This super fast and easy flatbread recipe will totally blow your mind because it uses only 2 ingredients and 15 minutes of active cooking!
Growing up in a Chinese family in which the parents make dumplings and buns from scratch, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m pretty bad at making anything dough-related. Whether it’s dumpling wrappers, noodle dough, or pancakes, I feel extremely intimidated before starting a cooking project like this.
But this recipe is an exception.
It is such a simple recipe that even I feel confident making, all the time. Not only does it take no time to prepare, but the simple ingredients make it a no-fail recipe.
How to Make Flatbread
(1) Fast prep
Here is how to make these flatbreads. You just need some all-purpose flour, instant dry yeast, and water.
You can either knead the dough by hand, mix it in a food processor, or use a mixer such as a Kitchenaid. I’m super lazy so I usually use a Kitchenaid, which only requires that I add the ingredients.
(2) How the dough works
Once you knead the dough, you just need to rest the dough twice, 10 minutes each time. This recipe was originally designed for making Chinese pork belly buns. Our goal is to make a bread that has a crispy surface and fluffy texture and is easy to split down the middle to make a sandwich. The yeast and the short resting time help us achieve this goal.
(3) How to cook the flatbread
My favorite way is to use a cast iron skillet to make the flatbread, which doesn’t require any oil. Alternatively you can use a nonstick pan as well. Since nonstick pans usually recommend that you not heat them without any ingredients in them, I would add a few drops of oil into the pan when making the first flatbread.
Depending on your pan temperature, it takes anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes to cook each side. The flatbread will start rising and inflating, almost forming a ball. This process will split the bread in the middle. It also means that your bread is cooked through. It might take a few tries to get your pan temperature just right. A perfectly cooked flatbread should be golden on the outside and fluffy inside.
The flatbread should have a fluffy texture that is very easy to separate into two parts. Once the bread is cooked enough to handle by hand, use a knife to slice the bun horizontally, one third of the way through, then separate the inside of the bun with your fingers, taking care not to tear the two layers apart (be careful of the hot bun!). The bun should form a pocket, so it will be easy to hold in your hand even when filled to the brim with braised pork or chicken.
Alternatively, you can serve the whole buns as a side dish with curry or stew.
I’ve created this short video for you, so you can easily get an idea of the workflow.
More delicious Chinese bread recipes
- Pork Belly Buns (Rou Jia Mo)
- Authentic Chinese Scallion Pancakes
- Mom’s Best Duck Pancakes (Mandarin Pancakes)
- Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun
- Chinese Beef Meat Pie
- Sticky Rice Cake with Red Bean Paste
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
- 2 1/2 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour , plus extra to dust hands
- 1 teaspoon Instant dry yeast
- 1 cup (240 ml) room-temperature water
- Make the dough by hand - Put the flour in a large bowl, add dry yeast, and mix well with a fork. Add water and mix with a fork or a pair of chopsticks, stirring in a clockwise direction, until water is fully incorporated with flour. Dust both hands with flour and start by using one hand to knead until dough begins to form. The dough should be soft, but shouldn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl. Blend in more flour if the dough sticks to the hands, 1 teaspoon at a time. Dust a cutting board or working surface with flour and transfer the dough onto the cutting board. Continue kneading the dough for a few minutes, until the surface becomes smooth.
- Make the dough using a food processor or mixer - Add the flour and the yeast into the food processor (or mixer), pulse a few times to mix well. Add the water and mix until it forms a dough. Transfer the dough onto a dusted working surface. Knead for a few minutes until the surface becomes smooth.
- Make the dough using a Kitchenaid - Add the flour and the yeast into the Kitchenaid bowl. Mix on low for a few revolutions. Gradually add the water. Mix until it forms a smooth dough, 10 minutes or so.
- Transfer the dough to a dusted bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Rest the dough for 10 to 15 minutes (*Footnote 1).
- Dust both hands again and knead the dough a few times. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts, and shape each one into a ball by hand. Transfer the dough onto a dusted tray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for another 10 minutes.
- Dust both hands and the working surface. Place one dough ball on the working surface, then press it with the palm into a round shape. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a 1/4 inch (6-mm) thick round disk. Set aside. Shape the rest of the dough balls the same way.
- Heat a cast iron pan or nonstick skillet with a few drops of oil over medium heat. When skillet is hot, turn to medium low heat. Place a round piece of dough into the skillet and cover the pan (cook one or two doughs at a time, depending on the size of the skillet). Use a spatula to turn the dough occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes per side, and cook covered during the process, until both sides turn golden brown and the bread is inflated. Transfer finished buns to a plate or cooling rack.
- When the buns have cooled down a bit, use a knife to split them horizontally, half-way through. Separate the inside of the bun with your fingers, taking care not to tear the two layers apart. The bun should form a pocket.
- You might need to rest the dough for 20 to 30 minutes in winter.