Pan de Chapa

Pan de Chapa

Imagine yourself in a gorgeous Patagonian landscape, surrounded by mountains and horses, and a camp fire. The sun is setting, the meat is slowly cooking on the parilla (grill), and campfire bread dough is bubbling its way to perfection on a cast iron skillet…

This is what I think of whenever I make Pan de Chapa (chapa bread) at home! If you’re not near a camp-fire, you can cook this bread in a cast iron skillet on your stove-top. This no-bake bread is easy to make, and compliments appetizers, cured meats, or a tapenade perfectly! (Not to mention, its original pairing… an asado (Argentine BBQ)…)

You will need:

  • 500g of flour
  • roughly a tablespoon of coarse salt
  • 15g of fresh yeast – (if you are using dry yeast, you use a third, so: 5g)
  • roughly a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (and more for the bowl)
  • roughly 300 ml of luke-warm water

Firstly, I let my fresh yeast dissolve in a little of the luke-warm water. Depending on the weather (heat, humidity) you may or may not need to use all 300ml of your luke-warm water. You will be able to tell as you kneed the dough. As a general rule of thumb, a little over 300ml is needed.

Cover the inside of a glass or ceramic bowl with a dab of olive oil. You can also flour it, but I prefer to use oil. Set this aside. Soak a large and thick kitchen towel with hot water. Wring it out and also set it aside.

Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix well.

Add olive oil and then water in gradual amounts until the dough starts to form.

Kneed the dough until it is smooth. Do not overwork the dough. It should be slightly sticky to touch and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, and place in the lightly oiled glass or ceramic bowl, covering it with the damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm place. It should double in size. This will require at least an hour, but I prefer to let mine slowly rise over the course of a few hours, giving the yeast proper time to do its magic.

For the next step, you will need a roasting dish or a cookie tray that has large/tall sides (you will need to cover it once more to let it rise again. I believe a roasting dish works best as its able to be covered)

Lightly flour your counter space and roll out the dough into a large rectangle shape.
Don’t roll it out too thin. It should be about 1cm thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares, and transfer it into the large roasting dish to rise – cover this dish or tray once more with a damp cloth and let it rise for roughly one hour.

After the dough has risen a second time, and is cut in squares, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. High heat will cause the bread to get too brown on the outside.

Cook the bread squares in batches over medium heat – roughly 5 to 7 minutes on each side

They should puff while you are cooking them. This creates wonderful dough pockets on the inside!

Transfer to a basket or plate and add some course salt.

 

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