1. dumpling skins

I haven?t left the house in just over two weeks. The furthest I?ve gone is into our little front yard to check on how the snowpeas are coming along.

When New Zealand went into total shutdown, there wasn?t much time to prepare for anything. Overall, everyone had 48 hours. My brain went into an automated grab ?n dash kind of mode since the shelves were almost empty.

The supply chain was not going to catch up in time before the lockdown happened and I ended up with flour and rice, among other random things like kimchi and a lot of soy sauce.

2 weeks in and a lot of my friends have run out of things to make ? not because they haven?t got any food left in the pantry, but rather it?s the boredom of eating the same things over and over again. Everyone is sick of pasta. Everyone is sick of making bread.

For me, I?ve got a toddler ? which means to keep things interesting, I needed to get creative with the stash of flour I?ve got.

And it turns out you can make a lot with just flour, water, and salt.

Without further ado, here are 10 things you can make with flour ? with my own personal recipes.

Easy to make and kid-friendly to eat. You can use whatever you want as the filling. In the past, I?ve thrown whatever I had in and called it a day.

How to make:

1 part flour + a quarter part water + pinch of salt

  • Mix together to form a smooth ball. Leave for gluten in the flour to relax for about 15 minutes. Break off little bits at a time and roll into a thin sheet. Use something round to cut out the wrappers.
  • Fill wrappers with meat or vegetables. Pinch the edges closed. Cook either via steaming, boiling or in a frying pan with a bit of water and oil. Serve with soy sauce if you?ve got some.

2. flatbread

Don?t have yeast? Don?t have baking powder or baking soda? Never fear, you can actually make something just out of flour and water. Add a bit of salt if you?ve got some.

How to make:

1 part flour + a quarter part water + pinch of salt

  • mix into a ball. Leave for 10?15 minutes. Grab a smaller ball from the dough. Roll as thinly as it?ll go. Gently heat up your pan and throw your rolled out dough on it. Cook on both sides.
  • optional ? you can add garlic, a little bit of yogurt or milk (replace your water proportionately), spices and whatever else when making your original ball. It?ll give the bread flavor and dimension.

3. tortillas

Same idea as the flatbread, but without the optional additions. You can use it as wraps for your other things or just eat it as is. If you cook them for longer on really low heat, they can turn into tortilla chips.

How to make:

1 part flour + a quarter part water + pinch of salt

  • mix into a ball. Leave for 10?15 minutes. Roll as thinly as it?ll go. Gently heat up your pan and throw your rolled out dough on it. Cook on both sides.

4. paratha

It?s basically a flaky version of flatbread. Paratha is the Indian version but other countries have something similar. It?s basically flour with some salt, rolled into a long strip and then squished to form a flat disc.

How to make:

2 parts flour + a quarter part water + pinch of salt + pinch of sugar

(I hope you?re seeing a trend in the base recipe for a lot of my flour related cooking?)

  • mix into a ball. Leave for 10?15 minutes. Roll into a long snake thing. Curl it up. Press into flat disc. Throw into a semi-hot skillet. Cook on both sides. For the Asian version, add herbs like chives and fry in some oil.

5. naan

If you?ve got yeast, here?s something you can make that?s not baked bread. Again, don?t think too much about it. Most of the time, this comes out alright.

How to make:

1 part flour + a quarter part water + pinch of salt + a pinch of yeast

  • Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of water, add some flour and leave for about 10 minutes. If it bubbles a little, then your yeast is working. If not, it?s ok. Just make the rest of the recipe without the yeast. You can replace the water with milk or yogurt to make your naan softer. Roll and cook in a pan.

6. fry bread

Similar to the naan recipe, minus the milk or yoghurt. Add whatever herbs or spices you want when making your ball. Yeast is optional and can be replaced with banking powder.

