Making homemade sourdough flatbread couldn't be easier.
All you need are six simple ingredients, one bowl, and one pan. It is one of my favorite ways to use sourdough discard.
This flatbread is soft and tender and very easy to make, requiring just a minute or two of kneading, and is super versatile too. Use it to make your own pizzas, wraps, quesadillas, and more! With so many ways to use this sourdough discard flatbread, you will want to mix up a fresh batch every week.
What is flatbread?
Nearly every culture in the world has its version of flatbread: naan in India, pide in Turkey, dosa in Malaysia. Basic flatbread is made with flour, water, and salt, and then rolled into flattened discs. Because it isn't expected to rise much flatbread is a great way to use up unfed sourdough discard.
What is sourdough?
Sourdough is a leavening method typically used for sourdough bread. Sourdough relies on the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in flour to leaven baked goods.
As you get to know your starter you can adjust your process to suit your routine. Because I wanted to reduce the amount of discard I generate I have actually converted my starter to a micro starter which you can read more about at Cooks Illustrated.
If you’re growing tired of feeding your starter you can dry your starter and store it in the pantry. Check out How to Dry (and Revive) Your Sourdough Starter for Long-Term Storage for step-by-step instructions on both drying and reviving your starter.
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is the part of your sourdough starter that you usually throw away when you feed it. I feel guilty about throwing away food and am always looking for ways to reduce food waste.
Sourdough discard adds tons of incredible flavor to baked goods. The lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough discard adds flavor and tenderizes wheat proteins.
A fluffy loaf of sourdough bread needs well-fed, active starter that will impart flavor, fermentation, and leavening. But there are other recipes, that do well with unfed discarded starter. Waffles, pancakes, biscuits, crackers, pizza crust, and brownies are just a few examples.
Sourdough discard is not always strong enough to leaven baked goods on its own, so sourdough discard recipes usually need additional leavening in the form of baking soda, baking powder, or yeast. Most quick bread recipes can easily be turned into sourdough discard recipes.
Most sourdough starters are kept at 100% hydration meaning they are fed with equal amounts of water and flour. If you keep your starter at a different hydration level, you might need to adjust the flour our liquid amounts accordingly.
Pro Sourdough Tip: Keep a glass jar in your refrigerator to store your sourdough discard. Continue adding to it until you have enough to make your chosen sourdough discard recipe.
How do you make sourdough starter discard flatbread?
This sourdough flatbread is super simple to make just mix, roll, and throw it into a hot skillet.
- Mix the ingredients: Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add the sourdough discard, milk, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Knead the dough: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until it is smooth and no longer sticky. Adding more flour if necessary. To knead the dough, grab the edge closest to you and fold it over itself. Give the dough a quarter turn. Repeat this movement until the dough smooths out.
- Rest the dough: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Allowing the dough to relax gives the gluten strands time to relax making shaping easier.
- Shape the flatbread: Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Using your hands or a rolling pin roll it out into discs that are about ¼ inch thick.
- Cook the flatbread: Brush one side with olive oil and place olive oil side down in a hot cast-iron skillet. Cook for 90 seconds until the top begins to look dry and bubbly. Brush the top with olive oil, flip, and cook the second side for an additional minute. Remove to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.
- Repeat: Repeat the cooking process until all of your flatbreads have been cooked.
What if you don't have any sourdough starter?
The great news is you can still make these flatbreads! If you don't have any sourdough discard you can make a poolish. A poolish is simply a one to one mixture of flour and water. For this recipe, I would combine ½ cup (120g) of flour with ½ cup (120g) of water plus a pinch of yeast (active or instant is fine). To replicate the sourdough flavor, allow the poolish to ripen at room temperature for at least 12 hours before continuing with the sourdough flatbread recipe.
- Plain sourdough flatbread is great on its own but feel free to add additional herbs and spices for even more flavor.
- Garlic Herb Add finely chopped garlic cloves to the olive oil that you brush on before placing in the pan, then sprinkle with your favorite fresh herbs when you remove them.
- Roasted Garlic Naan: add 2 chopped roasted garlic to when you mix the flatbread dough.
- Garlic Seasame: Saute 2 chopped garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds in the olive oil before mixing the dough.
- Onion Herb: Add ¼ cup finely minced onion to the dough along with 1 tablespoon of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
- Cinnamon and Sugar: Spread cooked flatbread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
- Don't worry if your discs aren't perfectly round. The irregular shape adds to the flatbread's rustic charm.
- To make brushing the olive oil onto the flatbreads easier, I love these silicone pastry brushes. They are heat resistant and dishwasher safe. I like them over bristled brushes because I don't have to worry about them leaving stray bristles behind.
