gluten free flatbreads – hot pepper lonzino and mizuna

June 21, 2011

It has taken us nearly a year to perfect this gluten free flatbread dough. The “we” part is my wife and I. For the last couple of years she has had to be gluten-free and that might well never change, so we decided to try and develop a fantastic pizza and flatbread gluten free dough. A regular weekly staple for us was making pizza from the basic “wheat, no knead” recipe that seems to be on every blog these days. We changed it a bit to use a mix of white and whole grain flours, but it was essentially the same. The only problem with it was gluten.

So when Danika first had to go gluten free, this was the one thing we had to make. We started with a recipe from a gluten free baking book. Our hopes were high. We bought the 4000 different flours required, the 20 different bizzare gums that I had never heard of before, and started to mix. We let it rise, then baked it. We wanted to like it. “hey this isn’t bad” I seem to remember muttering. But we knew different. It was bloody lousy. It was also a sodding pain in arse to work with.

We started to make our own. Things got better. We simplified the flours down and only used one gum and an egg. It was better, and at the time I really wasn’t trying to convince myself of that. But it still wasn’t fall to the ground crying with joy good. Far from it.

The one thing that has always bugged us with most gluten free recipes is the amount of bizarre crap you end up bunging in to a recipe to take the place of gluten. We eat a very unprocessed diet, generally stick to local and organic foods, so this bothered us somewhat. I had no idea what “xanthan gum” and “guar gum” were. I find the idea of using potato starch and tapioca flour strange too – two things I generally wouldn’t associate with being dried and ground in to a flour. Our motto for a long time has always been “don’t fuck with food”, and frankly half of this crap we were putting in to our gluten free dough didn’t exactly fit with that.

About 8 months ago we decided to ditch all that rubbish. No gums, no strange starches. Not even putting an egg in to help bind everything. We simplified our flour mix even further. We started to use freshly ground golden flaxseed as the binder. I expected the results to be terrible. Nothing, honestly nothing could be further from the truth. The dough started to behave like a gluten based dough. It was stretchy. It could be rolled easily. It got air bubbles when it baked. Because no egg or oil was in the mix the dough had that wonderful pizza dough mouth feel, rather than something that tasted heavy, and almost fried (if that makes sense). It was floury. But floury in a good way, not a heavy gritty kind of way.

This pizza dough (and flatbread dough) recipe was starting to taste seriously good. Three flours (two whole grain), sea salt, yeast, ground flaxseed and water. That is it. It couldn’t be simpler to make. Then we struck absolute gold. We decided to grill the pizza’s like we had before with the wheat based dough many moons ago. Now, we had also baked dough inside in a very hot (500F) oven on a pizza stone. It was decent, we thought. It always yielded a slightly better wheat dough than the BBQ way back when.

Grilling this gluten free dough over VERY hot coals is fantastic. It gets large air bubbles. The bottom crisps up but the top stays as light as a cloud. This is honestly some of the best pizza doughs I have ever tasted in my life, gluten free or otherwise. It beats the absolute crap out of the no knead wheat dough we made years ago (not that the no knead was bad). But was it just us that thought that? Big headedness, or just painfully wanting decent pizza again? Turns out no.

We invited some friends over one evening for some cured meats, and we decided to try this dough out on them. We would make these grilled flatbreads with home cured calabrese hot pepper lonzino (air dried pork loin) and mizuna from the yard. One of the guests is easily the best home cook I know so I really wanted his opinion on these flatbreads. We didn’t tell him what we were making, or that anything was gluten free. The first thing said was “wow, this bread is awesome”, with no idea there wasn’t an ounce of gluten in it. I was pleased. Very pleased. But also pissed, because he didn’t mention the cured meat first….

It is safe to say we are addicted to this dough. We have used it to make pizza and flatbreads for the last month or two, often twice a week. We have grilled them lightly and used them like a wrap for grilled vegetables. Danika has used them as a thin bun for hotdogs.

some stuff we love about this dough:

  1. no strange gums
  2. 66% whole grain flours
  3. no strange starches
  4. quick to make
  5. can be rolled out easily, without parchment paper
  6. pizza’s can be grilled easily on a BBQ, without pre-grilling dough first

good crust and good chew

“And what about the cured meat?” you ask. Well, this one is pretty great. Lonzino is air dried pork loin. It is lean, clean tasting and very light. Cut really thin on a meat slicer it pretty much just melts on the tongue. I have cured many lonzino’s now, and never grow tired of them. Often when I am working from home and need a snack, I will pop down in to the garage and slice myself some lonzino. With almost no fat it lacks the tongue smacking richness of salami or coppa – but sometimes that is a good thing. You don’t get weighed down if you eat 10 slices in a row (it happens so often, oh so often) and you have no fatty mouthfeel. Pretty great.

