Monday, May 19, 2008

reruns no. 1 — lavosh

as everyone knows should know, there is no one definitive recipe — or more accurately put, set of measures of ingredients — for any given prepared food. rather it's more a set of ratios and/or standards, which when combined and executed, give a culturally accepted flavour or texture or shape to whatever we are making. a case in point would be for something like bagels which are a staple bread here in north america (usa & canada). depending upon where you live, one community's bagels are very different from another one's. each community thinks its version is the right one.

much of it comes down to what you grow up with in your community and personal tastes. what one person may find delicious and inviting, the next person may find disgusting and unpalatable. such is the reality of cooking and baking.

over the next while, time permitting, i will post some "reruns" of previous recipes. it has nothing to do with previous versions not being "good" but rather variations on the same theme.

the first rerun is for the "crackerbread" called lavosh which is a staple of turkey and armenia. if you want to (re)read, or missed the previous post about it then look here. that version is made with wholewheat flour and is texturally different from the following one. it also contains information about the history of the bread and how it is/was made traditionally.

this {modified} recipe is from a cookbook by victoria jenanyan wise called simply, the armenian table. it results in a soft(er) version made from all purpose flour. it makes for great sandwiches or using as you would pita bread. i have been using it for several years now. i've changed the proportion of water a bit and the shaping is how i (learned to) do it .....

UPDATE: to use the lavosh bread here for sandwiches, follow these directions.


makes 6 large lavosh breads


4 tbsp margarine or shortening (or olive oil)

2 tsp rapid rise yeast (or 2 1/2 t active dry)
1 1/4 c warm water
2 tsp sugar

3 1/2 c AP flour
2 1/2 tsp salt

sesame seeds

large baking sheet
parchment paper


measure 4 tbsp margarine or shortening or (olive) oil. don't use butter as the milk solids in the butter will cause the lavash to brown too quickly.

if using margarine, melt it first and set aside.

prove yeast: add 1 1/4 c warm water with 2 tsp rapid rise (or 2 1/2 tsp active dry) and 2 tsp sugar.

let sit at least 15 minutes to fully 'bloom'.

add the melted margarine or oil to the yeast mixture and mix well. make sure the margarine or shortening is not hot when you add it or you risk killing or at the very least damaging the efficacy of the yeast.

mix the salt and flour together.

add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients.

with a wooden spoon mix the wet with the dry.

mix until you get a shaggy mixture.

bring it together in a round of dough.

place a bowl over the dough and let it sit for 15 minutes.

knead the dough for a good 5 minutes. the texture of the dough should be firm but kneadable.

place the dough in a greased bowl and let rise for about 2 to to 2 1/2 hours.

preheat your oven to 400 F 1/2 hour before you bake.

remove the dough and flatten it. don't knead it.

shape the dough into a square.

cut the dough evenly in half.

cut each half evenly into 3 squares.

form balls and cover the dough and let rest (covered) 15 minutes.

take each round and make a disk with it by using your hands or a rolling pin. this is to make the rolling easier. place them back in a bowl or on a plate and cover.

you can make round shapes or rectangular ones for lavash.

for the round shape:

place a flattened dough round on an unfloured surface and roll it out by turning and flipping it over from side to side. the dough should not be sticky; if it is, then use a bit of flour.

this will take a bit of practice if you aren't skilled but it is very easy.

keep rolling until it is very thin and about 12 to 14 inches across.

take your hand and wet it under the tap and then place it on the dough round. spread it all around the dough until it is thoroughly moistened and the surface looks whitish. this takes about 5 to 10 seconds only.

sprinkle sesame seeds over the surface evenly.

take your rolling pin and roll the seeds into the surface of the dough. this is to prevent them from popping off.

transfer the round to a parchment paper or greased paper by taking by edges and lifting. remember, the dough will stick to an ungreased surface and make removal difficult so grease your pan in not using parchment.

for the rectangular shape:

take the dough round and roll it lengthwise.

you will probably have to roll it sideways also to stretch it further.

once it is the length of, say, a small forearm, take each corner with your finger and shape a square corner. do this to all four corners.

wet dough as described above and sprinkle with seeds, rolling them into the dough.