- Cook sourdough flatbread on high heat! Make sure your pan is plenty hot and wait a minute or two in between flatbreads for the pan to reheat. The hot pan will create a crisp crust and once the dough's structure is set helps to prevent the flatbread from sticking.
- I love using this Lodge cast iron skillet to cook flatbreads. The skillet heats up evenly and does a great job of maintaining its temperature so I can cook flatbread after flatbread without waiting for the skillet to reheat.
- You could also bake the flatbreads on a pizza stone in the oven. Try this tip from Sean at Diversivore.com. Preheat the pizza stone in a 450 F oven. Place one flatbread on a piece of parchment paper. Place the flatbread and parchment paper on the pizza stone and bake for 3-4 minutes. Remove the flatbread from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Repeat the baking process until all of the dough has been baked.
How to use sourdough discard flatbread
One of my all-time favorite things to do with flatbread is to turn it into pizza. Check out these amazing flatbread pizza recipes or my recipes for Greek Flatbread Pizza, Shrimp Pesto Flatbread, or Crab Rangoon Flatbread Pizza. But there are so many other ways to serve flatbread.
- Breakfast Wraps: Fill your wrap with scrambled eggs, sauteed potatoes, cheese, and your favorite breakfast meat.
- Flatbread Wrap: Fill flatbread with your favorite wrap fillings; salad, cheese, hummus, meat, pickled vegetables, etc. Try filling it with these Greek chicken kebobs.
- Flatbread Quesadilla: On one side of the flatbread layer cheese and your favorite Mexican fillings. Fold the flatbread in half and heat in a nonstick skillet until it is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Flip the quesadilla and cook for an additional minute.
- Soup: Serve flatbread alongside a steaming bowl of homemade soup and use it to soak up the delicious broth. Try pairing it with this creamy oven-roasted tomato soup.
- Hummus: Cut the flatbread into wedges and use it to scoop up hummus or other dips.
Make Ahead Directions
To make this sourdough flatbread ahead of time follow the instructions through step three placing the dough in the refrigerator to rest until you are ready to cook the flatbread. It is important to make sure you are using double-acting baking powder.
There are two different types of baking powder single-acting and double-acting. It should say on the container which type you have. Both types are activated when they are mixed with a liquid. If you use single-acting baking powder it will use up all of its rising power overnight in the fridge. But double-acting baking powder will be activated a second time by the heat of the pan.
I have mixed my flatbread dough up to 24 hours in advance with no issues.
How to Store
Flatbread can be stored in a sealed bag or container at room temperature for up to five days. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Can you freeze sourdough flatbread?
There are two ways to freeze flatbread:
- To freeze flatbread dough:
- After kneading the dough, divide it into six even portions, wrap each portion in plastic wrap, place each plastic-wrapped portion in a zip-top freezer bag, and labeled it with the contents and date. Flatbread dough can be frozen for up to one month.
- The next time you want flatbread, remove however many portions you need from the freezer. Allow the dough to thaw on the counter (for 1-2 hours) and then follow the cooking instructions in the recipe card below.
- To freeze cooked flatbread:
- After cooking the flatbread, place it in a zip-top freezer bag, and labeled it with the contents and date. Flatbread can be frozen for up to three months.
How do you reheat sourdough flatbread?
Re-heat flatbread in either a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven, in a skillet, directly on a gas stovetop, or in the microwave.
Sourdough Discard Flatbread
- mixing bowl
- Rolling Pin
- cast-iron skillet
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sourdough discard
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra for cooking
- Whisk the 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder together. Add the 1 cup sourdough discard, ½ cup milk, and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until it is smooth and no longer sticky. Adding more flour if necessary. To knead the dough, grab the edge closest to you and fold it over itself. Give the dough a quarter turn. Repeat this movement until the dough smooths out.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Allowing the dough to relax gives the gluten strands time to relax making shaping easier.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Using your hands or a rolling pin roll it out into discs that are about ¼ inch thick.
- Brush one side with olive oil and place olive oil side down in a hot cast-iron skillet. Cook for 90 seconds until the top begins to look dry and bubbly. Brush the top with olive oil, flip, and cook the second side for an additional minute. Remove to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.
- Repeat the cooking process until all of your flatbreads have been cooked.
- Plain flatbread is great on its own but feel free to add additional herbs and spices for even more flavor.
- Don't worry if your discs aren't perfectly round. The irregular shape adds to the flatbread's rustic charm.
- Cook flatbread on high heat! Make sure your pan is plenty hot and wait a minute or two between flatbreads for the pan to reheat. The hot pan will create a crisp crust and once the dough's structure is set will prevent the flatbread from sticking.
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