New Lavash recipe, Armenian Flatbread

Lars

I've tried several lavash recipes in the past, but now I think I'm getting close to what I really want. Here's the recipe that I used:

1 cup warm water

1 tsp sugar (my addition – may cause scorching of bread)

1 tsp instant dry yeast (IDY)

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten (VWG) - optional

2 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour)

3/4 to 1-1/2 tsp salt (depending on how salty your like your bread)

Dissolve sugar in warm water in mixer bowl – whisk in yeast by hand. Add whole wheat flour and VWG (if using) and whisk to combine. Mix salt with bread flour and add mixture on top, and mix in stand mixer with dough hook until completely combined, scraping down sides, as needed. This can also be mixed by hand. Remove dough from mixer bowl and knead into a smooth ball. Replace dough into mixer bowl without greasing and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled.

Divide dough into twelve equal parts, form into balls, cover dough balls with damp towel, and allow to rest for 25 minutes, covered with damp towel.

Roll balls, one at a time, into thin ovals or circles and stretch into very thin sheets.

Cook on a very hot griddle or grill pan, one minute each side - one minute 20 seconds max. (She used a grill pan with very shallow, rounded ridges.) Remove using tongs, and spray generously with water on both sides while holding it up with tongs. Lay cooked bread on a wire rack and cover with a damp towel.

Repeat process with all the balls of dough, layering them on top of each other on the wire rack, spraying generously with water. Rearrange stack frequently to keep the bread from sticking.

Store cooled bread in a plastic bag. It will soften over night. If you reheat it in a skillet, it will puff back up again. Very good for quesadillas or wraps, or to eat with hummus.

I got this from watching this video. I won't try to post a video in my original post.

Here are some photos of the process:

Dough rolled out on my counter

First bubbles.


Getting puffy

Extremely puffed.

I don't know why mine puffed up so much - they seemed almost like pita bread.

What I did notice is that it is very important to spray them with water after cooking them. They were actually better the next day, after they had had time to relax and become more pliable.

Here's another recipe that is similar but does not use yeast. I wonder if I need the yeast at all. I did roll the dough out very thinly and stretched it as well. The first recipe used a bit too much salt, I think, as the second recipe uses 1/3 as much salt.

Do I need to keep the yeast?

I'll post more photos once this gets on line.

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Lars

More photos of the process:

Second turn of this lavash

Third turn - almost done.

Stack of 12 lavash.
I think I like these better for making quesadillas than I do tortillas. However, when I reheat them, they puff up again. At first I thought these were too labor-intensive, but then I decided that I liked them enough that I would make them again.

Should I omit yeast next time?

How much salt would you use?

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Lars

Another question I have is - should I leave out the sugar? Does it make the bread more likely to scorch?

Because the bread puffed up so much, it became almost like a ball with only the middle surface touching the griddle. I'm not sure if I can do anything to change that.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

That looks almost exactly like the tortillas/chapatis I make, and they have no yeast, just baking powder. IMPE, you want them to puff up, or they're too dense. Re: over browning - it looks like maybe your griddle might be a little too hot - or - you cooked them a little too long?

I also find that flour can build up on the cooking surface and scorch, contributing to charring on the bread, so I scrape the skillet with a sharp spatula occasionally while cooking.

I use approx. 1/2 tsp. salt per cup of flour, IIRC.

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Lars

Thanks, Carol. That's the amount of salt in the recipe that I made, and while I like it, I think it would be okay to use a bit less. I plan to use 1 tsp for 3 cups of flour next time.

I did scrape the griddle with a metal spatula between adding the breads, and I did notice some little black bits. I don't think the griddle was too hot - I think I probably cooked them a bit too long. I should reduce the cooking time from 1:20 to just one minute per side and see how that works. I did keep a timer on the side, just to be safe, as it is easy to over cook them.

The tortilla recipe that I use has baking powder instead of yeast, but it also has a lot of fat in it, and I would like to avoid that, as I like this better.

I think I removed most of the excess flour (and there was very little) when I stretched the dough after rolling it out.

Here's a chapati recipe that says to cook 30 seconds on a side, and so I do think I overcooked them😞. I did not oil the griddle, as specified in this recipe, and I do not think it is necessary, since nothing sticks anyway. Interesting comments on this chapati recipe, but it did not call for spraying the breads with water right after cooking, and I found this to be an essential step - at least for lavash - to make them pliable instead of crisp and crackerlike. Notice that this chapati recipe does not have yeast or baking powder, and so I might try leaving this out next time. The yeast may have made the lavash puff up too much, but it was still very good.

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colleenoz

I used to make a kind of flatbread that was self raising flour and plain yoghurt, nothing else. You started it on the hot griddle then slipped it off under the broiler to finish it off. I haven’t had a broil for decades now, so it‘s been a long time since I made it.

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dallasannie

Flatbreads from many different cultures are all very basically much the same. Lavash has the same common origins as the Ikes of what we call pita, or call naan, or even tortillas.

They are all a dough made from grain, usually wheat, and baked on the side of a hot piece of clay or rock or metal. Some are leavened and some are not, but they will all rise and puff. You can take almost any bread dough and bake it like that with the same results. I have never done a bread that is unleavened, but, apparently they will puff up also. I think that the old world lavash is unleavened, but don't quote me on that.

