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Gluten-free flatbread is a bread made without any leavening agents or flours that contain gluten. As the name suggests, flatbread does not rise like other breads, but remains thin and flat. A flatbread may be hard and crisp or soft and pliable and can be consumed on its own or stuffed with other foods. Many traditional recipes for flatbread are, in fact, gluten-free, though many commercial bakeries also produce gluten-free flatbread for individuals who have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Given the central role that breadstuffs play in many diets, those who follow a gluten-free lifestyle often incorporate flatbreads into their daily menu.
While many people are able to consume gluten, a protein found in some grains, with no difficulty, others suffer from a variety of conditions that prohibit gluten consumption. These individuals must adhere to a gluten-free diet if they are to remain healthy. Gluten is not found in all grains, however, and flatbreads made from corn, lentils, and other foods that do not contain gluten can be consumed freely by those who suffer from gluten intolerance.
There are several types of gluten-free raised breads on the market, but many people appreciate flatbread for its versatility, as it can be used to create many different types of sandwiches and wraps. Some flatbread may also contain fewer calories than standard bread slices, giving it a strong appeal to dieters. Individuals who are trying to avoid yeast may also consume flatbread as an alternative to breads that use yeast as a leavening agent.
Many well-known types of flatbread, such as corn tortilla or injera, a spongy Ethiopian flatbread, are not made from wheat, rye, or barley and so are technically gluten-free. Individuals who must refrain from consuming gluten, however, should be cautious about consuming commercially prepared breads, because they may be contaminated with gluten. Unless a commercial bread maker or restaurant can guarantee consumers that any gluten-free flatbread on offer is prepared and baked in a gluten-free kitchen, exposure to gluten remains a danger.
Some bread lovers make their own gluten-free flatbread at home so as to ensure the bread's purity. As flatbreads do not need to rise, preparing flatbread at home is typically a fairly quick procedure. The resulting gluten-free flatbread may be used to prepare sandwiches and paninis, served alongside other foods as a side dish, or used as a pizza crust. Crisp flatbreads can also be used as crackers and may be served with spreads and dips.