This one is cured simply with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and a little cure #2. After curing for 10 days or so we rolled the thing in some excellent Calabrese hot pepper that I got from my fellow meat curing buddy Scott, who runs an Italian imports business. I highly recommend this hot pepper. It is hot, but also flavorful. It tastes much more of red peppers then any other hot pepper I have tasted. It gets added to salami and cured in Calabria Italy, which is quite a classic of the area. Scott suggested I just roll the cured meat in it before stuffing it in to a casing and drying. With Scott’s knowledge of meat curing, I knew not to deviate from that plan.

A couple of months of hanging and the bad boy was ready. Sliced thin it is a total joy. Herby from the thyme and rosemary, with a really subtle kick of heat. Next time I think I will rub much more of the hot pepper in to the meat before curing, a little more spice would be nice (it is almost non-existent).

Gluten free flatbread recipe


  1. weigh out the flours accurately
  2. use whole golden flaxseeds and grind as needed. Pre-ground flaxseed can go rancid quickly.
  3. the amount of water required will vary depending on the flours. Use feel more as a guide than water amount (more on that in the recipe)
  4. use as little flour as possible to roll out the dough. This will keep it light and soft, rather than sandy and floury (in a bad way)
  5. yes, I know some oat flour can have gluten in it from cross-contamination. You can find 100% GF oat flour. You can also grind your own GF oats to a flour.
  6. Bob’s Redmill in the USA does certified GF Oat Flour. You can also use garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour if you want. I know some people hate that flour, but personally I like it – but then I really like chickpeas. I did some Indian flatbreads with it a few months ago, and threw in some nigella seeds, and they were awesome. It will absorb water differently, so go by the feel of the dough .

3.3oz oat flour

3.3oz brown rice flour

3.3oz white rice flour

1tsp sea salt

3/4 packet of active dry yeast

1 tablespoon golden flaxseed, finely ground

6fl oz warm water (about 120F)

whisk together the flours, salt, yeast and flaxseed until very well combined, and the oat flour is broken up (it can clump). Add about 5fl oz of water to the flour mixture and mix well with a large spoon. Chances are the dough will be dry and sandy still, and not holding together well. Try squishing it together with your hands, get a feel for how dry it is. Add a splash more water, and use your hands to really work this in to the dough. Squish the dough in your hands, knead it between your hands. Keep adding water a splash at a time until the dough is soft and pliable. Working it in your hands it should stick to your your hands a bit, but not leave huge pieces of dough on your palms. If you add too much water then you will have to add some flour when it comes to rolling out, and this will make the flatbreads sandy in texture.

Put the dough in a bowl and cover it with a damp towel. Put it in a warm place for a couple of hours to rise. I often set the bowl on a rack over a pan of pretty hot water. That does the trick. A warm countertop would be fine too. (warm and Seattle are freakishly rare..) After a couple of hours cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge until needed. The dough will roll out much better if it is a bit cool.

Rolling – dust a board with a little brown rice flour. Take the dough out of the fridge, and let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before continuing. Take the dough out of the bowl, and work it between your hands a bit – you should feel it loosen up. Pinch a golf ball sized piece off the dough. Flatten it out a bit on the floured board with your hand. Dust a rolling pin with some flour, and gently roll out the dough. Do one roll, in one direction, then spin the dough through 90degrees. Roll again. turn again, roll again, turn again, roll again. Roll gently. If the right amount of water was added to the dough when making it the dough shouldn’t stick at all, but should be smooth and easy to work.

Heat up your BBQ to a very high heat. I really find that hardwood lump charcoal works best here over gas or other charcoal. Set up a dual heat zone – one side hot, one not so much. Using a pizza slice gently slip one of the rolled out pieces of dough over the hot coals. Shut the lid of the BBQ. Wait for a minute or so, then open the lid and check the puppy out. It should be puffing up nicely. Check the bottom to make sure it isn’t too burnt. Close the lid again and cook for a bit longer if needed, until just cooked through and the bottom a little charred in places. Move the flatbread over to the cooler side of the grill, and start grilling more of the flatbreads. Cook as many as possible in one go.

Drizzle a little really good olive oil over the flatbread. Top with some mizuna or arugula. Put some cured meat (lonzino, fennel salami, prosciutto) between the leaves. Eat immediately with a light glass of red.

