Lavash- Armenian Cracker Bread

We never heard the word lavash outside Armenian circles until just a few years ago.
Now, it pops up everywhere from supermarket aisles to fast-food menus — and it can have very different meanings.
Traditional Armenian cracker bread, crisp to the bite and mottled with brown bubbles, is a true staple that could sustain a traveler on a long journey or a family through an even longer winter. It seems to keep forever, and can be savored as is or softened with a drizzle of water or oil.
Yet somehow in America, it has shrunken and morphed into a mere appetizer, often with the texture of vinyl floor tiles. Equally odd is what’s happened to the delicate, flaky soft version that Armenians not only eat with their meals but eat their meals with — the perfect edible utensil that can be used to pick up meats or sop up stews.
But if most Americans recognize the word lavash at all, they picture a sandwich wrap that seems more closely related to a wheat tortilla, and most likely is just that.
Luckily, we know and love yet another version of lavash that is uncorrupted by commercial success. In fact, even most Armenians aren’t aware of it.
This lavash combines the best of both traditional styles: Crisp and bubbled on top, soft and flaky in the middle. Be warned: It’s rich, buttery — and addictive.

It’s also something of a family treasure, handed down by Doug’s mother who learned it from her clan’s master chef, Aunt Baidzar Doramajian.
We’d hate to see it turned into some sort of snack cracker, or worse. So please, let’s keep this between us!

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Lavash

This lavash is a crisp, flaky cracker-bread rather than the soft, foldable type. It's great with Armenian string cheese – or any cheese you like – and goes great with a cup of your favorite coffee or tea.
Servings 6 ‘loaves’

Ingredients

  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder Measure a heaping Tbsp. of Baking Powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ Lb. unsalted butter melted – 1/2 lb. of butter is 2 sticks
  • 3 cups warm water

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg, beaten Mix egg with a little water.

Instructions

  • Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Sift the salt, baking powder,and sugar into the flour. Stir well.
  • Add the melted butter and MOST of the water.
  • Mix well until a dough forms. If the dough seems too dry, add some of the remaining water and continue to mix.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
  • Divide the dough into 6 balls.
  • Roll one ball of dough at a time into a rectangle shape, 1/4" thick, that will fit on a 16"x12" baking sheet. NOTE: Depending on how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, will determine whether the lavash will be chewy or crispy. Either way, it'll be great!
  • Fold the rectangle-shaped dough into thirds, then in thirds again, creating a little bundle.
  • Re-roll each bundle into a large 1/4" thick rectangle again. (This process helps to create flaky layers.) Place rolled dough on an ungreased 16"x12" baking sheet.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Brush the entire surface of the dough with egg wash.
  • Bake on the lower oven rack for about 15 minutes, or until bottom starts to brown. (If you notice bubbles forming on the dough within the first few minutes of baking, carefully deflate the bubbles with the tip of a knife.)
  • Move the tray to the upper oven rack for about another 5 to 10, or until the top becomes a golden brown.
  • Remove from oven. Cool completely on wire racks. Using a sharp, serrated knife, carefully cut each 'loaf' into 12 or 16 pieces.
  • Continue this process until all balls of dough have been shaped and baked.
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • Serve lavash with assorted cheeses, fruit, and your favorite coffee or tea!

Notes

Before using the baking powder, test it to make sure it is active. To do this, sprinkle a little baking powder in a half cup of water. The powder should begin to bubble and foam. If it doesn’t, the baking powder should be discarded.

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