Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whole Grain Flatbread (gluten-free, yeast-free, vegan)

I have had a number of emails over the summer for a gluten-free flatbread recipe. I also get emails and requests for yeast-free breads. So here is is, the best of all worlds....yeast-free, gluten-free, rice-free, whole grain goodness, and quick & easy! What more could you ask for. Oh yes, it tastes great too.

I made this again for dinner last night. While it was baking, one of my 20 month old twins was standing next to the oven as I opened it to take a peek. Immediately he started to let me know that he wanted some by his grunting and fussing (they don't talk much yet)! He patiently paced back and forth next to the oven until I pulled it out. As I set it on the counter he pushed a stool over and leaned over the hot pan to take a sniff. "Mmm" he said. "Hot" I said!

I cut into the bread after a few minutes and immediately he grabbed a bit out of my hands and gobbled it up, piping hot. I continued to cut it into squares to serve with dinner. I noticed that he kept grabbing the squares, hopping down off the stool, running away, then coming back for more. Well what I found was that he was hoarding all of the bread and placing it on his plate set at the dining room table! I just had to laugh!

All of my children love the bread as do the other children I had taste test it. My plan is to make this bread often and put it in my daughter's lunchbox along with something to spread on it. Small containers of almond butter and homemade blueberry jam or hummus will be perfect.

You can refer to the post I did on Packing a Healthy School Lunch and download a handy chart while there for more tips and ideas.

Last night after dinner was done and the kids were in bed, I mixed up two more batches of the dry ingredients and put them into sealed, glass containers. It is so much easier to mix everything up while all the ingredients are already out on the counter!

Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flatbread

This bread can be prepared in minutes, perfect if you are looking for something to serve with dinner. It is great dipped in a good quality olive oil with chopped fresh herbs. Cut it into small squares and place into your child's lunchbox with a bean spread or nut butter. This can also be made thinner by baking it in a 10 X 14-inch pan. For more variety, try stirring in chopped garlic, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or fresh herbs into the dough.

1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup teff flour
⅓ cup tapioca flour
⅓ cup arrowroot powder
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup warm water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

sesame seeds or dried rosemary for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 9 x 13-inch pan with about 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.

In a smaller separate bowl whisk together the warm water, olive oil, honey, and vinegar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together vigorously until thickened and smooth.

Spoon batter into oiled pan. Oil your hands and gently press and move the dough to the edges of the pan (dough will be sticky). Make sure it is evenly spread. Put more oil on your hands if needed. Prick the dough with a fork about a dozen times (this is optional, if you don't do it you will have a few more air bubbles in the bread).

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and then cut into squares and serve.

**Notes: I initially made this recipe with 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, but since I like to use as little as possible, I tried it with less. It still worked great but may dry out faster with less xanthan. You can be the judge and use the amount you would like (3/4 to 1 teaspoon). Source: www.nourishingmeals.com

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. How wonderful that you read my mind! :)

    This weekend I was searching around for a flatbread recipe and I didn't find anything that looks as good as yours! Thanks so much, Ali.

  2. This recipe is lovely! It just came out of the oven and I have already tasted it. I was looking for something hearty and satisfying to serve with your Healing Quinoua Cabbage Soup, which I made last night for lunch or dinner this evening. It is perfect! Thanks so much.

    One question: The batter/dough was really tacky and didn't seem to spread very easily. Do you think I didn't whisk it enough, or is this what you experienced, as well?

    On another note: I found this blog and really adore it. I've been trying to go gluten and dairy free in order to control MS. I just purchased your cookbook, which should arrive on Thursday. I'm really excited. As a former personal chef myself and a wife and mother to very picky eaters, I love seeing recipes that can satisfy everyone and still be good for me (and them). So, thank you!

  3. Can't wait to try. I'm trying to get into more whole grain baking that's gluten-free, so this will be a great one to experiment with.

    One question for you: is there a difference between arrowroot starch and arrowroot powder? Never worked with either much, so I wanted to make sure I get the right thing. Thanks!

  4. Yum! This looks delicious and wonderfully simple =D.

  5. Wow, you've made a lot of folks happy with this recipe! Love the story on your toddler--what a great recommendation! :-)

    Glad you mentioned the lunch planning post. I want to share that with a new member of our group for her newly diagnosed youngsters.