One exception might be a dough that is rich in sugar and eggs. That is a dough that might best be baked in a loaf, although you probably could bake it as a flatbread.

I sometimes get on You tube and watch these people doing old world cooking and baking and there is no shortage of videos of women working together to bake the lavash, the naan or the pitas or the injera bread as they sit around a huge hot clay pot or move the breads in and out of stone ovens.

Just last week I baked half of my buttermilk dough like that. One half I put into a loaf pan and the other half made the most beautiful flat bread. We had the last one last night after I threw it into a hot iron skillet that had a residual skim of melted butter from another use. I forgot about it sitting there and let it get a bit more browned than I had originally intended but, darn, was that ever good. I topped it with a mix of farm fresh roasted red sweet peppers, olive oil, a bit of good vinegar and some feta cheese, dressed with plenty of black pepper. It was part of a "clean out the fridge and see what you can compose". type of dinner and was one of three such compositions. One other used one leftover breaded eggplant cutlet and the third a left over browned piece of potato.

What distinguishes one culture's bread from the bread of another culture is not so much determined by what the dough is made from as much as it is the context of who bakes it, how it is mixed and handled, what is used to bake it on, how it is sold and how it is used. Those nuances of culture around bread are what makes an Armenian bread of a different nature from something from Morocco, for instance, or India, or even northern Europe, or America. . With the exception of something like injera bread which I think is made from buckwheat and some Indian breads that use chickpea flour, most breads are basically the same thing until the culture dictates the other factors of who, how and for what purpose it is used.

In some cultures the flatbread is allowed to get dry and hard and is used in cooking where it is reconstituted in the cooking or the use.

They can be broken into a plate of food, or topped and stuffed with roasted meats and vegetables, or stuffed like noodles and laid into a shallow pan of soup or stew. They can even be torn into shreds and put into a broth and cooked a bit like you would a noodle.

A good flatbread can be so versatile! And, they keep as a dried bread until you are ready to use them. They make a great platform for just about anything.

Below is one of the many good videos of old world bread baking and you can find vids much like this from many of the old world cultures. I love to cruise the search engine of the browser for these wonderful views of life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atUqWxLQyZQ

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dallasannie

colleen, you can do the same thing in a good iron skillet or maybe a good griddle if it can get hot enough. I would not use a teflon skillet or griddle for this because it needs high heat and that is not good for those non stick surfaces.

If you watch that video that I linked you will see that the lavash puffs up immediately on the side of that hot clay. That has to be really hot and it only takes a very few seconds for it to bake. They don't do the other side of the bread so only one side of that bread has met the hot surface and is browned.

You don't need a broiler or even an oven to make flat bread. If you enjoyed that bread you might think about doing it a different way. I guarantee you that it would be a fine way to do it.

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colleenoz

Yes, dallasannie, after seeing this thread it got me thinking I should try something like that. We did enjoy it when I used to make it so it would be worth giving it a go.

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Lars

Injera bread is made with teff flour, which I have (in the freezer), but I have never been satisfied with the results that I have gotten and therefore buy it from an Ethiopian restaurant/deli that is about a mile from my house.

I also have buckwheat flour (which I bought for making soba noodles), but I decided that I like dried sofa noodles better than fresh, and so that flour is still in the freezer.

I'm getting my new pizza oven on Monday in Cathedral City, and so I might try baking lavash in that. I do think that it is more efficient to have two people making this, as in Dallas Annie's video, as it takes about the same amount of time to roll out the dough as to bake it, and so one person can be rolling the dough while someone else is doing the cooking. I'll try to get my brother to help with this.

The large lavash that I buy in Los Angeles looks like it was probably baked on one side only, and it is usually quite large. Obviously I do not have a cooking device for making huge lavash, but that is how I generally buy it - in one very large sheet. The Syrian/Lebanese market near us has a good selection of lavash, but it comes from an Armenian bakery in Glendale. I have not been going to that market since the pandemic, and there are a lot of things I want to buy there that I am out of now. They have the best prices on olive oil, beans (especially garbanzos) and tahini. So for now, I'm just paying more.

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dallasannie

I think that you are another who I could happily sit down to dinner with! I have been delighted to find such food savvy folks here! Sometimes it seems that all of America eats nothing but processed junk.


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dallasannie

lars, you are right that injera is made from teff, not buckwheat.

I don't much care for injera and don't much care to eat with it. Every bite that you take is scooped up with a piece of that bread. I find that it gets tiresome and you get satiated with the bread. But, I guess that is part of the plan to get filled on the grain with the vegetable or protein in smaller amounts.

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Lars

I don't eat much injera bread either - pretty much only when I go to an Ethiopian restaurant, but there are a lot of those in L.A. and in neighboring Inglewood. I like the flavor of it, but I do think that the texture is a bit odd.

I've decided that next time I make lavash, I will only make half a recipe, or six lavash breads. I think I will try it without yeast (or baking powder) for the reduced recipe. The lavash does not keep well, especially if it has been misted with water, and so if I want to keep it for more than a couple of days, I would have to refrigerate it, which is not ideal. Still, if I spray it with water before reheating it, I think it is okay from the fridge. I think I would rather store the dough in the fridge and then just cook it as I need it.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I agree about the Ethiopian way of surrounding every bite of food with bread. I still remember eating at an Ethiopian restaurant in L.A. and how afterwards I felt like I was going to pop!

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