Pizza has got to be one of the most popular foods in the world. They can be ordered practically everywhere and pizzas can even be made at home using a few simple ingredients. But, there is also a type of bread that is similar to a pizza, and that is the flatbread.
Flatbread is a staple food all over the world and pizza is actually evolved from flatbread dishes. Pizzas and flatbreads can look similar, especially when a flatbread has toppings on it. Both of these types of bread have common ingredients such as flour, water, and salt. So what’s the real difference between flatbread vs pizza?
The main difference between a flatbread and a pizza is that one uses a rising agent and the other one does not. A flatbread is a type of unleavened bread that does not need yeast because it does not require a long resting period while a pizza dough needs yeast for it to rise.
It can be quite confusing to tell the difference between the two when a flatbread can look like a pizza when it has toppings on it. As someone who has made both flatbreads and pizza dough from scratch, I can tell you that these two are very different, and it is not because of the yeast.
We will talk about the differences between flatbreads and pizzas to clear up any confusions that you have. So, make sure to read until the end to find out!
What Is A Flatbread?
A flatbread is a simple form of bread that originated way back in the early 500 BC. According to ScienceDirect, “Flatbreads are likely the first type of processed food made by man, with archeological records dating back 6000 years” . Flatbreads have also been found at ancient sites like Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.
Flatbreads have been around for centuries and are a staple in many countries. You will also find a variety of flatbreads from different cultures all over the world. Some of these are tortilla, pita bread, naan, chapati, roti, focaccia, and pizza.
Most of these flatbreads are usually used like a utensil where the flatbread is used to scoop up sauces, soup, or other foods.
How Is Flatbread Made?
As we said earlier, flatbread is a simple form of bread. It is made with flour, water, and salt. Depending on the recipe, sometimes yogurt is also added.
You’ll notice that there is no yeast involved even if flatbread is a form of bread. This is because flatbread is a type of unleavened bread.
The unleavened dough does not need yeast or any chemical leavening as it does not need to rest for a long period of time. Several versions of flatbread are usually cooked in a skillet over medium to high heat but, most flatbreads are cooked in a brick oven.
What Is A Pizza?
Pizza originated in Italy and modern pizza evolved from the flatbread dishes in Naples during the 18th century.
There are several varieties of pizzas from thin crusts, thick crusts, deep-dish, and even stuffed crusts. Pizzas also usually have tomato sauce as the base but there are white pizzas that are equally delicious.
One of the most popular pizzas, the Neapolitan pizza, is traditionally cooked in a brick oven to achieve the distinct char on its crust. However, pizzas can definitely be cooked in regular ovens as well.
How Is Pizza Dough Made?
The most basic ingredients of a pizza dough are flour, salt, yeast, and water. Other ingredients such as sugar and olive oil can be added as well to add more flavor to the dough.
To make pizza dough, the ingredients are mixed together to form a rough sticky dough. The dough is then kneaded either by hand or using a stand mixer to form a soft dough. It is then put into an oiled container covered with plastic wrap to rise at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge overnight before shaping into pizza dough.
The dough needs to rest and proof to be able to develop the gluten in the dough – this is called the fermentation process.
Differences Between Flatbread vs Pizza
Both flatbreads and pizzas have distinct differences even though they sometimes may look similar. Let’s take a closer look at what makes these types of bread differ from each other.
The main difference between flatbreads and pizzas is the use of yeast. You may find some recipes that call for yeast in their flatbreads but, they do not require yeast at all.
Unleavened bread does not have yeast in it and because of that, they are generally flat.
Pizzas, on the other hand, need a rising agent for the dough to rise. Instant dry yeast, active dry yeast, or fresh yeast are used as the rising agent when making pizza dough. The yeast also adds more depth of flavor to the pizza dough.
Because flatbreads do not have yeast, they have a crispier texture on the edges than most pizzas, which have a combination of fluffy and crispy crust.
A pizza crust is usually softer and fluffier unless it is made to be a super thin-crust pizza. Even then, a thin-crust pizza normally has a fluffy crust, just like a Neapolitan pizza.
A flatbread can be a pizza, you just need to add yeast to the ingredients. But, a pizza cannot be a flatbread. A flatbread with toppings is often called flatbread pizza.
Piizas either have a tomato or white-based sauce, and it has toppings and cheese on top to finish it off. The most popular topping to put on a pizza is pepperoni and cheese but, pizzas can have a variety of toppings.
A lot of people enjoy meat, seafood, vegetables, or even fruits on their pizzas. There is no particular set of rules for pizza toppings unless you are having a more traditional pizza like a Neapolitan pizza. A traditional Neapolitan pizza is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil while a regular pizza can have any cheese and tomato sauce in it.
Flatbreads do not really have toppings unless you make them a flatbread pizza. Flatbreads are mostly used to scoop sauces, soup, or other foods – like a utensil but you eat it the flatbread. Tortilla, a kind of flatbread, is used as a wrap.
A flatbread pizza can have a variety of toppings, just like pizzas. They usually have toppings and sauces not found in a typical pizza. Balsamic glaze and olive oil are some of the sauces used and the toppings can be salmon, fig, prosciutto, blue cheese, mozzarella, or any kind of toppings.
Is Flatbread Healthier Than Regular Pizza
Some pizzas can be unhealthy as some are high in calories, carbs, and sugar. Flatbreads have fewer calories but, it will all depend on the topping or what food you pair it with.
While a pizza and flatbread can look similar, they are different from each other. Depending on the type of flatbread, they are usually paired with food like curry, or used as a wrap and do not have any toppings at all while pizzas will always have toppings. Although flatbread pizzas have toppings on them just like a pizza, which is why it can be easy to be confused between the two.
Flatbread is also an unleavened bread which means there is no yeast used in making this type of bread. Flatbreads do not need a long resting period, unlike pizzas. Yeast is used as a rising agent which is why it is a required ingredient in pizza dough.
We hope this clears up any confusion that you may have regarding flatbreads and pizzas.