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  • No oat girl June 21, 2011 at 4:21 am

    Noooo! I was so exited about this recipe and read along saluting at thr anticipation of tasty flatbread. But in Australia, with a coeliac diagnosis oats are a no-go for me. Is there a suitable substitute? Would ground quinoa flakes work as a substitute for the oat flour? Please, help me!

    • mattwright June 21, 2011 at 5:38 am

      No Oat Girl – You can use Garbanzo (chickpea) flour just fine. I had done a couple of batches with it when doing some Indian flatbreads a while ago. The bean taste is slight (since it is only 1/3rd the flour). It does absorb water differently, so you might need a different amount of water – again do it totally by feel – the dough should only just stick to your hands when you squish it around. Here in the USA Bob’s Redmill does a GF Oat Flour. I have no idea if that is available in Oz. though.

  • Mel G June 21, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Can you recommend an alternative way of cooking if the BBQ isn’t an option? I see that earlier in the post you mention 500 degree oven on a pizza stone. For how long would you bake the bread for the best results?

    Thanks! Can’t wait to try this!

    • mattwright June 21, 2011 at 5:35 am

      Mel – a pizza stone in a really hot oven would work fine – we have been doing that when the weather is bad. REALLY hot charcoal does make the dough puff up really well, which I never got in my oven (yours might be different). I would say 5 minutes in there would do it.

  • Laurie @Simply Scratch June 21, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Sounds so delicious! I love the pic with the hot coals!!

  • aneesa June 21, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Hi! THANK YOU! Yet another option to try out and this one doesn’t require scavenging the earth for strange ingredients 😀 thank you thank you!
    Gonna try it this weekend,hope my GF 6 year old takes to it…it breaks my heart that he misses bread so much and the GF options thus far in Cape town, South Africa are horrid
    Keep ur fingers crossed

  • Marla June 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I do not need to eat gluten free but often choose to. Awesome that you have come up with this perfect dough – I must try. There is no way I am using those gums in my cooking & baking. Thx 🙂

  • Kathryn June 21, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    So glad Gluten Free Girl linked this post on FB! This is gold! I love the idea of being able to grill pizza now and my own gf dough is far to soft to attempt. Can’t wait to attempt this recipe over the weekend. Love the idea of using garbanzo flour for Indian meals, too.

  • Lauren June 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    The pizza sounds good. I love the open fire idea! Though you had me at “Often when I am working from home and need a snack, I will pop down in to the garage and slice myself some lonzino.” I must ask, do you and your wife adopt adults?

  • Winnie June 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    This looks seriously amazing. Definitely going to give it a try very soon 😉

  • emm June 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    These look and sound amazing! Also just a note to “No oat girl” certified gf oats can be brought online in Australia from a company that imports from the U.S 🙂

  • Brooke June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    This looks awesome, Matt!

  • Marc June 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    As someone who has tried this delicious flatbread, let me encourage you all to give it a go. It rocks…especially after matt has seasoned it with his meat.

  • Jenn June 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Definitely will have to try this flatbread!!!

  • mattwright June 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks everyone for the comments! Except Marc… 🙂 (everyone should go check out his blog, it is awesome).

  • Tina June 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    How good is this after cooling? I would love to make some to take to the market (Portland Saturday Market) to have with hummus or taziki as a healthy snack when I vend…

  • Elaine June 22, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Thanks so much for this Matt. We are so excited to try it out. With all of Isaac’s food allergies it’s great to have a recipe like this!

  • Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box June 22, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Great recipe! I’ll pass this along to those who cannot eat xanthan gum (corn). This is definitely lower in carbs without all the starches! Thanks for sharing! Your year of experimenting will definitely go to good use!

  • Anne June 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Sounds awesome! Can this be done yeast-free??

    • mattwright June 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Anne – I know of some Indian flatbreads that are un-leavened (roti in particular). I have never tried it with this particular dough however. When I have made roti in the past, I roll out the dough thin, heat up a 8″ cast iron skillet on the stove until really hot, then drop the bread in. I put a lid over the pan and cook it that way.

  • Susan June 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Loved this post! I have been grilling my pizza dough for years ( Thanks to Mario Batalli) but I will surely try this recipe. Also, the photography is GREAT! And not to be left out: the cured meat looks great!

  • Jessica June 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    This looks wonderful! I recently switched over to Himalayan pink salt from Sustainable Sourcing since it is gluten-free and made in their own eco-friendly facility so there is no cross contamination. I’ll have to use it in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  • Eliza June 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I am very excited about this recipe, and will be trying it out very soon.
    I am opening a pizza restaurant soon, and wanted to offer a gluten free option, so I will be testing this out!

