There’s something so comforting about homemade flatbread. It’s such a nice reminder that simple, handcrafted food is still within reach.
Like most carbohydrates, flatbread is made with the most basic ingredients that have been around for centuries: flour, salt, water, and olive oil. If you haven’t made homemade bread before, don’t let this intimidate you! Flatbread is a great place to start for beginners.
Most flatbreads have yeast as well, but I like going without it. You can never go wrong with yeastless flatbread. It just doesn’t demand that much and you don’t need to worry about overproofing it or spoiling the yeast with too much heat. This is the way to go if you don’t have much time on your hands.
I could go on and on about my love for flatbread.
This easy flatbread recipe has my best tips on how to craft your own unleavened flatbread from start to finish. You’ll also find some topping suggestions to customize it – there’s one for everybody at the table!
Is Flatbread Dough the Same as Pizza Dough?
Okay, let’s settle it once and for all: are pizza dough and flatbread dough the same?
Their ingredients are identical: flour, salt, water, yeast, and olive oil. Pizza dough and flatbread dough rise to have a soft, pillowy texture with air pockets inside, thanks to the yeast.
Although they’re made with the same ingredients, one key difference between pizza dough and flatbread is their shape. Whilst pizza dough is usually kneaded round, there are no hard and fast rules on how flatbread should be shaped. Typically, the latter is shaped like a long rectangle and is much thinner than pizza dough.
Whenever you go for a slice of cheesy margherita or pepperoni, it’s always called a pizza. Pretty mediocre and reminds us of junk food. But whenever we think of flatbread, it’s always got a rustic and artisanal nuance to it, topped with upscale ingredients like shrimp, avocado, prosciutto, and Gouda cheese.
So, what’s the verdict? I guess they’re the same! The only thing that’s not up for debate is how incredibly appealing they are.
To make 2 large pieces of soft flatbread (8 servings), all you’ll need is a few basic ingredients:
- All-purpose flour – We will use 3 cups of all-purpose flour or wheat flour. (If you need to, you can use a gluten-free alternative and use xanthan gum to aid with the kneading.)
- Table salt – 1 teaspoon fine salt is preferred, as it dissolves better than coarse salt.
- Warm water – We will need 1 cup of warm water at 98°F (slightly above room temperature). Your flatbread will taste so much better with warm water. It also helps the dough puff up a bit.
- Olive oil – 3 tablespoons of olive oil. This helps grease the dough slightly. Extra virgin olive oil or melted butter will also work.
- Cornmeal or flour – For dusting your kneading surface. You’ll thank me when you’re kneading that dough!
Step One: Preheat the oven to 500°F.
Step Two: Mix the flour and salt. You can either use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (stirring function) or a food processor (pulsing function) for this. The flour and salt should be well combined.
Step Three: Turn off the mixer and pour in the water and olive oil. Stir or pulse for about 1 minute until a dough ball forms. If dough sticks to the walls of the mixer, scrape it down.
Step Four: Transfer the dough ball to a lightly floured work surface. Knead it with lightly floured hands for 2 minutes until the surface of the dough becomes smooth.
Step Five: Halve the dough using a knife. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out each ball into a long oval.
- Pro Tip: Thinner is better for this flatbread pizza as it helps the dough cook through fully without being too dense in the middle. Also, if you want to create a personal pan pizza dough experience for your dinner guests, just roll the dough smaller so that your guests can pick any toppings they prefer.
Step Six: Dust 2 baking sheets with cornmeal and place flatbread on top.
Step Seven: Poke the surface of flatbread with a fork.
- Pro Tip: The dough hasn’t wronged you or anything, but just grab a fork and stab away. Don’t be skimpy with the holes. Doing this prevents the dough from trapping all the air and puffing up too much!
Step Eight: Bake the flatbread for 6 to 8 minutes or until its edges turn golden brown.
Step Nine: Remove the flatbread from the oven and brush it with olive oil all the way to the edges. Flatbread is ready!
Please see the section on Toppings & Variations for mouth-watering recommendations on ways to enjoy flatbread.
Cooking your flatbread on a frying pan:
If you don’t have an oven at home, put your worries aside. A frying pan or skillet will work just fine! Just drizzle a little oil to the heated skillet, and put your flattened dough in, flipping every 3 minutes. Be careful to watch that it doesn’t burn.
Storage instructions for flatbread:
Flatbread stays fresh at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Keep them in an air-tight container or wrap in tin foil, and warm it up on the skillet before serving. Flatbread is versatile and can be used as a wrap, sandwich or as a crispy crouton replacement.
Flatbread Toppings & Variations
Now that you have your flatbread pizza, onto the exciting part: toppings! The possibilities are endless.
I made flatbread at a dinner party recently and had a large spread of condiments, like cheeses, vegetables, and relishes. It somehow turned into a contest of the weirdest and most creative flatbread toppings!
Here are some delicious ways you can enjoy soft flatbread. Rule of thumb: always garnish toppings only on cooked flatbread. If you have to melt cheese, place it atop the cooked flatbread and melt it in the oven or on a skillet.
- Rosemary flatbread – Mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary (or any fresh herbs) in a small bowl. This is the simplest topping and when brushed on freshly baked flatbread, it will taste amazing!
- Caprese Flatbread – Melted mozzarella cheese, juicy tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves are the pillar of the simple yet sophisticated Italian Caprese salad. Recipe found here.
- Mexican Street Corn Flatbread – Having a Tex-Mex party? Try this Mexican-inspired elote recipe loaded with sour cream, mayonnaise, jalapeno, cheese, and corn.
- Fig and Apple Flatbread – This topping is vegan-friendly and bursting with flavors that are sweet and savory. Made with fig compote, apple slices, vegan stracchino cheese, walnuts, arugula, honey, and balsamic reduction.
- Mediterranean Flatbread – Brush the flatbread with a mix of olive oil, garlic and herbs like thyme and rosemary. Then, add pitted Kalamata olives, red onions, goat cheese, sweet red peppers and mozzarella.
I hope you enjoyed this no-yeast homemade flatbread recipe! Let me know if you’ve tried making flatbread, and if so, what’s your favorite topping to go with it?
Flatbread Dough Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- cornmeal or flour for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- For this recipe you can use a stand mixer or a food processor. Add flour and salt to a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, turn onto stir setting and mix for 1 minute. For a food processor add flour and salt and pulse until well mixed.
- With the mixer off, add water and oil. Turn stand mixer onto stir or food processor on pulse for about 1 minute until a dough ball forms, scraping down sides as needed.
- Transfer the dough ball to a lightly floured work surface. Knead it with lightly floured hands for 2 minutes until the surface of the dough becomes smooth. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add 1-2 more tablespoons of flour.
- Divide into 2 equal balls.
- Use a floured rolling pin to roll out each ball into a long oval. Thinner is better for this dough.
- Dust 2 baking sheets with cornmeal and place flatbread on top.
- Liberally poke surface of flatbread with fork (don’t be skimpy with the holes or the dough will puff up).
- Bake flatbread for 6-8 minutes or until edges are turning golden brown and flatbread is nearly cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and brush flatbread with olive oil all the way to the edges, add desired toppings and bake per recipe instructions - normally another 10 minutes.