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What is flatbread?

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Hummus with flat bread and black olives
Smneedham/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Question: What is flatbread?
I am a big fan of bread -- all different types. Lately, I have been seeing bread in my grocery store bakery that is just labeled "flat bread". It looks just like bread that is flat and is extremely expensive. It costs about $2 for two small pieces. I tried it and it tastes like pita, but just flat and no pocket. Is this a type of Middle Eastern bread? What can I do with flatbread?
Answer: Flatbread is popping up on grocer's shelves and in restaurants across the country. I have seen it at gourmet restaurants to franchise sub shops. It's become a bit of a trend, but flat bread has been around since the days of the ancient Egyptians. It's really no new concept.

Traditionally, flatbread is basically unleavened bread, which is made without yeast. Flour, water, and salt are the main ingredients. It's rolled out flat and cooked, usually in a brick oven. While it originated in ancient Egypt, many cultures have versions of flatbread. From naan in Afghanistan and India to the tortilla in Central and South America, the flatbread has been produced just about everywhere.

The flatbread that you described sounds a lot like a cross between pita bread and naan. There really is no such thing as an American flatbread, but the flatbread I see everywhere looks, feels, and tastes a lot like pita and naan. For me, it tastes too much like it's baked in a commercial bakery with extra ingredients. I prefer the taste and cost of making it at home.

You can do a lot with flatbread. You can eat it plain, which is tasty, or use it in place of any other type of bread. A lot of people like to make their own pizza with flatbread. Just add sauce, cheese, and toppings. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees and you will have once delicious pizza, my friend. It reminds me of the pizza in Europe! By the way, pizza dough is a type of flatbread, as well.

Aside from pizza, flatbread sandwiches are another great way to use flatbread. Flatbread makes an excellent sandwich because it's hardy. It can hold a lot of meat or veggies and any sauce you add does not make the bread soggy. Try adding garlic sauce used in gyros on white bread. You get my point.

I personally would never pay $2 for two pieces of flatbread, especially when you can make it at home for much less. Here is an easy recipe for naan that will yield you about a dozen or more pieces of flatbread for $2. Plus, you can always freeze it if you have made too much!

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