  6. Debbie - Thanks so much, hope you enjoy! :)

    Jennifer - Yes this dough is very sticky and it is somewhat difficult to spread. I needed to put more oil on my hands in order to get it to the edges of the pan. Some of my recipe testers noted that the back of an oiled spoon worked for them, you might try that next time. I actually tried that method first but found using my hands was much easier. So glad to hear you are enjoying the blog! :)

    Anon - Yes arrowroot powder/flour/starch are different names for the same thing. Happy baking! :)

    Meghan - Thanks! :)

    Lauren - Thanks, yes very simple! :)

    Shirley - Thanks, I just couldn't resist sharing that story, it was hilarious to witness! School starts tomorrow here so lunches are on my mind. Seems like good timing to share that post. The lunch chart is back on our fridge now! :)

  7. Ali,
    Thank you again for sharing another wonderful recipe. Absolutely all of your recipes turn out perfectly. They are the best gluten, dairy and egg free recipes I have found.

    Also, I do so appreciate the extra time you take to explain about the ingredients. On that note, I have a question: Almost all of your baked goods recipes use tapioca starch. Can potato starch be used instead of tapioca starch? Or perhaps a better question is: When is tapioca starch a better choice over potato starch.
    Thank you!

  8. I recently discovered your blog and am so excited to make some of the recipes! A couple of questions- can I always use arrowroot instead of tapioca flour (which I try to avoid)? Also, what flours could I substitute for sourghum flour? I would love a post sometime explaining which flours can be substituted for which, maybe some explanations of why certain flours work a certain way? I think knowing the science behind some of it would help me in knowing how I can substitute while using your recipes. Thanks so much!!

  9. Barbara - Thanks! :) In regards to the flours, I have not tested many of my recipes with potato starch. I try to avoid using it as much as possible. I know there are many people who use my recipes that need to avoid nightshades or just don't feel well with white potato. It does however work really well for certain types of baking - like cakes and cupcakes because it creates a nice crumb. I do find that, in some recipes, the potato starch causes the end result to be too dry and crumbly where using tapioca doesn't have that same effect. This is just from my own expereince, other GF bakers might tell you otherwise. :)

    Pam - Thanks, yes very yummy! :)

    Amy - Glad you found us too. :) I am not sure how 2/3 cup arrowroot would work here. My fear would be that it would get too "chalky" - if you try it I would be very interested in hearing your results. You could try millet or brown rice flours here in place of the sorghum but since I have not tested the recipe this way I can't be sure of the results. Thanks for your input, I may try and do a post on that sometime. :)

  10. Hi Ali, I made this for a work party we had today. I added the olives and herbs like you suggested and it was a big it, even among non-celiacs! I'll be making this again over the weekend so I can enjoy it for myself. It disappeared too fast today. I like your use of healthy gluten-free flours. Teff is my new favorite thanks to you!

  11. L - Thanks! :) So glad to hear everyone enjoyed it. This bread makes great sandwiches, enjoy! :)

  12. My "dough" was a cross between pancake batter and dough. It kind poured into the pan and needed to be spread around rather than pressed. then it stuck mercilessly to the pan. However, all that aside, it was really tasty :-)!

    Jennifer, who commented above, summed up my batter/dough experience well. Whisk more, maybe?

    I'll definitely make it again and just oil the pan better.

  13. Another substitution question for you- I haven't been able to purchase teff yet, and am hoping to make this bread tomorrow- any ideas for what I could use instead of teff flour? Would buckwheat or quinoa flour work?

  14. Jennifer - Interesting. The dough should be thick enough to spoon into the pan, not pour. I have actually had 2 other people contact me with the same results. One gal reduced her liquid to just a tad above 3/4 of a cup and had perfect results. I thought it was because she lived in a very humid climate and so the flours retained more moisture but now I am not sure. My recipe testers all had great results before I posted this and I have had lots of other great feedback after posting. Why don't you try reducing the liquid by 3 tablespoons and see what happens. The dough should be sticky and very moist, therfore you will need to oil your hands well to spread it. Hope this helps! :)

    Amy - I would try using Buckwheat flour first and see how that works. Let me know how it goes. :)

