Lavash is a large flatbread popular in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, where it’s commonly used to wrap food like kebabs. The etymology of the word is unclear, and various scholars alternately mention an Armenian, Turkic or Persian origin.
The picture above shows the lavash stacks at the market in Yerevan. These breads are quite large, but you don’t need to invest in a Guiness-Book-worthy griddle to make excellent lavash. The authors of Flatbreads & Flavors, a rather original book from which my recipe below is adapted, recommend using a wok turned upside down. This method produces delicious flatbreads of about 12″ in diameter. If you really want a paper-thin result, you can use a pasta machine instead of a rolling pin — the lavash won’t be any less good if it’s rectangular rather than oval!
Yields 4 flatbreads
6 oz water, lukewarm
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
10 oz flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
- In a cup, mix the water with the honey and yeast, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment, add about 3/4 of the flour, and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add the rest of the flour and the salt, switch to the dough hook attachment, and knead for 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, for about 3 hours.
- Punch down the dough and let rest for another 10 minutes.
- Divide into 4 equal pieces, and roll into 10″ x 12″ ovals using a rolling pin (or into thinner rectangles using a pasta machine). Don’t forget to flour your work surface generously as you go, giving quarter turns to your dough between each roll.
- Turn a wok upside down on a gas burner, and heat on the highest setting for a few minutes. Rub the wok with a paper towel soaked with olive oil, and place a lavash on the wok. Flip several times, every 30 to 45 seconds, until nice brown blisters start to form.
- Remove from heat and eat immediately — nothing beats freshly baked bread. If you have to wait, cover with a towel, and spray with a bit of water before reheating.