Sēti Berbere Beef Flatbreads
Makes two 10-inch flatbreads.
Beef spiced with berbere is a classic Ethiopian pairing and our inspiration for this recipe featuring our Classic Blend, Sēti Berbere. We also borrowed technique from a traditional Armenian flatbread, lahmajoun, where finely ground, spiced beef is spread on bread dough, topped with a bit of fresh cheese, then baked in a blazing-hot oven.
For this recipe, we use queso fresco as a stand-in for ayib — an Ethiopian cow’s milk, fresh cheese that’s often homemade — but you could use farmer’s cheese instead. The dough for these flatbreads is easily made, but you could substitute store-bought pizza dough if you’re short on time.
For the dough:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3 cups (360g) bread flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
For flatbread topping:
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
2 cloves garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
1 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (about ¾ cup)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 teaspoons Sēti Berbere
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ pound ground beef
4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
For the yogurt sauce and garnish:
¼ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Make the dough Put the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, whisk to mix. Set aside.
Measure 1 cup warm water (be exact!) and add the sugar and yeast to it; stir briefly to to help the yeast dissolve. Set aside until a foamy cap develops on the surface of the water, about 5 minutes. Add the yeast-water mixture to the bowl of flour, stir until a dough forms, then use your hands to knead the dough, right in the bowl, until no dry flour remains.
Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured work surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 4–5 minutes. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover, and set in a warm spot to rise for 1.
Make the topping (while the dough rises) Put the onion, garlic, tomato, tomato paste, Sēti Berbere, and salt into the bowl of a food processor that’s fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse a couple of times to mix the ingredients, then process until a smooth paste forms. Break the beef into chunks and add it to the bowl, pulse 4–5 times to combine thoroughly.
Make the flatbreads Adjust the oven racks so that one is in the center with none above it. Place a large baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 500° F. Cut two pieces of baking parchment to fit the baking sheet.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Working on one of the parchment sheets, pat and stretch one piece of dough into an 11-inch round that’s about ¼-inch thick. (Sprinkling about a teaspoon of flour on the parchment can make working the dough easier.) Center the dough round on the parchment and put half of the beef mixture on it. Spread the meat mixture over the dough, leaving about ½ inch space around the edge. Sprinkle half of the queso fresco over the meat.
Use the parchment to lift the flatbread onto a rimless baking sheet or pizza peel and to transfer the bread (and parchment) to the hot baking sheet in the oven. Bake until beef is browned and cooked through and the crust around the edge is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Repeat the process to make the second flatbread, assembling it while the first flatbread bakes.
Make the yogurt sauce Put the yogurt, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon water and stir to combine. (The sauce should be easy to drizzle, add more water as needed.)
To serve Drizzle the still warm flatbreads with the yogurt sauce, garnish with the parsley leaves, and sprinkle with a bit of Sēti Berbere. Cut the flatbreads into wedges and serve warm.