But these varieties are enjoying a resurgence, with many people finding they don't have the stomach for bread made with modern wheat, and their lower gluten content lends them perfectly to soft, floury flatbreads.
Barley and Rye's low gluten require the addition of white wheat flour (per the recipe below) but spelt and other ancient wheat varieties will produce good results without it so you could use all spelt, for example, in the recipe below.
Wheat and Barley Flatbreads
300g strong white flour
100g plain white flour
100g barley, rye or wholemeal spelt flour (or any other ancient wheat such as einkorn or emmer)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
325g warm water
10g fresh yeast
Measure the dry ingredients together and give them a mix with one hand.
Add the yeast to the water and mix until there are no lumps. Add the oil and the water/yeast to the dry ingredients and mix together until you dough resembles a shaggy mass. Leave in the bowl, covered with a tea-towel for ten minutes.
Wipe your worktop with a little water and give the dough a short, ten-second knead, then return it to the bowl. Repeat twice.
After the third knead, put the dough back in a bowl, cover and leave it for half an hour to rise. It should be puffy but it won’t have doubled in size in this time. If you forget about it, it won’t do any harm to leave it for up to an hour or so.
Pre-heat your oven and a baking stone or metal tray to its hottest setting.
Lightly flour your worktop, divide the dough into roughly 100g pieces and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Roll the dough pieces out into rounds about 5mm thick. When you’ve finished rolling them all out, the first ones will have had another chance to rest for a couple of minutes, so these need to be baked first.
The resting will relax the gluten and give you a much softer, less chewy flatbread.
Dust a flat baking tray or a peel with semolina and place one flatbread onto it, then slide it onto the baking sheet or stone. Or quickly whip out the hot tray, (don’t do this if you’re using a stone, they’re way too heavy) and put the dough straight onto it and whip it back in.
Whichever way you do it, speed is of the essence as it’s the high oven temperature that will make your flatbreads bake properly, so don’t hang about.
Bake for just 3-5 minutes – they should only be slightly brown. If you leave them too long they’ll become brittle.
Pick them off the stone or tray using an oven glove, put them on a wire cooling rack and cover with a tea-towel. This will keep them soft while you bake the next batch.
Leave to cool completely before eating.