to bake both:

bake them one by one only. they are fairly large and should be baked in the middle of the oven; baking on double racks may cook the lower one too quickly. as one is baking, you have enough time to roll out the next one.

it takes only about 8 minutes to bake them. they will remain whitish and will be golden in spots. don't let them overbake or they will become too brittle. the breads will bubble in certain areas as they bake.

let the lavash cool.


they will be somewhat soft and somewhat crisp. tear pieces and use as you would pita. if you are using them right away, you can place them in a plastic bag after you take them out of the oven to soften them up further. if you've never had lavosh before, don't expect pita breads from these; they are much thinner and the texture is different.

if you store them, they will dry out further, however this is fine.

to use your lavosh: (see here also)

they are typically & traditionally brought back to life (usually to make breads for sandwiches) by doing the following:

either wet the whole lavash under the tap and then place wrapped in a damp clean teatowel or spray it with water and place in teatowel. at this point, i usually place it in a plastic bag to keep the moisture.

it must rest for several hours to soften up. depending on how dried out it is, it can take quite a few hours (like all morning). you know when to use it when it is malleable enough to roll. if you leave it too long, however, it can become too moistened — so keep checking it every once in a while.

use it to wrap up a filling as you would a burrito OR roll it up around your filling as for pinwheel sandwiches and cut into rounds.



sarita said...

:o you've left me speechless, i MUST make this soft-crisp lavash!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I've never made that bread... Again another thing to try! Yours look wonderful!



burekaboy — said...

sar - speechless, huh? i doubt that! LOL. hope you like them. as i said in the posting, they're good for making sandwiches. one lavash will make enough for 2 servings, if you cut it in half. wrap it in wax paper like they do for souvlaki or doner to keep it all together.

rosa - they're fun to make :)

as i said above to sari, try them filled with cheeses, lettuces and grilled vegetables (or whatever you like).

TopChamp said...

in the theme of tweaking things did you know that the delicious (yet really simple) fennel thing is also fab with grated carrot?

burekaboy — said...

hi tc - i'll have to try that the next time around :) wasn't sure if you liked 'the fennel thing' or not but glad to hear you did! i was actually going to buy another (fennel bulb) the other day but the ones i saw didn't look to be at their best. next time, i guess....

Yaelian said...

Gosh, your recipes always make me want to try them:)

burekaboy — said...

hey yael - LOL, happy to hear it! it's an easy bread to make and keeps a very long time without spoiling since it fully dries out; you just have to reconstitute it with water and let it get absorbed to use it [like you would pita though you don't get the interior "pocket"].

Roberto said...

You're right. One thing are the ingredients, quantities and procedure. Long time BB. May the almighty be upon you.

burekaboy — said...

hey roberto :) - of course, i'm right. LOL. ;p

glad to "see" you. hope all is well. thanks for the comment, visit and wishes.

Lilandra said...

i think i need to try yours
i tried a peter reinhart...hmm i liked how it tasted tho

burekaboy — said...

hi lilandra :) - hehe, hope you like the results. haven't tried peter's recipe for it. i usually only use this (recipe) to make 'wraps'/sandwiches. it even kind of reminds me of the trini roti after it has been softened and filled ;p thanks for dropping by - hope you and your sis & mom are well. ramadan karim to you all!

Lilandra said...

heyyy! i'm trying not to overbake these days because of ramadan. i get tired. so hopefully i'll remember to you know...find this recipe and bake it after...:-D

we're going good...:)

burekaboy — said...

lilandra - i can only imagaine. must be a LOT of baking going on in your home!! i need to check up on you and your sis to see if you guys posted some of the stuff.

glad everyone is well :) ramadan mubarek.

Lilandra said...

it's been a pretty low key ramadan...compared to my childhood memories...i've just been documenting it (some might say ad nauseum hehehe)

mom doesn't want me killing myself baking so...i've not been doing a lot...and even when i do...i barely have time to blog about it in between the mundane of ramadan! :)

chennette's not been feeling up to blogging recently...:(

thanks for the good wishes...less than 10 days to go!

burekaboy — said...

lilandra - i'll be checking it out! i know it is very difficult to do all that baking/cooking and then blog about it. holidays, though enjoyable, can be tiring and a lot of work.

enjoy the rest of your holiday! good health and happiness to you and yours.