Growing Reader

Pan-Fried Flatbreads and The Little Red Hen — A Perfect Recipe and
Read-Aloud Pairing

by Carolyn Federman

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick

Kids will love making this simple, delicious flatbread recipe from my book, New Favorites for New Cooks: 50 Delicious Recipes for Kids to Make — they can knead it all they want, just like playdough! The longer they knead it, the silkier and smoother the dough becomes. And the result is a puffy, light bread slathered in a tasty buttery spread!

Pair your homemade pan-fried flatbreads with an old-school favorite: The Little Red Hen. In this classic tale, an industrious hen grows, harvests, and mills her own wheat to make bread. Between creating the yummy flatbreads and reading this sweet story, you’ll get the three foundations of food education: new cooking skills, an understanding of where our food comes from, and academic engagement (in this case, literacy). Your kids will be having so much fun creating, tasting, and reading they won’t even know they’re learning.

Cook the Pan-Fried Flatbreads with Spiced Butter with your children, then read The Little Red Hen together. Your little ones will love it and so will you!


Makes 10 flatbreads

Soft, airy flatbreads are fun to make and even better to eat. There’s a reason so many countries enjoy flatbreads every day — they cook much faster than loaf breads, so they can be whipped up last minute to go along with any meal, and they are made for wrapping, scooping, and sopping up the best, last bits on the plate. With homemade spice butter, they make a great snack all on their own.

Kitchen tools you will need: Measuring cups, measuring spoons, two bowls, small spoon, medium bowl, whisk, wooden spoon, clean kitchen towel, baking sheet, parchment paper, rolling pin, griddle or heavy skillet, spatula, and large plate.


For the Spiced Butter:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika or chile powder

For the Flatbread

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Make the spiced butter:

  • Cut the butter into small cubes and set them in a bowl on the counter to soften.
  • In a second bowl, combine the salt, turmeric, cumin, and paprika and mix until they are blended. Mix the spices into the softened butter with a small spoon.

Make the flatbread:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the water, yogurt, and olive oil. Mix in the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon, then, with clean hands, bring the dough together and form it into a ball.
  • Dust 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour over a cutting board. Put the dough on the cutting board and knead it for 2 minutes. (Work your bread muscles! Press firmly with the heel of your hand into the dough, pushing it away from you.) If the dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust your hands with flour. When the dough is smooth, put it back in the bowl, cover it with a damp clean kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Break off a golf ball-size piece of the dough and roll it into a ball. On a clean cutting board, use a rolling pin to flatten the ball to about a 1/8-inch thickness — about as thick as a quarter. Rotate the bread a half turn after each roll to keep the shape round. If the dough sticks, dust the rolling pin with a pinch of flour. Repeat with the rest of the dough. As the breads are rolled out, set them onto the prepared baking sheet, side by side.
  • Heat an ungreased griddle to 350°F (or a heavy skillet to high). Drop a bead of water in the pan; if the water sizzles and evaporates (disappears), the pan is ready.
  • Using a spatula, add the breads two or three at a time and cook until a few brown spots appear and small bubbles of air form in the dough, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate and, once all the breads are fried, turn off the stove.
  • Serve the flatbreads warm, with a generous smear of spiced butter and an extra sprinkle of salt.

Note: For gluten-free kids, look for a gluten-free flour mix at your local grocery store.