Sri Lankan Thati paan (flat-bread) is a crusty bread variety that mainly uses to serve with curries for dinner or breakfast. Golden and crusty on the outside yet fluffy and soft on the inside. Very comforting and super delicious.
Mix water and milk together. Make sure they both are in lukewarm temp. Dump the sugar. Do not mix. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface. It should start to foam up immediately on the edges.
(If not your yeast is not good and might have expired. Throw away and start fresh with new yeast.)
Add softened butter and salt. give a quick mix. And then add flour.
Knead the dough (about 8 - 10mins in the machine or 15-20 mins with hands) until it becomes soft, pliable, and lump-free. Read the recipe description for hand kneading instructions.
Make the dough into a rough ball with your hands. Apply some oil to the bowl. Put the dough in, seam side down. And apply a few drops of oil on top of the dough as well. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise until it's doubled in size. This would take roughly about 1 hr depending on the room temperature. Focus on the volume rather than time.
Transfer the dough to your worktop and remove gas by pressing the dough down.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roughly about 265g each.
Make each dough piece into rough balls with your hands. Arrange them on aside of your worktop. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap again and let them rest for about 15 mins. So the gluten would have some time to relax and it would be easier to flatten them out in the next step
Meanwhile, make the oil-flour mixture in a small bowl.
Take one ball out and flatten it out to a rectangular shape. The width should be similar to the width of the bread pan you’re using. Use your bread pan as a guideline.
Turn it upside down. So when you roll the dough the smoother surface goes to the outer visible side.
Roll the dough from top to bottom. Seal the edges with your fingers by pressing the edge with the dough or turn the seam side down to face the worktop and press the dough gently with your hands so the edges stick to the dough. Seal left and right sides too. It should look like a cylinder now. (Three of these cylindrical-shaped doughs go into one loaf pan). Also, cover the inside of the loaf pans with butter or oil.
Transfer the dough into the loaf pan, seam side down, and push it to one side. Apply the oil-flour mixture on the visible side so it's easier to separate bread.
Make two more cylindrical-shaped doughs for one loaf pan. Put the second dough in. You may see that there isn’t enough space for the third one. Now press the two doughs together to get enough space for the third one as shown in the photo. So they become slightly flat. Apply the flour-oil mixture on the side.
Press the third one on the worktop to flatten it out a little bit so it's easier to fit in the loaf pan. Put the dough in. Only three doughs go into one pan. Fill another loaf pan with the other three dough balls the same way we did earlier. Cover them with plastic wrap.
Let them rise until the middle of the dough reaches about an inch above the rim of the pan. Or they’ve doubled in size again. This would take roughly about 45 mins. Also, don't forget to preheat your oven to 400F/ 200C for about 20 mins.
When they’re are properly risen, spray (or brush if you don’t have a spray) some water on the top of the bread. This will help the bread to rise better in the oven and make the top crusty.
Bake them in the oven for about 30 - 40 mins. This time varies from oven to oven. If you’re using a smaller convectional oven there is a chance that your bread browns quicker. Check on your bread after about 20 mins. If they seem to brown too quickly, transfer them to a lower rack and reduce the temperature a little bit. (Read important info on recipe description)
Separate each Thati paan carefully and lay them on a baking sheet.
Turn on the broiler setting in the oven. Apply melted/softened butter or coconut oil on one side first. Then broil for about a minute or two until they get nice and brown. (for more info read the “important info” part in the recipe description.)
Then turn the other side. Apply butter or coconut oil and broil again until nice and brown. Let the bread cool down on a cooling rack for a while before you cut them. So the crumbs can settle in.