How to make:

1 part flour + a quarter part water + pinch of salt + pinch of sugar + a pinch of yeast/or baking powder + whatever spices or herbs you?ve got

  • mix everything into a ball. Roll into a long snake. Roll up the snake and squish it into a flat disc (use your hands, not a rolling pin). Heat up your pan with some oil. Fry your disc until golden brown.

7. crepes

This is one to make if you don?t want to use too much flour.

How to make:

1 part flour + 2 parts water or milk + pinch of salt and sugar

  • mix everything. It should end up quite runny. Heat up your pan and coat the bottom with oil or butter to make it non-stick. Pour some into the pan. Lift your pan and swirl it so it evenly spreads across the entire surface. Cook and serve.

8. noodles

Noodles is one of the most underrated things you can make with flour. I?ve made full meals out of this, much to my mother in law?s surprise when I sent her a picture. It?s not hard. I promise.

How to make:

1 part flour + a quarter part water + pinch of salt

  • mix into a ball and leave for about 15 minutes. The longer you can leave it (overnight is a good timeframe), the better. It just makes your noodles more elastic. Roll out the dough as thinly as you can, coating the surface with some flour to stop it from sticking to the surface. Cut into noodle strips and throw into a pot of boiling water. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. The thickness of your noodle will double once it?s cooked through ? so the thicker your dough, the thicker your noodles will end up.

9. pasta

With or without eggs, you?re in luck. It?s the same theory as noodles except you don?t have to leave it for too long. Once you?ve got the base sheet, you can make things like ravioli and tortellini ? which is basically the Italian version of dumplings.

How to make:

1 egg + 1 cup flour (yes, this recipe has measurements) + 1/8th cup of water

  • mix everything into a ball. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Roll into a flat sheet and decide if you want to make ravioli or tortellini, which in this case you?ll need fillings to put in it. Alternatively, you can cut into strips to make fettuccini or use it as lasagne strips. The base is the same ? just the shape is different. Cook in boiling hot water. Or if you?re lazy like me, throw it into the pasta sauce and let it simmer for a little bit.

10. steamed buns

The Chinese call it Bao Buns. You can either have it plain or fill it with whatever you want. I?m one of those people that don?t really fuss over too much ? as long as it tastes good. Usually, the filling is a mix of ground meat with some vegetables and a bit of soy sauce to taste.

How to make:

1 tbsp dry yeast + 1 cup flour + 1/4 tsp baking powder + pinch of salt + five pinches of sugar + 1/6 cup water + 1/6 cup milk

  • start your yeast. Add everything together. Mix into a ball. Let it double in size. Work into small balls. If you want to add fillings, work each ball into a disc, add the fillings and then close it up. Let it double in size again. Steam until cooked through (takes about 15 to 20 minutes).

11 ? bonus recipe, requires an oven

I call it dimple bread. My dad tells me it?s focaccia.

How to make:

2 parts flour + 1 part water + yeast + pinch of salt

  • Add everything. Form into a ball. Transfer it to your cooking/cake pan/oven safe skillet. Let it double in size. Dimple the surface of your dough with your fingers. Sprinkle with salt (the bigger the flakes, the better but no fuss), oregano and basil. Bake on 450F/180C for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Viola! You now have bread. It?ll keep for about 2 days before going stale.

Final words

I?m sure you?ve spotted the trend in how I deal with the various pan related bread. Overall, I?m a pretty lazy kind of chef and over the years, I?ve discovered that different kinds of bread are essentially determined by how much liquid is used to form the final mixture/ball.

Runnier mixtures make good crepes and pancakes. Ball based mixtures make good flatbread.

Whatever you end up with, just remember to add a bit of salt and let your dough rest so that it?s easier to roll. Apart from that, it?s just mostly how you cook it.

You can cook it either by steaming, frying (with or without oil) or boiling ? each will produce a different kind of flour-based dish. You don?t need to get technical with what they?re called if you?re just after some good and quick food. Play it by sight and texture and you?ll be a pro in no time.


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