5 Popular Flatbread Types and What to Do With Them

5 Popular Flatbread Types and What to Do with Them.
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A flatbread is any kind of bread that is flat. Almost any nation has its own type, and some of them can be found all around the world. Find out how you can enjoy the most popular flatbreads.

It’s snowing, I've just come back from sledding, my nose is red and my hands are frozen solid. I'm entering my grandmother’s kitchen to warm myself. She’s here, baking pitas on her wood-burning stove. She keeps her silver hair in a bun while cooking. She’s quiet most of the time and her presence makes me feel safe. I'm taking a bite of one hot pita. I like it as is, no topping is needed. My cheeks are burning and I'm feeling so good in this cozy space. I’m 7 years old.

I truly believe that we are the sum of our experiences and memories. I miss my grandmother. Now that I've remembered her I’m thinking that she’s the reason I don’t like loud people too much. And that I like flatbread. Anytime. Anyhow.

What flatbread actually is

To simplify, a flatbread is any kind of bread that is flat. A dough made with flour mixed with water, then baked on a fire-heated rock has been a staple of humanity for the past 5,000 years. In some cultures, it’s made with unleavened dough, and in others, it’s made from leavened dough that is flattened before baking.

Olive oil may be added as well, to improve the dough's taste. For example, you can make a good flatbread by blending together self-rising flour, Greek yogurt, olive oil, and herbs. The fun part is that you must knead the dough yourself!

Even if the main ingredients are flour and water, there are many types of flatbread that vary in size, texture, and add-ons.

5 types of flatbread and how to eat them

1. Tortilla

Tortilla is probably the most famous of all flatbreads. The Spanish word “tortilla” means “small cake”. Traditionally, it was made with corn flour, because corn is the most planted cereal in the Mexican region. Now, you can find tortilla made with wheat flour in almost any store.

Because you can wrap almost anything in a tortilla, the thin pliable flatbread can also be called “tortilla wrap”. It can be low-carb, gluten-free, or whole wheat, with all kind of spices and flavors: tomato, basil, spinach, or others.

5 Popular Flatbread Types and What to Do with Them -

The Spanish word “tortilla” means “small cake”.

What can you do with it?

Corn tortillas are the basis for many traditional Mexican dishes, such as tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tortilla soup. Wheat flour tortillas are often used for burritos, quesadillas, and wraps.

Nowadays, tortilla is a bread product that you can find almost anywhere from fast food restaurants to gourmet shops. You can wrap and fill it with anything you can imagine: hotdogs, pieces of steak, vegetables, and sauces. You can also use flour tortillas in casseroles or to improvise a pizza. If you have some leftover tortillas, you can cut them into chips and bake them until crispy, then add them to warm soups.

2. Naan

Naan is a fluffy flatbread popular in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It was served to royals at the Imperial Court in Delhi as far back as 1300 B.C. Now, the flatbread baked in a tandoor oven is sold all over the world in Asian grocery stores, but also in many supermarkets.

Typical ingredients include wheat flour, water, salt, yeast, and yogurt or milk.

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Typically, naan is served hot and brushed with butter, ghee or crushed garlic.

What can you do with it?

Typically, naan is a flatbread served warm and brushed with butter, ghee (clarified butter) or crushed garlic. It can be used to scoop up other foods, mainly dips like hummus, curry, yogurt, and mint. You can stuff naan with cooked minced meat and vegetables or you can even make naan burgers. Naan can also be used for pizzas or burritos.

3. Pita

Pita, also known as Arabic bread, Lebanese bread, or Syrian bread, is a soft, slightly leavened flatbread made with wheat flour. It is baked at high temperatures, so it puffs up in the oven, causing the dough to separate and form a pocket in the center. That’s why pita is perfect for holding all kind of ingredients in its interior.

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Pita is perfect for holding all kind of ingredients in its "pocket".

What can you do with it?

In Greece, pita is a component of pita-souvlaki. These types of sandwiches involve the wrapping of souvlaki or gyros with tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, French fries, and condiments into a pita bread. You can also stuff a pita with hummus, falafel, and pomegranate seeds. If you don’t want a pita sandwich, use it to scoop up sauces and dips with it.

4. Focaccia

Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread. It’s similar in texture to pizza dough and it's usually round or square-shaped. Focaccia is made with olive oil, salt, and herbs. The most popular focaccia is flavored with rosemary, but you can use sage or basil instead.

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Focaccia is made with olive oil, salt, and herbs.

What can you do with it?

Focaccia can be used as a side to many meals, as a base for pizza, or as a sandwich bread. You can eat it with various toppings and fillings, but it’s delicious as is - straight out of the oven, served with tomatoes, olives, and cheese.

5. Frybread

Frybread is a fried or deep-fried flatbread. It can be fried in oil, shortening or lard. Usually, it contains flour, water, salt, a small amount of oil, and baking powder. The dough should rest 30 minutes to an hour before cooking, so the dough would rise properly. The dough is divided into small balls which are shaped into flat discs and then deep-fried.

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A frybread is good to be eaten as is or with different toppings.

What can you do with it?

A frybread is good to be served as is. If you prefer to add toppings, try honey, jam, powdered sugar, or even hot beef.

A special dish, called Indian taco, requires frybread instead of a tortilla. The frybread is topped with minced meat, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, chili, onion, hot sauce, and other things. Usually, Indian tacos are eaten at festivals in the United States and Canada.

 

I’m Raluca and I just peeled a peach before eating it, and I swear it tasted like the nectar of the gods. When it comes to cooking, I only have one rule: do whatever it takes to turn the whole thing into an enjoyable experience. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of cooking for sailors. Not because I loved food, but because I was madly in love with my godfather, who worked on a ship. But, as they say, love lasts three years, and I took a different path: I became a journalist who enjoys food, traveling, and hiking in nature. I usually cook for myself and my daughter, but my favorite meal is the one I'm having on a mountain peak, even if it's just a sandwich and a piece of chocolate.

3 Comments

  1. It’s interesting to know that pita is a kind of Lebanese bread that I can eat, and it seems to go well with pizza. Despite the fact that I don’t have a brick oven or grill that can help me create an authentic-tasting dish, I still want to try it out. Maybe there’s a restaurant that serves up flatbread pizzas that I can try out so I’ll know if this is something that I’ll really like.

  2. Tortilla really!!! You are going to make me laugh, you people are better than china in copying. Indians, pakistani people are eating roti or chapatti for ages and you just name it tortilla and didn’t even mention the name of these countries. Hats off to you guys

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