  • CJ June 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Just found this recipe and will scampering off excitedly to try it in a minute. Reading the comments about oven baking, I thought I’d share a tip that I’m going to try.

    It was mentioned it doesn’t puff up and get the bubbles the same way in an oven. I have gotten this effect with other breads thusly:

    Heat the stone AND below it an empty pan (I use the broiler pan thing that came with my oven, or a metal cake pan would work) in the very hot oven. I heat ’em about 20 minutes. After you slide your dough onto the stone, pour a cup of hot water into the pan beneath and quickly shut the door. Worth a try!

  • Vicky June 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I’m trying this lovely recipe tonight and will see how it works in a hot oven!

  • Vicky June 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Tried it but the dough didn’t rise much at all, did you use quick yeast? Also I think because of that they didn’t puff up and ended up like yeasty hard flat rocks! BTW I also tried them in the oven turned up to the highest heat on the racks.

  • tjewell June 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Mine didn’t rise (I think the rise-time wasn’t warm enough), but I baked them an extra 5 minutes and they make good crackers to go with hummus., which is what I wanted flatbread for anyway. I mixed nigella seeds into a few while rolling them out and those are good just plain.

  • Y June 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Fantastic looking flat bread! I use those flours pretty regularly already, so it’s great to come across a gluten free recipe that doesn’t require YET another different flour to be purchased.

  • Jeanne June 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    just finished making & eating these – Thank You! We cooked them on the gas grill (and still got some nice bubbles) & switched out some of the toppings. Just fantastic. I’m already thinking about what toppings to use next time.

    One clue for those trying this out. If the dough cracks along the edges when you roll it out, you can probably add a touch more water. I cooked one that was a little cracked when rolled out & it came out fine but then I added a bit more water and just squished the dough with my hands. It rolled out nicely and the crust bubbled up when cooked. It does not take 5 minutes to cook these on a hot grill.

    I need to go finish my glass of wine. Thanks again – this really made my day!

  • alex June 27, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Matt, fantastic photo with the coals. Also very good focus on the meat in the meat cutter. But i think the photos with the actual pizza are a bit (too much) overexposed. Remember, only friends point out mistakes with honesty, so consider me a friend.

  • Sandra @ Old Time Recipes June 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I guess you could use this pizza dough to make foccacia, too.

  • vicki June 30, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!! /If you were closer I would kiss ya!!! We just finished making the flatbread and we are almost jumping up and down with all the things we can do with it!! Pizza,sandwiches,spread with cream cheese and smoked salmon,topped with fajita goodies(having that in a few minutes!LOL) and the list goes on~~ the best tasting..most like “bread” we have ever tasted!!!!

  • June July 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I did some substitutions and it worked out great. Thanks for the recipe. I subbed in chickpea flour for the oat, my gf mix for the brown rice, and glutinous (sweet) rice flour. Because of the chickpea flour, I used all the water called for and you may need more depending on the humidity. I soaked the ground flax and the granular yeast in the warm water to activate. The way I bake it is like I used to with my old naan recipe. Put the pizza stone in the middle of the oven and heat to 500F for 1/2 hour. Turn on the broiler to high and put the rolled out rounds on the stone. Bake under the broiler for about 3 minutes. You get the bubbly effect you talk about from the BBQ. It worked great! We took them out of the oven, brushed them with olive oil and topped them with spicy pizza sauce and our favourite cheese mix. They went back in the oven to broil again. They were stunning topped or plain. One warning though, the raw dough smells really awful but baked, it tastes awesome. 🙂

  • vanillasugarblog July 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    you have your own Hobart slicer? mad jealous right now.
    and yeah, grilling flatbreads w/ olive oil is the only way to go.

  • laura July 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Love the shot of the coals coming out of the chimney!! Great photos.

  • Emily July 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    What is the measurement of yeast, in weight? X

  • Emily July 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    How much yeast in weight?

    • mattwright August 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      Emily – 6g

  • London Cleaning August 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

    fresh+delicious= absolutely amazing!
    I think I should add some vinegrete to it.

  • the good soup August 5, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Fabulous recipe. I often avoid gluten free recipes because of all the strange gums, even though I know my tummy would be much happen with less gluten in my diet. Your experiments provides me with just the sort of flatbread I’m looking for. Thank you!

  • commiskaze August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Wow excellent, im sure the charcuterie and mizuna pair very nicely with eachother. Now I have something to make all my pesky gluten free friends. Thanks.

  • Laura August 12, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Matt, I had to go gluten free too and I miss eating pizza, I am Italian after all! I can’t wait to try your recipe. The photograph of the coal is amazing.