Making homemade bread a regular part of your dinner repertoire can feel mythical unless you're still nursing your sourdough starter from 2020. While I am perhaps in the small minority that has managed to keep said sourdough starter alive for the past four years, baking with it remains a project I only reserve for quiet weekends, which are unfortunately few and far between. For all the other moments in which I crave warm, fresh bread, yogurt flatbreads have become a lifeline. They require just three ingredients, take next to no time to make, and upgrade just about any meal. They become a meal of their own when topped with salad or something spreadable like pesto or hummus and a fried egg. I’ve even used them as wraps or as the base for quick pizzas.
While I hate to bring up 2020 again, it’s also the year I discovered yogurt flatbreads. With limited grocery runs, I, like everyone else, learned to fully appreciate my pantry. These layered yogurt flatbreads from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen hit my feed right at the time I was in need of inspiration. Her version is coiled and rolled to produce flaky layers similar to Indian parathas, and while those layers were lovely, I was worn out and ended up skipping her extra steps. I haven’t looked back since.
Here’s where I start and then where I stray: Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and a few generous pinches of kosher salt in a large bowl with 1 cup of plain yogurt (Greek or regular, full- or low-fat) until a kind of lumpy dough forms. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until it’s a mostly smooth ball. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a plate or damp dish towel, and let it rest. Deb says to rest the dough for 30 minutes, but I’ve done as little as 15 minutes without harm.
Next is where I fully take the lazy route. Cut the dough into 8 pieces, shape each into a rough ball, then roll the balls out into thin rounds, about 6-inches in diameter, with a rolling pin or an empty wine bottle if you don’t have the former handy. Heat a large cast-iron skillet, griddle, or outdoor grill to medium heat. Brush the tops of the rounds with olive oil or melted butter, and cook as many as can fit, oiled-side-down, for a few minutes until they’re nicely browned underneath. While they’re cooking, brush the other side of the rounds with oil or melted butter so that they’ll all be ready and greased when you flip them. Flip and cook them a few minutes more, until the second side is golden-brown and the flatbreads are slightly puffed. Repeat until you’ve cooked them all.
While the beauty of these flatbreads is their short ingredient list, the real allure is in their versatility. I’ve added chopped fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, grated Parmesan cheese, spice blends like za’atar and herbs de Provence, or even just lots of cracked black pepper to the bowl of flour before mixing the dough. Replace up to half the amount of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for heartier flatbreads (just know you might need a splash of water to get the dough to come together) or swap in a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, if needed.
Being able to bring fresh bread to the table whenever the mood strikes is a gift I am continually grateful for. It’s the warm, carb-y answer to turning even the most ho-hum meal into something so much more.
Photographer: Natassja Ebert
Food Styling: Mary Rupp
Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez