Oven-baked flatbread is the daily bread for millions of people from India to Tunisia, the Himalayas to the Caucasus. Travelling throughout these regions, we've learned to eat bread as the locals in many countries do—wrapped around a kebab, scooped into curry, or even dipped into tea.
Back home in Toronto, we often make fresh-baked flatbreads just for snacking or to accompany any meal. Our children love tearing off a soft, chewy piece just as they would rip into a baguette—no need for knives or supervision. And we love knowing that a stash of flatbread dough in our freezer means we can have fresh bread on the table (and its aroma in the house) on very short notice.
Oven-baked flatbreads are an ideal introduction to the world of breadmaking. Their irregular shapes and textures are part of their appeal, so beginners needn't fear less-than-perfect loaves. They use everyday ingredients and have simple shaping and baking techniques. And you get instant gratification. Because they're flat, and because they're baked in a very hot oven, flatbreads bake very quickly, in five to ten minutes. They're very rewarding for baker and guests alike.
Turn your oven into a tandoor
The three flatbreads we're introducing here come from very different cultures: Northern India, Central Asia, and Georgia in the Caucasus. They're all traditionally baked on the hot walls of a tandoor oven, which gives the breads a crisp bottom crust and a softer top.