Fantastic Flatbreads

Flatbreads are one of the oldest known foods. Various flatbreads have fed every generation, probably beginning with Adam and Eve. Flatbreads start with whole grains, ground to flour, mixed with water and sometimes a little olive oil and yeast.  They’re often baked over an open fire.

Most cultures have a version of flatbread. The Greeks have pita bread. Mexicans make tortillas. There’s the anise bread of Morocco and the chapattis of India. Ethiopian’s have Injera bread.

The Chinese make Shanxi flatbread. Then there’s the crispy Pappadums bread from India. Of course, there’s the traditional Israeli unleavened bread, Matzo, for Passover. Matzo is what Jesus ate at the Last Supper.

Italian cuisine includes a number of flatbreads. You might be surprised to learn that pizza and Focaccia bread are flatbreads. I’ve made my father’s pizza recipe for over 40 years. This summer I cooked it on a stone in my grill. I must say, it was the best pizza I ever made. Click here for Papa’s Pizza recipe.

Ben loves to help make flatbread. Kneading dough is a wonderful multi-sensory experience, especially for a picky eater.

A flatbread is a simple bread rolled into a flattened dough. Flatbreads are intended to be flatter than a traditional bread. Often they’re an individual serving rather than a loaf. Many flatbreads are unleavened, that is made without yeast. Flatbreads can range from very thin and crispy to softer bread that’s a few inches thick. They can look like crackers or round like pancakes or shaped as ovals. Because they are small, flatbreads quickly cook.

Many forms of flatbread can be cooked on an open hearth, rather than an oven. Cooking flatbreads on a grill is perfect for summer baking. Some flatbreads are cooked on a cast iron skillet, griddle, or barbecue grill, rather than a traditional oven. For this reason, I have been testing various flatbread recipes this summer. I love homemade bread, but who wants to turn on an oven when the weather hits tripled digits?

A flatbread may be plain or flavored, fluffy with a chewy texture or crackling and intended for snapping and breaking, like a cracker.  Flatbreads may incorporate different flours like chickpea flour for extra flavor and texture. Other ingredients like garlic, onion, parsley, basil, jalapenos, curry powder, and seeds add more flavor.

Flatbreads can be stuffed like pita bread or topped like a pizza or Focaccia bread. Flatbreads can be used for dipping. They can also be used to form fruit- or savory-filled turnovers.

Because making flatbreads is relatively easy, they make a fun multi-sensory learning experience for your kids, especially if you have a picky eater. Have them help measure ingredients, knead and roll out the dough. They can help add the toppings on flatbreads like pizza and Focaccia bread.

Click Here for several flatbread recipes. Too hot to turn on your oven? Make them on your grill!

Click Here

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