This vegan Italian flatbread is one of the easiest, quickest, fluffiest, and most delicious breads you will ever make. It can be made in under 1 hour with 4 simple ingredients and it can be used as a wrap, pita, bread, focaccia, and just as a snack dipped into your favourite hummus. Buon appetito!
Flatbread is one of our favourite types of breads. This version is the result of an experiment we did after our trip to Umbria, a most central region of Italy. There, in the small towns in the province of Perugia, the Italians eat a local version of flatbread that is called, depending on the town, pizza al testo, torta al testo, or pizza sotto il fuoco. This type of flatbread is cut open and filled in with whatever is available.
We wanted to make something similar to that, but a lot lighter and fluffier. A mix between an Italian pizza bread and Indian naan. But without ghee or butter. Just plain water, yeast and flour. And we did it. The secret of our ultra-soft bread lies in the way we let it proof.
🥬 Ingredients & substitutions
Flour: use generic all purpose flour for best result. Try to go organic if you can. You can also use half all purpose and half whole grain if you want. You can even go 100% whole grain flour. The bread will be healthier but heavier and less fluffy.
Yeast: we prefer to use fresh yeast. You can also use active dry yeast. Since this is a fast recipe we use quite a lot of yeast. If you have more time, you can use 1/4 of the yeast in the recipe card, and let the dough proof overnight instead.
Water: plain lukewarm water. You want the water to be lukewarm to support yeast activity. Do not use cold or hot water.
Sugar: just a teaspoon of plain sugar would do to help the yeast do their job.
You'll need a bowl, a wooden spoon, a rolling pin, and some counter space to roll the flat bread.
📋 Recipe Card
Italian Flat Pizza Bread Recipe
- Rolling pin
- 1.5 cups lukewarm water (380 ml)
- 4 cups all purpose flour (480 grams)
- 1 cube fresh yeast (40 grams)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- In a bowl, dissolve the fresh yeast with the lukewarm water.
- Add 1 tsp of sugar to help the yeast activity.
- Add half of the flour and start mixing with a wooden spoon.
- Add the rest of the flour and the salt. Keep mixing until you have a dough that can be worked with your hands.
- Knead the dough with your hands for 10 minutes. It's best to do this on a work table, but you can also do it in the same bowl. Your dough should be very soft to the touch, but it shouldn't stick to your hands. If too sticky, add a bit of extra flour.
- Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces, then with a rolling pin roll each piece into a flat and round disc. You can flatten the disc between 4 to 8 mm thick. Dust the worktable and the rolling pin with flour if your dough is sticky.
- Put all the discs on a flat surface that is large enough to accommodate all of them without them overlapping, then cover with a clean kitchen cloth and let proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Cook each of your flat-breads on a hot non-stick or cast iron pan. Flip only once. Cook on each side for about 1.5 to 2 minutes, or until nice and golden. Clean the pan from excess burnt flour after each flat bread.
👨🏻🍳 Top tips
Start with the water
Depending on the humidity in the air and on the temperature of your room you'll need to slightly adapt the quantities of the ingredients in our recipe card. Our suggestion is to keep the water and yeast quantities constant, and add more or less flour depending on your dough. If the dough is too sticky and wet, ad just a bit more flour. If you notice that it gets too hard too fast, then add less flour.
Flatten the bread, then let it proof
We find this method to yield the best, fluffiest, and softest flatbread ever. This is because the air pockets created by the yeast are not squeezed out by rolling. If you follow this method, you'll get a super airy and light vegan flatbread without having to add any fat.
Non-Stick vs Cast Iron
You can cook your flatbread on both a non-stick pan and a cast iron skillet. the flavour will be slightly better on the cast iron. But the non-stick is a lot easier to handle and it's our choice when we don't have a lot of time at hand.
Brush with oil and garlic
To add flavour to the bread you can brush it with a mixture of olive oil, finely minced garlic, and finely chopped parsley. It will taste divine!
📖 Questions & answers
A flatbread is a bread made with flour, water, and salt, and then thoroughly rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened, although some are leavened, such as pizza and pita bread. We use yeast in our bread as it makes it lighter and tastier.
Yes. The best way to do so is on a preheated pizza stone. Set your oven to max temperature and cook for a few minutes until crisp on the outside.
This dough should be soft to the touch but not sticky at all. You should be able to work it with your hands without it sticking to them. If it sticks, add flour. Add flour a little at a time. While you knead it, the dough will become slightly harder and more elastic. That's good. After the proofing the dough should be very relaxed and soft again, almost hard to handle. But never sticky.
It depends. Our vegan flatbread has no milk or butter/ghee so compared to many other breads is very healthy. However, it is still made with all purpose flour, a refined type of flour that isn't the healthiest kind as the refining process strips the flour from all of its nutrients.
You have two options: 1) use wholegrain flour, or a mix between wholegrain and all purpose. 2) decrease the glycemic load of your meal by eating the flatbread with a lot of veggies and legumes, like for instance roasted veggies, a big salad, or some chickpea hummus.
Chickpea and other legumes are the perfect companion to this bread as they not only will add a lot of complex carbs and fibre, but they will also improve the protein profile of your meal by adding lysine, an essential amino acid missing in wheat.
We like our flatbread plain so that we can go crazy with the dippings and sauces. However, if you want to spice things up you can add some chopped olives, or some chopped rosemary to the dough.
This vegan flatbread doesn't have any fat or milk and so it's most fragrant when eaten straight out of the pan. If you have some left overs, wrap it in a clean kitchen cloth and set it aside in a dry corner of your kitchen. Don't store in the fridge. Before eating it the next day you can reheat it in the oven for a few minutes and it'll gain some moisture.
🍝 Related recipes
- Vegan zucchini buns
- Vegan carrot buns
- Easy no-knead overnight bread
- Simple homemade Italian pizza
- Linguine with chanterelle mushrooms
- Homemade trofie al pesto
If you have any tips or questions let us know in the comments below!