CXT *Drives on the: left *International code: CX  (data from Wikipedia)

For Christmas Island, I made Roti Canai, a delicious, and buttery flat bread. This bread is so delicious. You really should try making some. I even tried my hand at making a demonstration video. (Sorry for the awkward angle, I'll do better next time).

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Roti Canai

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter, room temperature (divided)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water

METHOD:

1. Mix the flour with the sugar, salt and about 1/4 of the melted (clarified) butter. Rub it together with your fingertips until it starts to get clumpy.

2. Add the egg, milk and water. Mix until well-combined, and then knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until you get a smooth, stretchy dough.

3. Divide the dough up into eight equal-sized parts and shape them into balls. Coat each ball of dough with about a teaspoon of melted butter, then cover them with a towel and let them rest for 4-6 hours.

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4. Cover a work surface of at least 2 feet by 2 feet with a thin layer of melted butter. In the center of the workspace, put about 1 teaspoon of melted butter. You will also need to cover your hands with melted butter.

5. Pick up the first ball and place it on the center of your workspace. Flatten it with your hand until it is about six inches in diameter. Pull the dough from the center outwards, working in 3 or 4 inch sections, until you've stretched it out into a large, uniformly paper-thin circle about 2 feet in diameter. You will need to go back and redo areas as needed, concentrating on the parts that are thicker. It's very stretchy but be careful, you can still end up with holes. See demonstration video: 

6. Take the sheet and roll it up loosely like a rope, trying to keep some air in between the layers (this is what replaces the yeast and makes the texture of the final bread light instead of dense). Now drizzle the rope with another teaspoon of melted butter.

7. Coil the first rope into a loose pinwheel shape, keeping plenty of small air pockets in between the coils. Tuck the end into the center, then repeat with the rest of the ropes. Flip them over and let rest for five minutes.

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8. Flatten the first pinwheel until it is about 7 or 8 inches in diameter. Melt some butter over low heat in a large griddle and cook the first dough until it is a deep golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining breads.

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