  15. Hi Ali,
    I made this recipe as is and it was wonderful! I love the teff flour! I then made a batch in a larger pan (11in x 15in) and sprinkled sea salt and rosemary over the top. I wanted to try and see if I could make a thinner panini style bread for sandwiches. I reduced the cooking time to 20 minutes and it was fabulous. You do have to handle the bread gently though - for instance, if you would like a larger sandwich (using 2 4x4 pieces of the flat bread), it would be best to make two smaller ones separately (2 sandwiches that are 2x4 inches). Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  16. Ali,
    This flatbread immediately became a staple of our household. It's hard to keep any on hand because the kids and my husband will eat it right out of the oven -- or as a use it as a dipper for hummus, or with soup, etc. There are so many uses for this versatile bread! I've made a few variations -- one version substituted 1/2 of the sorghum with 1/2 c. garfava flour, plus 1/4 c flaxmeal (which then meant adding a bit more liquid, for which I used ricemilk), plus a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds thrown in. Yum!

  17. I made the flatbread for my parent/toddler playgroup last week. I think it's safe to say that both the children and parents loved it! I will definitely be making it again.
    thank you!

  18. Hey Ali, We made several pans of this for Michaelmas, and we received many compliments. It was asked that we included this recipe for next year's parent group. I added about 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and about 1/2 cup or a little less of various dried berries to one bread, and to another I added about 1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary to the dry mix. Both were great, easy and now gone! I was quickly (not carefully) measuring the dry ingredients into jars, as you suggested and every pan came out wonderful-this recipe is such a keeper, and I will make it often-I will try adding some pumpkin next... :) Thanks!!!

  19. I love this recipe and have made it several times. I use a jelly roll pan (probably about 10x14) because I like it more like a cracker. Then I score it (in squares) and put it back in the oven on a lower temperature to dry it out more. I love it with the rosemary, but today I made it with kalamata olives as I am out of rosemary.
    One interesting thing--I thought I was using teff flour which was in my freezer, but when I looked closer at the bag it was quinoa flour. So I've used quinoa now every time I've made it and it turns out great, but I will try teff next time. I am curious to see how much of a difference it will make.

  20. Hi! I have been eyeing this bread for a while but only have whole grain teff and can't find teff flour. I would like to make it soon. What do you think about grinding the teff grain into flour using a blender or food processor???

  21. Anon - I have tried grinding teff into flour and it doesn't work. It is just impossible to grind it fine enough. You might try looking online for it. Amazon.com sells Bob's Red Mill in packs of 4. You can also check out www.teffco.com for more buying options.
    Good luck! :)

  22. I think I might have inadvertently discovered what's causing the "liquid dough" problem with the whole grain flatbread.

    As I live in an extremely humid area, I started with the reduced amount of liquid but still had dough that poured instead of spooned into the pan. Oh, well. It still tasted great. However, the second time I made it, I noticed that the recipe called for WARM water, not hot to almost the point of boiling, which is what I had used the first time. With the warm water, everything turned out perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that I suspected that the first time around, the too hot water temperature had killed the air-borne yeasties, etc. and turned the dough into liquid. I tested this with my third try: I used the original full amount of water, not the reduced amount--with WARM water and everything turned out great, with spoonable dough!!!

    Love this bread! Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  23. I just found your blog this week, an have already made 3 of your recipes, including this flatbread! We enjoyed it with your chicken and rice stew. Then tonight I used the leftovers as a "pizza crust"-put it under the broiler for a few minutes to toast, added sauce and toppings, and then back under the broiler for a few minutes. The kids loved it, thanks!

  24. I am so excited to have found you!!! Looking over the flat bread receipt I can not have vinegars. Anything I could replace vinegar with?
    Thank you,

  25. I made this flatbread last night and it was delicious!! I could have eaten the whole batch. It was nice and moist and tasted great dipped in olive oil.

  26. I LOVE this bread and it has become a staple in our household. This morning I made a "breakfast bread" out of it by adding 1-tsp grnd cinnamon, 1/2-tst grnd cardamom, and 1/2-tsp vanilla extract to the mix; then topped the "dough" with sprinkled dark brown sugar (~1-tsp)and cinnamon. Oh it is heaven! Somehow it tastes like its drizzled with butter too - must be the dark brown sugar. I will add more cinnamon to the dry mix though - it could easily handle 2-tsp or more (I'm guessing).

