Five Minute Gluten Free Flatbread

gluten free flatbread

Gluten free baked food products tend to either aim for a vague approximation of the original, or completely bypass it and settle themselves happily into the category of ‘mysterious wad’.  Until recently, most gluten-free breads have tried earnestly (and very successfully) to replicate cardboard rather than a genuine loaf (thank God for Genius). Cakes and biscuits are usually more successful, relying less on a well-formed gluten structure than bread, though occasionally they can be mouth-numbingly dry.

Home recipes can meet with a similar range of results, from unusual brown dollops in the bottom of a baking tray, to fantastic fresh rustic (and often unusual) loaves that have to be greedily gobbled down with butter while still warm. Even the best recipes can be inconsistent though (in my experience), except for this little gem I discovered last week.

So then, 5 minutes before dinner is ready (minestrone soup, since you ask), what do you do?  Set the table? Open a bottle of wine?  Sensible ideas, but not me, I decided to ‘have a go’ at gluten free flatbread.  Never done it before (not in 5 minutes anyway), but hey, why not.  And how was it?  It was fantastic, incredibly easy to make and definitely one of the best savoury gluten-free recipes I’ve ever cooked – crispy and light with a delicious fresh bread flavour.  You can use whichever shop bought gluten free flour blend with xantham gum you can get (e.g. Doves Farm in the UK, Bob’s Red Mill in the USA), I use my gluten free flour blend here, which gives measurements by weight (g or oz) or volume (cups).

Gluten Free Flatbread

150g gluten free flour blend (my recipe here)
Warm water
Olive oil
Sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

  1. Preheat the grill to as hot as it will go.
  2. Add water gradually to the flour in a bowl and mix until the mixture is the consistency of creamed butter and sugar (i.e. like cake mixture).
  3. Oil a baking tray (or grill pan) with the olive oil.  Spoon the mixture roughly on to the tray, then drizzle oil over the top.  Oil your hands too.
  4. With your hands, flatten the mixture out into a rough rectangle – it should be as thin as you can get it, with areas where the dough is almost translucent (“windowpaning”).
  5. Sprinkle sea salt over the top and then put under the grill.  Keep an eye on it – the dough will start to bubble and char in places – take it out and turn it over.
  6. Before the dough is charring on the other side, take it out and scatter cumin seeds over the flatbread, then place back under the grill until it is lightly charred.
  7. Cut into smaller rectangles and scatter with parsley or basil. Serve immediately with soup or dips.

Tips

You may find the dough lifts up at the edges after turning, and start to cook too quickly – in this case, just wait until the edges have browned then cut them off and carry on cooking the remainder.

Experiment – you could try black onion seeds or fennel in place of cumin, or even pine nuts and rosemary. Heck, I reckon if you get the moisture levels of the tomato sauce right and the grill hot enough, you could turn this into a decent thin and crispy pizza.  Somewhere between Jeff Varasano’s epic pizza recipe and Heston Blumenthal’s home pizza method lies the answer.

UPDATE: Just as I suspected, this makes great pizza – here is my quick gluten free pizza recipe.

  • Mel Fenson

    No Seriously? In 5 minutes? I am prostrating myself (in an entirely non-sexual way) at your feet. Genius, will have to try these. Very happy I found your blog. And now I’m going to try and login with Disqus and I will end up cursing and wishing you were on Blogger or something. Why does Disqus make us jump through hoops?! Pig x 

    • Hello Pig! I like your blog, it has the perfect combination of great looking food recipes, comic writing, and the occasional mucky word. I know what you mean about the whole Disqus thing, I thought it looked quite good at first, but now seems to be thwarting anyone who wants to comment on the posts. And it calls me ‘dmjmain’, which doesn’t signify in any way that I am in fact the blog owner… Will have to investigate.

      5 minutes might be pushing it, but if you’re quick, you spread the mixture out really really thin (plenty of oil), and you have your grill nice and hot (and get the flatbread as close to it as possible), it’s not far off. Let me know how it turns out, a piccy would be great!

  • mine was very crunchy but mixed pesto and parmesan in wth the dough and it was very very tasty

  • mine was very crunchy but mixed pesto and parmesan in wth the dough and it was very very tasty

    • Nice combination – I’ve got a pizza version of it I’ll be putting up soon, so I’ll mention your additions as a way to flavour up the dough.

  • Craftyfysh

    I think this recipe is going to be a lifesaver for those days when I just can’t spare the time to make my usual GF flatbread (recipe here: 
    http://glutenfree.wordpress.com/2007/07/18/gf-wrap-sandwich-success/ – I use Dove’s Farm in place of mixing flour and skip the first rising to make it in about 45 minutes).  Thank you!

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  • Lisa in NZ

    This recipe looks great! I’ll try it tonight. I have quite a few gluten-free recipes as well on my blog – glutenfreenz.wordpress.com – so feel free to pop on over and try a few!

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  • metronne

    Hi!

    I am a bit late to this party! A question: what is meant by “preheat the grill as hot as it will go” ? Are you making this on an outdoor grill? Using the broiler drawer? Does anyone have a suggestion of what oven temp to preheat to in order to make these in a regular oven? My initial thought is that “as hot as it will go” in an oven is … well, much MUCH hotter than I have ever used it for anything, bread or otherwise … I appreciate your thoughts!

    • Hi Metronne! Don’t worry, the party has hardly even begun yet, we are all in the kitchen waiting for the cocktails…

      I’m afraid my British terms are causing the confusion – you’re right, when I talk about a grill, I mean a broiler, not an outdoor bbq. If you don’t have a broiler and have to cook this in the oven, I’d still go with ‘as hot as it will go’, assuming your oven will go to about 450-500 farenheit.

      Good luck, let me know how you get on!

      • metronne

        Thanks so much! Can’t wait to try this weekend

  • Rachael

    I’m not sure what I did wrong, when I tried to flip the flat bread it was totally stuck and still glue like on the bottom. I oiled up the tray complete hmm? Maybe my mix was too wet?

  • M

    is this crunchy? i was looking for a softer flatbread… (although i’ll probably try this out either way)

    • Jan

      I’ve made this very thin (as per the recipe) and it comes out crunchy. Make it a little thicker and it comes out softer, but a bit more stodgy. Still good though and I’ve used it as a pizza base. I make this a lot, as it’s super easy.