Among the basic ingredients in baked goods, leavening refers to any agent that helps make these products rise. Leavening can include yeast and sourdough starter, as well as baking soda and baking powder. While technically, most foods would be considered unleavened, such as meats and vegetables, most people associate the word with bread products.
Matzo may be the most well-known unleavened bread. It’s often consumed during Passover, which is a sacred Jewish holiday that commemorates the Israelites’ release from Egyptian slavery and their subsequent exodus. According to a 2009 article published in Time, the Israelites left Egypt so fast that they didn’t have enough time for their bread to rise and had to make a breadlike product by mixing water and flour, which when baked created a flat, hard and dry bread known as matzo. To add some flavor to your matzo, top it with peanut butter and jelly or goat cheese. It also adds texture to a bowl of soup and makes a tasty pizza.
If you’re avoiding leavened foods for religious purposes, read the ingredient list on the food label to make sure it does not contain a leavening agent.
Chapati is a soft Indian flatbread that is also made simply like matzo with only flour and water, and it is also an example of an unleavened food. The difference between chapati and matzo is that the Indian flatbread is cooked on a griddle. While the bread can be eaten plain, you can spread some of your favorite chutney or bean spread, such as hummus, on your chapati, roll it into a tube, and eat it like a sandwich.
Tortillas are a Mexican unleavened food. They are made with either corn or wheat flour and are soft and savory like chapati. While tortillas are commonly made with only flour and water, some versions may also contain milk and lard. You can stuff tortillas with meat, chicken or beans. They also make a good lunch bread rolled with turkey and lettuce.
According to the United Church of God, you can also make your own unleavened baked goods. Examples include cream puffs, angel food cake and popovers. These light and airy treats use eggs as the leavening agent.