    Thanks so much for this recipe Ali - I don't like to bake, and I usually don't crave baked goods. However, this was my first winter holiday being GF and I was surprised by how much I was craving bread! This recipe is so easy (and yummy) that it kept me satisfied all winter long. I didn't miss bread at all!

  27. I just made this bread and it is AMAZING! It has been on my list of to-dos for a long time, and I finally got around to it. i omitted the honey and added a couple of drops of stevia plus about 2 T water. And I used guar instead of xanthan. I also added onion flakes, parsley, and fennel seeds - yummy seedy herby oniony goodness! thanks for such an amazing recipe, love it!

  28. Okay, I just had another slice. Seriously. Wow. It tastes like BREAD. Real bread. thank you. :)

  29. i need this.
    i have a hummus obsession and i can't eat it without bread.
    and i don't want to fall backwards into bagels and pita.

  30. I just made this as a test run for a party I'm hosting in Saturday. I added sun-dried tomatoes and it is delicious! Mine was also more like a batter/dough consistency that I could easily spread with a rubber spatula into the pan. The bread still seemed to turn out just fine though! One question...do you think it would freeze and defrost well? I'd like to cut this test pan into squares and freeze until Saturday.


  31. Hi,

    I love this bread. Made it few times with vinegar and then realized that my son can not have vinegar, so I substituted with 1.5 teaspoon of unbuffered C vitamin as per the Yeast Connection Cookbook. It worked,just slightly different consistency, little bit more hard, but similar taste.


  32. Love this recipe!!! Easy and wonderful taste. I bake, cut and freeze and get out pieces to thaw for lunches when we need something quick. Follow recipe except used coconut oil in place of olive oil. Thank you!

  33. Just made a batch while my 15 month old son was napping. He's eating it now, and when he doesn't have his mouth stuffed with the bread, he says, "Yum-ME! Yum-ME!"

  34. I just made this recipe and its so satisfying! I've tried so many other gluten free breads that have just fallen apart! This recipe made my day! Thank you so much!

  35. I made this bread this morning and it's almost gone! I gave it to my daughter for breakfast (plain), then used the bread for sandwiches (just for the bottom layer) and now am using it for mini pizzas. All 3 kids love them. Also, I didn't have any sorghum or teff flour so I just used brown rice and millet flour. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    BTW, I also mixed Rosemary into the dough as well as sprinkled on top before baking and my kitchen smelled divine!

  36. This may be a stupid question, but I was wondering what it means to separate the gluten from the millet? I thought my millet was gluten-free. What would the gluten pieces look like? Thanks!

  37. Fishy_Fam - I think you meant to leave your comment on the latest flatbread recipe here: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2012/03/gluten-free-flatbread-recipe-made-from.html

    Sometimes whole millet is cross-contaminated with gluten in the form of some variety of wheat berry. They are a little larger than millet and tan in color. You can watch a video we did on this with lentils here: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2011/11/lentil-and-kale-dal-video.html

  38. This is such an easy and tasty recipe! The first time I made it I had some trouble with it sticking in the pan. Today I tried lining the pan with parchment paper and that worked great. Thank you so much for all these great recipes!

  39. I love almond flour in my GF baking experiments so far. I do not have sorghum flour. Do you think I could substitute successfully?

  40. I found your blog today and am thrilled at your recipes.

    We made the flatbread tonight with some variation. I milled teff into a flour (coarse), used a slurry of chia & flax instead of xanthan gum, added a little amaranth to thicken the batter since it was still quite liquidy - it still came out really really good.

    We are looking forward to trying more of your recipes and buying your book. I have been looking for quite some time for healthy foods to feed my kids (and we are a gluten free family). Your ingredients are the best I've seen thus far.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  41. Made this tonight and it's wonderful! Moist and just the right chewiness. Sprinkled fresh rosemary and Maldon sea salt on the top. Will definitely be making again!

  42. Thank you so much for sharing this, I had to make a few adjustments due to my son's intolerances, but it still came out delicious!! I substituted millet flour for the arrowroot, maple syrup for the honey and balsamic vinager for the apple cider vinager.


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)