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Homemade flatbread
Type Bread
Main ingredients Flour, water, salt
Cookbook:Flatbread  Flatbread

A flatbread is a simple bread made with flour, water, and salt, and then thoroughly rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened — made without yeast — although some are slightly leavened, such as pita bread.

There are many other optional ingredients that flatbreads may contain, such as curry powder, diced jalapeños, chili powder, or black pepper. Olive oil or sesame oil may be added as well. Flatbreads can range from one millimeter to a few centimeters thick.


Flatbread was already known in Ancient Egypt and Sumer[when?]. In ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) the Sumerians discovered that edible grains could be mashed into a paste and then baked/hardened into a flatbread.

Religious significance[edit]

Host and communion wafers made of azymes for celebrating the Eucharist, peculiar to the Catholic Church's Latin Rite (Eastern Rite churches and the Eastern Orthodox use leavened bread).

The term unleavened bread can also refer to breads which are not prepared with leavening agents. These flatbreads hold special religious significance to adherents of Judaism and Christianity. Jews consume unleavened breads such as matzo during Passover.

Unleavened bread is used in the Western Christian liturgy when celebrating the Eucharist. On the other hand, most Eastern Churches explicitly forbid the use of unleavened bread (Greek: azymes) for Eucharist as pertaining to the Old Testament and allow only for bread with yeast, as a symbol of the New Covenant in Christ's blood. Indeed, this was one of the three points of contention that are, in traditional legend, accounted as those that brought about the Great Schism between Eastern and Western churches (the others being Petrine supremacy and the filioque in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed).[1]

Canon Law of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church mandates the use of unleavened bread for the Host, and unleavened wafers for the communion of the faithful. The more liturgical Protestant churches tend to follow the Latin Catholic practice, whereas others use either unleavened wafers or ordinary bread, depending on the traditions of their particular denomination or local usage.

Regional varieties[edit]

Europe, Central and West Asia[edit]

Afghani bread

Middle East and Africa[edit]

Different types of pita, Mahane Yehuda marketplace, Jerusalem

South and East Asia[edit]

A selection of Tajik non (naan)


Preparing tortillas


  1. ^ Ware, Timothy (1964), The Orthodox Church, London: Penguin Books, p. 66, ISBN 0-14-020592-6 
  2. ^ Sanchuisanda is described in "Peoples of China's Far Provinces", by Wong How-Man, National Geographic, March 1984.