Unleavened bread
TypeBread (usually flat bread)
VariationsMatzo, roti, tortilla, and many others

Unleavened bread is any of a wide variety of breads which are prepared without using rising agents such as yeast or sodium bicarbonate. The preparation of bread-like non-leavened cooked grain foods appeared in prehistoric times.

Unleavened breads are generally flat breads. Unleavened breads, such as the tortilla and roti, are staple foods in Central America and South Asia, respectively. Unleavened sacramental bread plays a major part in Christian liturgy and Eucharistic theology.

Religious significance

Main article: Matzah

Host and communion wafers made of azymes for celebrating the Eucharist in the Latin Church of the Catholic Church and other Western Christians (Eastern Christians such as the Eastern Orthodox use leavened bread)

Unleavened breads have symbolic importance in Judaism and Christianity. Jews and Christians consume unleavened breads such as matzo during Passover and Eucharist, respectively, as commanded in Exodus 12:18. Per the Torah Old Testament, they were instructed, "Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land."

Canon Law of the Latin Church within the Catholic Church mandates the use of unleavened bread for the Host, and unleavened wafers for the communion of the faithful. Some Protestant churches tend to follow the Latin Catholic practice, whereas others use either unleavened bread or wafers or ordinary (leavened) bread, depending on the traditions of their particular denomination or local usage.[citation needed]

On the other hand, most Eastern Churches explicitly forbid the use of unleavened bread (Greek: azymos artos) for the Eucharist. Eastern Christians associate unleavened bread with the Old Testament and allow only for bread with yeast, as a symbol of the New Covenant in Christ's blood. Indeed, this usage figures as one of the three points of contention that traditionally accounted as causes (along with the issues of Petrine supremacy and the filioque in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) of the Great Schism of 1054 between Eastern and Western churches.[1]

New World breads

In North America, Hopi people prepared Piki bread from maize.[2]

Unleavened bread and zinc deficiency

Unleavened bread is acknowledged as being associated with zinc deficiency, a cause of various physical and psychological problems in humans, notably anxiety and aggression. [3]

Varieties of unleavened bread

See also


  1. ^ Ware, Timothy (1964), The Orthodox Church, London: Penguin Books, p. 66, ISBN 0-14-020592-6
  2. ^ Linda Murray Berzok (2005). American Indian Food. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-32989-0. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  3. ^ Sandstead, H. H. & Freeland-Graves, J. H. (2014) Dietary phytate, zinc and hidden zinc deficiency. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology Vol. 28, Issue 4, October 2014, pp 414-417. Amsterdam: Elsevier. [1]