Lavash bread, Turkish and Persian specialty flatbread, is cooked on the hob in ghee – so it comes off the pan already buttered.
Lavash is just another flatbread
And if you’re expecting me to say now that the above is a fallacy, because lavash is SO special, SO different, TOTALLY unique and THE flatbread of flatbreads – you’re wrong.
It is just another flatbread, but there are never too many good flatbread recipes to follow.
I first tasted lavash in a package DIY fine dining kit, whatever you call them: restaurant experience at home, full instructions for your feast, chef at home. Those who will now question the point of me ordering such kits when I arguably can cook all right myself, just shut up.
Even the best chef likes when someone else devises a meal for them – especially a chef, if truth be told.
It is not the same as going to restaurants. Going out to eat is a social event, even if the food is a seven-course tasting menu star of the show. It is more about a special occasion, company and entertainment than just food.
Even though I do get a lot of inspiration from my restaurant visits, at the time of the event it’s about wearing heels and having a good laugh.
Benefits of fine dining kits
Those kits are supposed to recreate a restaurant experience at home, but let’s be honest: it’s a different beast. No heels for one. Joking aside, it’s a great idea and I have been enjoying tremendously the offerings from Dishpatch, probably the best of its kind, all throughout the COVID pandemic. The same as going out though, it ain’t.
There are other elements to it valuable for me though. We tend to pick delivery of cuisines we don’t get to taste locally and I don’t cook much of at home, through lack of knowledge foremost; like Israeli meze, Peruvian pork or Turkish lamb.
Disposing of the packaging is a chore but the instructions are brilliant and we have every time had a lot of fun cooking and prepping the exciting, unaccustomed stuff.
But the special thing for me is the instruction card which includes all the ingredients of each dish! So it’s just like a jigsaw puzzle challenge: can I make a semblance of the dish using only a list of ingredients?
I have had moderate success, with date butter which is totally gorgeous in a breakfast bacon sandwich; with muhammara, the dip I predict to overtake hummus, and the hero of this post: lavash bread.
What is lavash?
Lavash is a flatbread, popular in Turkey and the countries to the east and south of it, from Armenia to Iran. It is not pita, nor is it very similar, being flat notwithstanding.
Pita bread is a pocket of bread and it is baked in the oven while lavash is a classic flatbread cooked on the sides of tandoor oven or in a contemporary, domestic milieu – on a flat griddle or frying pan.
It is cooked with ghee which gives it the wonderful bread-and-butter flavour and a lovely dappled golden colour.
How to make lavash dough?
I did have to consult more than the instruction card ingredients list: it is bread after all where precise quantities matter. But I don’t think I chose badly going for Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe.
There is extra richness to the dough, compared with pita, from adding full fat plain yoghurt to the mix.
The dough is quite firm but perfectly kneadable by hand, without help from kitchen machinery. There is no rising in bulk but only in portioned out and shaped balls. After that, it’s rolling out and frying.
Can the dough be stored?
The recipe below makes eight sizeable breads. If you’d like to store half the amount, it’s best to place shaped balls of dough in lightly oiled containers or even wrapped in foil or cling film.
They also freeze well, so whenever you want to make a couple of lavash, defrost them and /or bring to room temperature and roll with it.
Ghee or not?
You can use oil but I think the buttery flavour makes lavash a winner. If you don’t have ghee at home, don’t be daunted: it’s simply clarified butter.
Melt a quantity of butter in a saucepan and heat it until it stops spitting and fizzling. Let it stand for a minute or two, then strain through a muslin cloth, to get rid of the milk proteins that burn in high temperatures. It is now ready to be used in frying as it is pure fat.
How to refresh lavash?
Once off the pan, lavash should be wrapped in a tea towel to keep them warm.
But they reheat wonderfully in small stacks wrapped in foil, in a warm oven.
More flatbread recipes
Even though it technically isn’t a flatbread, homemade pita is easy and much, much better than shop bought.
Sicilian flatbread scaccia is usually folded with a filling of leftover vegetables or meats: frugality is the best chef.
French fougasse Emmental, common in the markets of Provence, is crispy and chewy and simply wonderful.