How to Make Homemade Bread Without an Oven

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The smell of homemade bread wafting through your house may be even better than the taste. If you don't have an oven, you can still achieve both smell and taste at home -- if you adjust your thinking about bread. When most people picture bread, they picture a light, fluffy loaf, leavened with either yeast or baking soda and baking powder. Traditional Indian flatbreads such as roti and chapati require no leavening, almost no preparation time -- and no oven. There's no rule that says you can only eat them with Indian foods, either; try them with anything.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, plus a little more
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Ghee or vegetable oil
  • Frying pan
  • Tongs
  • Big spatula
  • Combine 1 cup whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup lukewarm water and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

  • Knead together with your hands until dough forms a smooth, elastic ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.

  • Divide dough into four roughly equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap whenever you are not working with any of the balls.

  • Sprinkle a little flour on your counter. Roll each ball out to form rough circle, about 1/4 inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Simply estimate it with your eyes; a ruler is not necessary. This is a single unbaked roti or chapati bread.

  • Heat your frying pan over medium to high heat, then add a little ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil. Add just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, not so much that it forms a puddle. Continue heating until the butter or oil begins to sizzle.

  • Place one roti/chapati in the frying pan once the fat is sizzling. Watch closely and flip it over with the tongs when small bubbles begin to form on the top of the bread.

  • Set a big spatula over the middle of the roti to press it down as the second side bakes. It will begin to puff up, and the spatula prevents it puffing too much. Bread is done when both sides are light golden brown and have brown spots. Repeat with remaining unbaked roti/chapati breads.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if you use a nonstick frying pan for cooking your roti/chapati, use a little fat in the bottom for flavor. Do not use too much, or you will deep-fry the bread.
  • Roti/chapati are traditionally ripped apart and used to pick up morsels of food at meals. However, they may also be smeared with condiments and eaten as a snack or dessert. In Thailand, roti pastries are assembled by street food vendors with fresh fruit and condensed milk.
  • Do not be tempted to start cooking the roti before the fat has started sizzling. If the pan is not hot enough, the roti may stick. Also, more fat will be absorbed into the bread.

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