Reader Jasmine wrote in with some excellent suggestions for the fatayer project. Among them, the more contemporary tweak of adding yogurt to the dough instead of water. It’s a good idea. The extra acidity will give the finished crust a nice little tang, and a bit of extra tenderness.
However there’s a minor problem. Yogurt, being a stiff gel versus a liquid, will require me to adjust my proportions a bit, and I’d rather not put up multiple dough formulas. My solution? Buttermilk.
I know, I know: not authentic. Or should I say: not strictly authentic. Because modern store-bought buttermilk is a lot more like yogurt (at least nonfat yogurt) than you might think. Both are made by adding a culture to fat-free milk. Yes, the cultures themselves are different, which is what accounts for the different gel strengths and slightly different flavors. But they produce about the same amount of acid, and that’s mainly what I’m after here. And hey, if modern Middle East bakers can fiddle with a classic, why can’t I?
Oh, I may have really put my foot in it…