Undoubtedly, bread is the only thing Armenians will never forget about while laying the table. One thing that you will always see in every Armenian table is again a great amount of bread.
Due to its ancient history, culture, and cuisine, Armenia is considered to be one of the oldest countries in Asia and the South Caucasus region. For a nation that has a history of thousands of years, decades, it isn’t surprising that still at the ancient times Armenians knew how to make wine and bake bread. Our traditional and national Lavash bread is one of the points of pride in Armenian cuisine. Ask any Armenian about the pride of our cuisine and they will certainly mention that flatbread.
What is Lavash?
Lavash is a traditional Armenian thin bread that represents our national cuisine and originates from Ancient Armenia. The preparation of Lavash demands special skills and great efforts. Do you know that only women prepare and bake the Armenian flatbread? This is not a rule but a tradition that comes from ancient times.
If you have read our article about barbeque, you will remember that in most cases, in the Armenian family men (fathers and brothers) make the barbeque. It is the men’s responsibility to make the required tools - ovens or the most important one - tondir (tonir-թոնիր). However, women take the responsibility of preparing and baking the bread.
As it is believed, there is an exception in every rule. Check out the below attached video and see how our brave baker artistic jumps into the oven. The video was shot by INSIDER.
How to Make Lavash?
Do you want to know the Lavash recipe? For making lavash, Armenians use simple ingredients, including flour, water, and salt.
First of all, they make dough from wheat flour, water and form them into balls. Then the balls are rolled into thin layers that are stretched over an oval cushion. After these preparations, these with a special skill slap against the walls of the tondir. Generally, tondir is located under the ground. It’s only required to wait for a minute or sometimes even thirty seconds, to pull out the already baked list of Lavash from the wall.
According to the traditions, the preparation was a ritual event in every Armenian family. The blending dough was the responsibility of the elder woman among the females in the family. As a rule, the preparation started with the rising of the Sun. First of all, they made the fire, then prayed, and went on making. The process accompanied by interesting conversations, songs, and jokes.
Many people wonder about the tastiest Armenian sandwich. Do you also want to know what it is? Of course, it is made of salty and tasty cheese, greens, (and often meat) wrapped in Lavash bread. Such simple ingredients and the morning breakfast is ready. Once you eat it, you will remember the taste forever. Guess? The newly baked bread and the natural cheese with greens make the perfect combination.
People make various kinds of deserts and interesting combinations of Lavash. One of the most preferable ones is Lavash crackers. I’m going to introduce a type of crackers that are made from the Armenian-style lavash. It is very crispy and dusted with seeds and different spices.
For making such kinds of Lavash crackers you need to mix yeast, water, flour, olive oil, salt, and honey until the mixture becomes firm. The dough is divided into sheets of pans that are sprinkled firstly with water, then with sesame, poppy, and other seeds.
The next step is to put the LAvash into the oven and wait until it becomes brown and crisp. After taking out the crispy Lavash should become cool and it will be ready to save.
Dishes that Require Lavash
Armenians eat Lavash with any kind of dish. Yet, if you want to know what dish is impossible to imagine without this flatbread, I’ll provide an answer. Definitely, it is Armenian Khash - the king of the Armenian winter table! As for this dish, Armenians dry the lists of Lavash bread beforehand and serve it with the dish. Then the dried parts are poured into the dish. Khash lovers also add garlic and salt and the dish is ready!
The next dish that requires Lavash is the barbeque. Two kings of Armenian cuisine come together when we are going to make Barbeque. According to the tradition, Khorovats becomes tasty when we put a few lists of Lavash under the deep oven (for gathering barbeque) and when we have done it we close them again with it. I promise you’re not going to forget that taste.
However, if you are vegan and get nervous about how I speak about dishes with flatbread and meat, then I have a special offer for you. There is also a vegan choice of Lavash wrap for you. What else can be tastier than the fresh baked crispy bread and Armenian fresh and natural greens or tomatoes and potatoes? For sure, nothing!
Lavash Bread: the Pride of Armenians
In July 2014, the Armenian Lavash was added to the list of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage as an expression of Armenian culture. Besides being a significant part of the cuisine, Armenian Lavash has also a ritual role in weddings. When the couple comes to the groom’s house, the mother of him puts a list of Lavash on the shoulders of the newly married couple. This is considered to be a sign of prosperity and fertility.
Though the pride of the Armenian cuisine has a rich history and ancient origin, it still remains the top symbol of the Armenian national dishes.
Where to buy lavash bread?
If you want to eat Armenian Lavash and think about “Where can I buy lavash bread?” then I will let you know. Armenian Lavash is sold in every small food store, large supermarket, and there are also special stores where they bake and sold only Armenian Lavash, various types of bread and sometimes even different pastry and sweets. You will find Lavash in almost every store in Armenia.
Published January 22, 2018
Article by Vera Mirzoyan