Pan de Chapa, literally meaning ‘bread from the hotplate’, is a great Argentine non-bake bread. Similar to a flat breads that you might find back home, this bread is cut into square pieces and is traditionally cooked outdoors on an open fire in the countryside. In my rendition however, it is cooked in a pan over a hot gas stove in the centre of Buenos Aires. Whilst this may not generate the same smokey flavour as an open fire, it is nonetheless, very tasty. It only takes 10 minutes to cook and is a great alternative to traditional breads that need to be baked in the oven for an hour or so. And, as it’s so quick to cook, it’s a good alternative to sandwich breads. Of course, when summer time comes you can really impress your friends by cooking this on the BBQ and serving it with burgers or alongside a range of meats.
Pan de Chapa (non-bake hotplate bread)
500g (1lb) white flour (use 0000 if in Argentina)
15g fresh yeast or 5g dried yeast
310ml tepid water (38-43C)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1. Place the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, add the olive oil and then the tepid water, a little at a time, until the mixture starts to form a dough.
2. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic. Form the dough into the shape of a ball, place in a floured bowl, cover with a damp towl and leave to prove in a warm place for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (or until the dough has doubled in size).
3. Roll out the dough to form a rectangular shape so that it is approxamately 15 x 30cm and 6mm thick. Then, using a sharp knife, cut into squares, about 7 or 8cm large.
4. Place these in a floured oven proof baking tray, cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove in a warm place until they’ve doubled in size (about 30 minutes). If you’re cooking these outdoors on an open fire, place the bread squares to prove next to the fire.
5. Warm up a hotplate or a pan on a moderate heat. If using a pan, place the bread pieces in the pan (only a 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan) and cook on one side until they start to grow in size and brown at the bottom, about 5 minutes. Then turn to the other side and continue to cook over a moderate heat for another 4-5 minutes, until done. If you’re using an open fire or BBQ, lower the heat once the bread squares are added to the heat to ensure they don’t burn.
6. To serve these, cut them in half and fill with the sandwich filling of your choice.
Corinne’s serving suggestions
Don’t forget that these could be great alternatives to burger babs or pittas too.
This recipe has been taken from Francis Mallmann’s cookery book Siete Fuegos – Mi Cocina Argentina. The additional comments and translation is my own.