International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Lavash

Lavash (Southwest Asian thin flatbread)

(Southwest Asian thin flatbread)

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Average: 4.3 (7 votes)

Authentic lavash isn't the soft, doughy version used for wraps that is found in most American markets. While freshly baked lavash has a soft, flexible texture, it quickly becomes crisp and crunchy. Fittingly, this thin flatbread is sometimes called "crackerbread."

Lavash — also spelled lahvash, lawaash, lavosh, lawasha — is one of the most common breads in southwest Asia and the Middle East and is baked by slapping dough on the blisteringly hot sides of a tandoor oven.

Makes 4 pieces

Ingredients

  • Active dry yeast -- 1 (1/4-ounce) package
  • Warm (110°F) water -- 1/4 cup
  • Flour -- 4 cups
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • Water -- 1 1/2 cups

Method

  1. In a small bowl, stir the yeast into the 1/4 cup warm water and set aside for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast mixture and the 1 1/2 cups of water. Mix together with a wooden spoon until it all comes together. Add more water or flour as needed to form a smooth dough, not too sticky but not too dry.
  3. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Form the dough into a ball. Wipe a large bowl with a little olive oil, place the dough in the bowl and flip the dough over to cover it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in size, from 1 to 3 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Punch the dough down with your fists and knead lightly for 2 or 3 minutes. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and form each piece into a ball. Cover the balls lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled again in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Press down on a ball of dough to deflate it. Roll the ball out into a large rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Place the rolled out dough on a baking sheet and prick it all over with the tines of a fork.
  7. Brush the top of the dough with water and set it in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden-brown on top. Remove from the oven and repeat with the remaining dough.

Lavash Variations

  • Substitute 1 or 2 cups of whole-wheat flour for 1 or 2 cups of the white flour if you like.
  • Toasted sesame seeds or poppy seeds are common toppings for lavash bread. After brushing the dough with water, sprinkle it with sesame or poppy seeds.
  • Use leftover lavash in fattoush or for musakhan.

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