Following my previous test on the gluten, I felt like to continuing playing with the Italian flour by transforming it into a classic Chinese flatbread: the Scallion Pancakes!
Scallion Pancake is a classic Chinese flatbread that is welcomed by almost every Asian food lover! It has become so popular over the years, and it seems everyone has his own recipe. This time I would like to make some thin and foldable scallion pancakes rather than the thick and leavened scchiacciata type. That means no yeast is needed. Instead it requires a much softer and moisture dough, as well long-time resting.
In order to do this, two important additional procedures are applied in the dough making comparing to the previous hand-torn noodle dough:
First, using boiling water to mix the dough
Boiling water gives a softer dough, comparing the one made using room temperature water. Why is that? The heat of boiling water, when added into flour, was able to cook part of the protein. And those cooked protein won’t form gluten any more. In this case there is less gluten in the dough, hens easier to roll it thin and flat.
Thus by changing the ratio of boiling water & room-temp water, you adjust the softness of the dough. I usually go for half-half or 40-60%, but sometimes depending on how soft I would like my dough to be, I also like freestyle, which means measuring by the eyes rather than by the cups or scale.
Second, adding oil into the dough
The oil can prevent the dough from getting dry, and the same time help to cook it. However it needs to be added into the dough after water. Because it is the water helps the proteins in the flour to form the gluten. If the oil is mixed into the flour before or together with the water, which means part of the flour will not be in contact with water, thus quantity of the gluten formation would be reduced.
It is suggested to use corn oil, sunflower oil or other vegetable oil without strong scent. Olive oil is not recommended as the scent may overcome the scallion flavor.
Now let’s move on to talk about the flavor and the layers of the pancakes!
As the name says, this is a scallion flavored flatbread. The flavor comes from the chopped scallions embedded in between layers of the bread. So how should we put the scallion chops into the dough and at the same time maximally use their scent? And how to create some even thinner layers inside the flatbread?
These all can be done thanks to the flavored flour-oil mixture 油酥 (yóu sū).
The flour-oil mixture is a sauce made of flour, vegetable oil and seasonings. Because no water is involved, no gluten will be formed. When we lay the mixture on the surface of the flattened dough then fold it back, the folds will be separated by the mixture and becomes layers. And by pouring burning hot oil onto the chopped scallions, its fragrant shall be brought out immediately.
(continue to the recipe ➞)