This gluten-free flatbread makes an all-purpose accompaniment to any meal. It’s soft, tender, pliable, and has a light coconut flavor. The two most common flatbreads I use this recipe for are coconut naan and coconut tortillas. This recipe is vegan, low-carb, grain-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
There was a time in my life that I completely avoided bread. All it took was one seemingly innocent comment from my classmate: “Haven’t you gained weight recently?“. From that moment on I restricted my diet, started reading books about weight loss, and cut out every food I read something negative about.
Bread-type foods were the first to go since I learned that our bodies aren’t very good at dealing with large amounts of carbohydrates. No more bread for breakfast, wraps for lunch, or crackers as a snack. I also read that eliminating gluten could help with weight loss. So, gluten-containing foods were the next to go. After a few months of these practices, I was left with fruits and vegetables, pseudo-grains, legumes, nuts, green tea and water.
I felt like a crazy person. My reasonable self knew that I shouldn’t be restricting my diet so much, but every comment about how skinny I was felt like an accomplishment. I was losing weight and loved the way I looked.
On top of eliminating entire food groups from my diet, I ran ten miles every morning, did squats and push-ups while studying, and paced in my room instead of sleeping. I was hungry, cold, tired, and unable to pick myself up. I pushed my body to the point that I collapsed.
Now that I am at a healthy weight, people ask me how I overcame my eating disorder. My answer is always the same – healthy eating literally saved my life. My focus shifted from calorie counting to nourishment. For whatever reason, I believed that every product with the label “healthy” was OK for me to eat. (I am putting the word healthy in quotes because I think everyone’s opinions of food and health vary).
Some things I want to reiterate here are, that I do not believe that grains or carbohydrates are bad. No natural food group should be vilified, just as no macronutrient should be either. However, if you’re on a low-carb diet and crave bread, this recipe might just be for you. Psyllium is a 100% natural source of fiber and coconut flour is such an excellent alternative to grain flours. So this psyllium flatbread (just like these almond flour tortillas or these flaxseed wraps) is an excellent grain-free bread alternative.
Whew! Now some notes on the recipe.
Tips for Making Psyllium Flatbread
The base ingredient in this recipe is coconut flour. Coconut flour is very unique in that it doesn’t perform the same as grain-based flours in baking. It’s extraordinarily absorbent, so very little coconut flour is needed to successfully produce a recipe. It also tends to be very dry, which is where psyllium husk comes in.
Psyllium is a form of soluble fiber that provides not only elasticity and structure, but also binding. It works a bit like gluten in traditional baking, and makes it possible to handle the dough.
I am also using baking powder for leavening, olive oil for moisture, and salt.
The dough for this psyllium flatbread is really easy to make. It does take a little bit of time for the coconut flour and psyllium husk to absorb all the water so the dough is moist at first. However, it gets dryer after about a minute and is really easy to work with. I like to rest the dough in a bowl for 10 minutes to let the psyllium husk absorb the moisture and create an elastic, soft dough. The dough should not be crumbly or sticky.
The easiest way to roll out the dough is to use a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. Simply place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to your desired thickness and shape. If this is your first time making this psyllium flatbread, I recommend that you roll out the dough a bit thicker and smaller, no larger than 8″ (20 cm) in diameter. The thicker and smaller the dough, the easier it is to handle.
To shape the flatbread, place a plate on top of the rolled-out dough and cut around the edges. Keep the edges to reform more bread.
Since I have made this recipe numerous times now, I am comfortable lifting the rolled out dough off the parchment paper and transferring it to a hot griddle. Another option is to flip over the flatbread onto a griddle with the parchment paper and then carefully peel the parchment paper off. I also find that if you let the rolled out dough rest for even just a couple of minutes, it’s easier to handle.
To cook the flatbread, you will need some type of non-stick surface. I use a well-seasoned cast iron griddle, but any non-stick pan will work.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Tortilla Press (8-Inch, Cast Iron) | 2. Pan (12 Inches, Lodge, Cast Iron) | 3. Knife Set(6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 4.Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 5. Rolling Pin (French, Wood) | 6. Measuring Cup (1 Cup, Pyrex, Glass) | 7. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Stainless Steel) | 8. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 2 Tbsp. psyllium husks, whole
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt, optional
- 1 cup warm water
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut flour, psyllium husk, baking powder, and salt.
- Add in olive oil and warm water. Stir it well with a spatula, then use your hands to knead the dough. Knead for 1 minute. The dough should be moist and get softer and slightly dryer as you knead. If the dough is too sticky, add more husk, 1/2 tsp. (2.5 g) at a time. The dough will always be a bit moist but it shouldn't stick to your hands at all. It must come together as a soft, elastic dough. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball. Place one of the dough balls between two pieces of parchment paper (not wax paper!) and press the ball with your palm to flatten it out a little bit. Roll it out as thinly as you like. My breads are usually around 8" (20 cm) in diameter.
Unpeel the first layer of parchment paper from your flatbread. Use a plate to cut out round flatbread. Keep the outside dough to reform a ball and roll more flatbread - that is how I make 1-2 extra flatbreads from the 4 balls above.
- To cook the bread, heat up a cast iron (or non-stick) pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp./5 ml olive oil. Rub the surface of the pan with a piece of an absorbent paper towel to get rid of any excess oil in the pan (so the flatbread doesn't fry).
Flip over the flatbread on the hot pan and peel off carefully the last piece of parchment paper. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side, flip over using a spatula and cook for 1-2 more minutes on the other side.
- Repeat the rolling and cooking for the next 5 flatbreads. Make sure you rub the oiled absorbent paper onto the pan each time you remove a flatbread, so the flatbread doesn't stick to the pan.
- Store leftover flatbread in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Rewarm in the same pan or if you want to give them a little crisp rewarm in the hot oven on a baking sheet for 1-2 minutes at 300°F/150°C.
For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper in between each flatbread (so the pieces don't stick to each other as they freeze) for up to 1 month.