Cooking Healthier Meals

Revive The Ancient Tradition Of Flatbread With These Four Easy Ways To Use It In Your Recipes

by Paul Watson

While flatbread has been around for thousands of years, it has only recently entered into popularity in the United States. While commonly associated with ethnic cuisine, it's easy to integrate flatbread into your recipes. The main advantage of flatbread is that it guards against moisture and doesn't become soggy like fluffy leavened bread. Flatbread sold in bakeries often has more gluten-free and high-fiber options than leavened bread. Whether you're interested in the health benefits of flatbread or are looking for a change, here are some ways that you can integrate flatbread into your recipes.

1. Pizza

It's likely that the first thing anyone makes with flatbread is pizza, and with good reason – flatbread pizzas are very easy to make and you have a wide variety of toppings available to you. You don't need to start out with dough in order to make flatbread pizza, allowing you to make flatbread pizza with bread purchased from a bakery. Simply add sauce, cheese and toppings and then bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese has fully melted. Note that your toppings should already be cooked – the flatbread doesn't spend enough time in the oven to fully cook meat or most vegetables.

2. Sandwiches

Flatbread sandwiches are often lower in calories and carbohydrates than sandwiches made with leavened bread because of the simple fact that you can use less bread while making the sandwich. Pita bread is an excellent choice for flatbread sandwiches because of the way it's baked. Pita bread puffs up during the cooking process when the rising steam from the center of the bread is trapped by the outer layers, creating a giant air bubble. This air pocket can be filled with meat and vegetables to create a tasty pita sandwich.

3. Chips and Crackers

Giving flatbread some extra baking time will dry it out and turn it into chips or crackers. Whether you've made flatbread yourself or purchased it from a bakery, cut the finished flatbread into triangles and then bake it in your oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for five to seven minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Thick flatbread holds up to even the heartiest dips without breaking.

Flatbread chips are a good substitute for croutons as well. Simply cut a piece of thin flatbread into strips, bake it in the oven until crispy and then use it as a salad topping. Crispy flatbread adds texture to salad and is less likely to become soggy like croutons.

4. Soups and Stews

One of the more interesting uses of flatbread is to add it to soups and stews. You can't add leavened bread to soups and stews, since it would just disintegrate. However, flatbread is more resilient to moisture and holds its texture well. Dice flatbread and add it to the soup or stew at the very end of the cooking process while the soup or stew is still warm. The flatbread will soften slightly while still holding its shape. It's a good way to add a bit of bite and texture to soups.

Flatbread can be difficult to make at home, and this is especially true of any flatbread that needs to puff up to create an air pocket such as pita bread. It's difficult to cook the bread consistently in order to get a light and fluffy center throughout. If you're new to flatbread and want to explore using it in your recipes, the best option is to buy it from a bakery.