Flatbread, Yeast-Free

A yeast-free flatbread that you can cook in a frying pan, on the barbecue or in the oven. Its simplicity and suitability for many diets – including Diabetic, Dairy Free and Vegan – make this a ‘must have’ recipe.



There are many names for flatbread: naan, pitta and roti to name a few. Today, the name may suggest the food it is to be eaten with, rather than clarifying whether it is leaven (made with yeast) or unleavened, or cooked on coals or in an oven as was originally the case.

My flatbread is ‘quick bread’, a bread for ‘now’. It is ideal for cooking outdoors and in cold climates because you do not have to wait for the dough to rise. However, although these are good reasons to bake it, do not feel restricted to such circumstances.

FlatbreadYou will achieve the softest flatbread using yoghurt with the addition of a little baking soda. Rolling the dough into small, thick shapes (20cm/6 in) will give you a type of pitta bread, while a large piece of dough will bubble like naan. (Although this is not usually necessary, covering the frying pan with a lid will help the flatbread bubble.)

When cooked, wrap the warm bread in a tea towel to keep it soft and light. A good substitute for the yoghurt is soda water which will also give you a tender bread, whereas if you want it crisp use plain water. You will get the best results with practice as you adjust the flour and liquid quantity for the soft dough and learn to roll it evenly.

Flavouring your bread is optional although I recommend you try it when the bread is to accompany savoury dishes. Herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, give fresh, light flavours, while spices like cumin or fennel are particularly good when serving the bread with a curry or other strong flavours.

Unlike yeast-based bread, this bread needs to be eaten fresh (although this is rarely a difficulty). If, by chance, there is some remaining, fry or roast it before adding it to soup or a salad.

Diets for which Flatbread, Yeast -Free is suitable:

Diabetic, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free, Vegetarian and Vegan.

Ingredients

Preparation: 10 + 15 mins(resting time) + 15 mins (as you cook each flatbread) | Cook: 3-5 mins each | Serves: 4
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (optional)*
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Greek-style yoghurt (non-Dairy yoghurt for Dairy Free and Vegan diets)** or 1/3 cup soda water***
1 tsp cumin or fennel seeds or dried rosemary or thyme (optional)****

Method

SIFT flour, baking powder, salt and any spices.
MIX in the yoghurt.
KNEAD the dough until it is soft and smooth in texture, adding flour if necessary. (This is only a couple of minutes, it is not kneading as you would for a yeast-based bread.)
ROLL the dough into a mound and let it rest for 15 minutes.
CUT the dough into quarters.
DUST the work surface with flour and shape each quarter into a ball.
ROLL one quarter into a round 20cm/6in circle, larger for a naan or crisper bread. (For even pressure across the dough roll in just one direction then turn the dough slightly and roll again; each time rolling a slightly different area. Turn and move the dough, continuously flouring to prevent it sticking to the board or roller.
HEAT the frying pan to a medium-hot temperature. (A heavy-bottomed skillet is best.)
SHAKE off any excess flour from the rolled dough.
ADD the dough to the frying pan; it will start to bubble after a minute or two. (Cover with a lid to assist it to bubble.)
ROLL the next piece as the first flatbread is cooking.
TURN the cooking bread when it has risen and the bottom is lightly brown.
COOK for a further minute or two, with lid on if you wish.
REMOVE from the pan and wrap in a dry tea towel to keep it warm and soft.
CONTINUE cooking the other pieces.


Oven Baking
HEAT the oven to a very hot temperature.
HEAT a baking tray in the oven. (A thick baking tray or stone is best.)
ROLL all the pieces of flatbread.
PLACE the rolled dough on the hot tray and bake for 3-6 minutes. (The bread will puff up and become light golden on top.)*****

Serve

– Best eaten fresh and warm.
– With pitta-sized bread (20cm/6in), split and fill.
– Cold remaining bread can be broken up and fried or roasted and served in salad or soup as croutons; or used for dips.

Notes

* Baking soda gives you a softer bread, both for pitta and naan style.
** The quantity of fluid required will be reduced with a thinner yoghurt or water.
*** Soften the bread with the addition of 1-2 tbsp olive oil, reducing the quantity of soda water or water accordingly.
**** Add spices or herbs of your choice.
***** Top the breads with sesame seeds (not Nut Free) or cumin seeds before baking.

Leave a Reply