August 15, 2022

The History of Flatbread

Flatbread is a phenomenon with how its popularity has grown in bakeries and grocery stores across the country over the last few years, and why wouldn’t it? This tasty bread has brought gourmet bread to homes since it was first invented. This new rise in popularity has forced restaurants to make new and interesting recipes to compete with what people can buy and bring home. But what’s the history of flatbread and how did it get so popular?

Cork Bar & Dining has several flatbreads that we serve throughout the year, and to understand how to make our flatbread the best, we’ve looked into the history of flatbread. If you want to know what’s so special about this starter, we can tell you.

What is Flatbread?

Flatbread is unleavened bread. This means it was made without yeast, only flour, water, and salt are considered the main ingredients. There are other ingredients added to different recipes, but these three are essential. These three core ingredients are combined and made into a dough, rolled out into one flat piece, and baked. 

History of Flatbread

Flatbread may be growing in popularity again, but it is far from a recent creation. Flatbreads are one of the oldest processed foods in history. There’s evidence of flatbread in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus civilization, each dating back over 6000 years in 4000 B.C.

There’s a possibility that they were making flatbread even earlier than that, as charred bread crumbs were found in Jordan that date back to 12,400 B.C. This means that people were potentially making flatbread even before agriculture truly took off in the Middle East. Now we all eat it.

When Did Flatbread Become Popular?

As with most foods, they have peaks and valleys in popularity. When bread first became what we know it as today–in its common pre-sliced form–it replaced flatbread as the most popular source of food. With agriculture, bread became easier to produce in mass, which was necessary to feed the growing populations of countries and empires across the world for the centuries that followed. 

This led to flatbread becoming a delicacy common among the upper class and the wealthy in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It wouldn’t be until the colonization of the Americas that flatbread would become common in North America as well.

When Did Flatbread Become Popular in America?

Flatbread was always popular as a starter meal for the upper and middle class of the United States until around the 1960s. It was when Harry Toufayan created pita bread that flatbread began to change in popularity for a while. Depending on what you consider flatbread, the rise of pita bread marked an explosion in flatbread’s popularity. 

Since pita bread can best be described as a double-layered flatbread, many consider it another type of flatbread. If you agree, flatbread has been growing in popularity in the U.S. since the 1960s, becoming a leading appetizer in the United States. If you disagree, flatbread has been on the wayside until recently. 

In 2020, the flatbread and pita industries began to grow with an overall bakery rate of 13.5%.

Try Cork Bar & Restaurant’s Flatbread

There are currently two different flatbreads on the menu at Cork Bar & Restaurant, both excellent starters to whet your appetite before a meal. 

Shrimp Scampi Flatbread adds a popular sauce made of butter, olive oil, white wine, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice atop a flatbread. Pair this wonderful sauce with shrimp, put them both on flatbread, and you have a flavor you’re going to remember.

The other flatbread that we serve is our Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread which uses mission figs, gorgonzola cheese, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, and crispy prosciutto.

Make a Reservation

Flatbread is a starter you can feel safe knowing you’ll enjoy. People have enjoyed it for thousands of years, making thousands of different recipes, dishes, and combinations with it. If you don’t have a favorite flatbread, it’s only a matter of time before you find one that you do like. Make a reservation at Cork Bar & restaurant, and see if ours is the one for you.