So I've got a great new cast iron grill pan and want to make some nice paninis on it...however I'm at a loss for what sort of bread I should use to recreate the paninis I get at NYC restaurants - It's not even really like a loaf of bread of a pita...it's sort of like a thick tortilla....anyone else from NYC that knows what I mean? And if so, what is this type of bread and where do I buy it (or better how do I make it)?
Essenitally a flatbread, roll out small balls of pizza dough thinly, lightly coat with olive oil and grill or cook in a cast iron pan until browned in spots. Fill, grill and eat.
The Emilia Romagna version, which made piadine famous, is made with lard rather than olive oil.
Quote from the Just Good Eats website: ",,,piadine is a plural feminine Italian noun. The singular of this word is piadina. Americans seem to have bastardized both of these words into piadini and use it as singular or plural, regardless of quantity."
To my mind, focaccia or ciabatta are the best breads for panini (panini is the plural form, no need to add the "s", panino is the singular.) Sourdough bread is nice also, but it really depends on your taste and what you'r putting on the sandwich. The bread should at least be flavorful, crusty and firm on the outside and softer on the inside, to soak up the juices.
If you want to make bread for panini, start with focaccia, it's fairly simple to put together. Here's a chowhound topic link with a formula from Peter Reinhart; there's a KA focaccia recipe link on that thread as well:
This blogger's post appeared recently on a focaccia query thread; I can't vouch for the recipe, but it looks basic and good; the photos are very nice:
If you check this link, you'll notice my question about the amount of yeast used in the starter, and the author's response.