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 or sourdough culture — although some flatbread is made with yeast, 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.
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).
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.
Europe and central & West Asia
Middle East and Africa
South and East Asia
- Bhakri (India): made with water and typically millet flour
- Bhatura (India): typically made with white flour, yogurt, ghee or oil, and yeast
- Bindaeddeok (Korea): made from mung bean flour
- Bing (China)
- Chapati (India, Pakistan): made from atta flour (whole grain durum wheat), water, and salt
- Dosa or dosai (southern India): made from rice flour, urad flour and salt
- Green onion pancake (China) : made with oil and minced scallions (green onions)
- Sanchuisanda (China)
- Paratha (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal)
- Pesarattu (southern India): made from whole moong, with green chillis, ginger, salt, and cumin
- Khanom buang (Thailand): rice flour
- Laobing (China)
- Luchi (East India and Bangladesh): fine maida flour with water and a spoonful of ghee
- Naan (Central and South Asia): leavened with yeast, unlike Roti bread
- Pol roti (Sri Lanka): made from scraped coconut and wheat or kurakkan flour, with green chillis and onion
- Puri (India, Pakistan, Nepal): prepared from dough of atta and salt
- Roast paan (Sri Lanka): bread mixture baked in a flat mold, producing, literally, a 'flat' bread
- Roti (Central and South Asia)
- Roti canai (Malaysia)
- Sanchuisanda: baked in ashes
- Uttapam (South India): thick pancake made of rice and urad