A flatbread is a bread made with flour, water and salt, and then rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened—made without yeast—although some are slightly leavened, such as pita bread and naan.
Naan, nan or khamiri is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in the cuisines of West, Central and South Asia.
Flatbread was already known in Ancient Egypt, the Sumerians discovered that edible grains could be mashed into a paste and then baked/hardened into a flatbread.
Jewish matza is an unleavened bread (such as matzoh which is not prepared with leavening agents) are usually flatbreads and hold special religious significance to adherents of Judaism and Christianity.
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (not instant active dry yeast or rapid-rise yeast)
- 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
- 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with a knife, plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heaping 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons melted salted butter, for brushing on finished naans
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar with 3/4 cup warm water (about 100°F). Let it sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar, flour, salt and anise seeds (if using). Set aside.
- Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt and olive oil to it and whisk to combine. Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and mix the dough together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, dust your hand with flour and knead gently into a soft, slightly sticky dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Lightly oil or spray a clean bowl with nonstick cooking spray (the bowl should be large enough to allow the dough to double in size). Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let sit in a warm place for 1.5-3 hours, or until about doubled in size (hint: the warmer the spot, the faster the dough will rise).
- Fill a small bowl with about 1/2 cup flour. Dust a work surface with some of the flour and dump the dough on top. Sprinkle some of the flour on top of the dough and on your hands. Shape the dough into a long rectangle and cut into 6 equal portions, dusting with more flour as necessary so the dough doesn't stick. Roll each portion of dough in the bowl of flour to keep them from sticking.
- Warm a large cast iron or heavy nonstick pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Using a rolling pin, roll one of the dough balls into an oval shape about 1/8-inch thick (it should be about 9 inches x 4 inches). Pick up the dough and flip-flop it back and forth between your hands to release any excess flour; then gently lay the dough in the dry skillet and cook until the top is bursting with air bubbles and the bottom is golden and blackened in spots, a few minutes. Flip the naan and cook about 1-2 minutes more until the the bottom is lightly browned and blistered in spots. Remove the naan from the skillet and brush with melted butter. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining naans, adjusting the heat lower if necessary as you go. Serve warm.