You don’t need an oven to make bread. All it takes is a hot griddle, or even an outdoor grill, to turn out freshly-made flatbreads for any meal.
The most famous stovetop bread in Napa comes from our Oxbow Public Market neighbors at the Model Bakery. Their griddled English muffins are so good that Oprah Winfrey has them flown to her in Chicago.
According to the Model Bakery Cookbook, English muffins are actually from New York City, where they were introduced as “toaster crumpets” in the 1880s. But humans have been making flatbreads since long before the oven was invented. A flat slab of stone was likely the first griddle.
With that in mind, you can feel confident in tackling flatbread at home with any equipment you have on hand. Once the dough is mixed and fermented, cooking it up is as easy as making pancakes. Here are two recipes we’ve made at home many times:
Naan, a traditional Indian bread made with egg and yogurt, can be cooked on your outdoor grill or on top of the stove. A ridged grill pan makes nice markings on the naan, but a griddle or other flat pan will do the job.
You can top your naan with almost any herbs or seeds that you like, or leave them bare. We like to add nigella seeds or methi leaves, both of which taste great and are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Our Whole Wheat Flatbread is not a pocket pita — those require an oven to puff them open — but makes an excellent companion to all kinds of main dishes and is handy for soaking up sauces.
You’ll be astonished at how quickly these cook. Be prepared!