Flatbreads range from below one millimeter to a few centimeters thick so that they can be easily eaten without being sliced. They can be baked in an oven, fried in hot oil, grilled over hot coals, cooked on a hot pan, tava, comal, or metal griddle, and eaten fresh or packaged and frozen for later use.
Flatbreads were amongst the earliest processed foods, and evidence of their production has been found at ancient sites in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and the Indus civilization.
Primitive clay ovens (tandir) used to bake unleavened flatbread were common in Anatolia during the Seljuk and Ottoman eras, and have been found at archaeological sites distributed across the Middle East. The word tand?r comes from the Akkadian tinuru, which becomes tannur in Hebrew and Arabic, and tand?r in Turkish. Of the hundreds of bread varieties known from cuneiform sources, unleavened tinuru bread was made by adhering bread to the side walls of a heated cylindrical oven. This type of bread is still central to rural food culture in this part of the world, reflected by the local folklore, where a young man and woman sharing fresh tand?r bread is a symbol of young love, however, the culture of traditional bread baking is changing with younger generations, especially with those who reside in towns showing preference for modern conveniences.
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Alford, Jeffrey, and Naomi Duguid. Flatbreads and Flavors: A Baker's Atlas. New York: W. Morrow, 1995. Summary: Recipes for more than sixty varieties of flatbreads along with 150 recipes for traditional accompaniments to the breads, including chutneys, curries, salsas, stews, mezze, smorgasbord, kebabs, etc.
Craddock, Anne. Textural Characteristics of Bagels and Ethnic Flatbreads. 1998. Thesis. 124 leaves.
German, Donna Rathmell. Flatbreads from Around the World. San Leandro, Calif: Bristol Pub, 1994.