Unlike some other staple Indian breads, which are unleavened and crafted from durum wheat flour, or atta, fluffy naan is made with all-purpose flour and yeast. Traditionally, the dough is slapped against the chimney wall of a clay tandoor oven and baked over wood fires, but many home cooks make it on the stovetop.
The Uyghurs of the western regions of China refer to these flatbread as nang, which have existed for centuries as a staple at every meal. Punctured with a nail-studded tool, they’re scattered with any variety of seeds and spices and vary in diameter from a few inches across to a foot or more. Though they’re usually cooked in tandoors, an oven with a pizza stone will do. Flour in China is lower in protein than American all-purpose, forming a dough that is comparatively lower in gluten, the result of which is fluffy no matter how thinly rolled. To avoid a crackerlike bread, a mixture of all-purpose and pastry flour will do the trick. Get the recipe for Uyghur Flatbread (Nángbĭng) »
Similar to pita, but made with whole wheat flour, this Egyptian flatbread is traditionally baked in scorching-hot ovens in Cairo’s bustling markets. Home cooks can achieve similar results with a baking stone and an oven cranked to high.
Made of a thin, waferlike dough, this crisp flatbread is a holiday tradition in Iceland. Many families make it together a few days before Christmas; some Icelanders joke that it’s the only time of year the men will help in the kitchen. It’s first cut into intricate geometric patterns, then deep-fried and saved to be eaten as an accompaniment to Christmas dinner. Traditionally, a special tool called a leaf bread iron is used to cut the patterns, but we found a paring knife works just as well. See the recipe for Leaf Bread »
This chewy flatbread topped with za’atar, a spice blend of wild thyme, tangy sumac, and toasted sesame seeds, can be either grilled outdoors or oven-baked and finished in a grill pan.
On the Indian table, where utensils are rare, flatbreads sop up soupy dishes and wrap morsels of food. The everyday flatbread is chapati, also known as roti, a pliant round made from whole wheat flour dough that is cooked on a dry skillet and then inflated and browned over an open flame. See the recipe for Chapatis (Whole Wheat Indian Flatbread) »