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My oven is broken. It’s a simple statement but a debilitating problem for any baker. I have been working on this gluten free pita or naan flatbreads recipe for weeks, baking it so many times in so many different ways, that it has even occupied my dreams. (There’s hardly a dream worse for a baker than nightmares of burned bread!)
After baking this pita or naan flatbreads recipe out at temperatures ranging from broiling to 300° F, in commercial gas heat ovens, electric home ovens and even a gas grill, the net result is that, to get these beautiful breads to puff up enough to part the middles for soft pita bread to envelop your favorite sandwich filling, but crisp up enough on the outside to have a slight crunch and a gorgeous lightly browned hue typical of Indian naan, the dough needs to be mixed as little as possible and the oven temperature needs to be just right — a perfect 425° F oven will do nicely.
Of course I must sheepishly admit that each time I baked this recipe out as I perfected the recipe for you, I and all others present ate each batch, polishing off every one of these breads, regardless of whether we deemed the results “less than perfect.” Even when these were cooked too long or not long enough or at a not-ideal temperature, they were still amazingly delicious!
Especially because there are so few ingredients in this recipe, it is critical that you use the right ones, namely the gluten-free flour. I hear from folks all the time who try my recipes and use different flour blends and combinations and wonder why they don’t turn out. Gluten-free flour blends are all very different; my gfJules™ Flour is fine, light, tasteless and adds stretch to recipes where ordinary gluten-free flours fail. That’s why it’s been voted #1 AGAIN in the 2017 Gluten Free Awards. Don’t waste your time with gritty rice flour blends or funky tasting bean flours or ancient grain flours that are heavy and won’t puff up beautifully in this recipe. Just don’t. If you want these yummy flatbread pitas to turn out right, use the right ingredients and you’ll be a happy baker. I promise!
So don’t be daunted by my trials and tribulations – you can bake this recipe with the right ingredients in a miscreant oven and still come out with pleasing results!
I baked this gluten free pita or naan flatbreads recipe at our church with the 2nd grade Sunday School class and we all got our hands in the dough – it’s a wonderful, tactile experience that should be shared!
Keep in mind that if 2nd graders can spread this dough into delicious rounds, you can too. Vegan, yeast-free, dairy-free, and of course, gluten-free, there should be nothing keeping you from making this recipe soon and often!
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Warm milk and yogurt, then add with oil to the bowl and blend, just until integrated. Do not over-mix or the breads may become gummy when baked. The dough will hold together once mixed, and be slightly sticky. It should not be dry.
Sprinkle more of my gfJules™ Flour onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, place six balls of dough onto the prepared, lined pan. Pour a teaspoon of oil into your hands and then press with your palms to spread each ball into a 5-inch circle, flattening with your palms; add more oil to your hands as necessary. The dough should be approximately 1/8 inch thick. Repeat with other balls of dough.
I recommend monitoring this recipe in your oven the first time you try it. Bake for 10 minutes, OR until the breads are puffing up and browning slightly. Flip to the other side and bake for an additional 3-4 minutes. (You may also pan saute the breads lightly to brown the high points like traditional naan baked in a tandoor oven.)
(click here to watch the flatbreads video)
If you tear open one of the breads, it should be fully cooked and have some pockets of air; it should not be gummy or look uncooked inside. If it is gummy or not fully cooked, return to the oven and monitor until fully cooked. That being said, these breads may appear slightly gummy when hot out of the oven; let them cool for at least 5 minutes before tearing or cutting so the structure of the breads will set first. Note the times and temperatures for your oven, so that next time you bake these flatbreads, you will know what produces the best results with your oven.
Makes 5-6 flatbreads. Use for personal pizza crusts, naan, pita breads or cut into triangles and toasted or broiled for crisp toast points.