Lebanese Wrapper Bread (Lavash)
This is lavash —large, flexible Middle Eastern flat breads, made from a strong, yeasted wheat dough. They’re used for scooping or wrapping up vegetables and dips. You can bake them either on a sheet in a hot oven or on top of the stove, draped over an inverted wok or on a griddle if the breads are small enough to fit. As with pita, the yeast in this dough contributes to its flavor and texture; the bread doesn’t rise when baked. From Breadtime: A Down-to-Earth Cookbook for Bakers and Bread Lovers* by Susan Jane Cheney.
Makes: 6 (12-inch) breads
Preparation Time: About 1 1/2 hours to prepare and roll out the dough; 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours for rising; 30 to 40 seconds to bake each bread.
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm spring water
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of flour, cover, and set in a draft-free spot for a few minutes to proof the yeast. Stir in one-half cup of the flour to form a batter. Cover and set it aside for about thirty minutes, until a sponge develops.
Stir in the salt. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until a dough forms. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and cover it for several minutes.
Thoroughly knead the dough, lightly sprinkling flour under it only as necessary to keep it from sticking. When the dough is smooth and resilient, form it into a ball. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it aside for one to two hours, until the dough has risen and does not rebound when pressed with a finger.
Turn the dough out and knead it a few times. Return it to the bowl, covered, to rise a second time.
Cut the dough into six equal pieces and roll each one into a ball. Set the balls on a lightly floured surface and cover them for thirty minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, with a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 12-inch circle. Stack them, separated by waxed paper and covered with a damp towel.
Preheat the oven to 500°. Bake bread on an ungreased pan for fifteen to twenty seconds on each side. Alternatively, use a hot griddle or inverted wok on top of the stove. In any case, work quickly so that the breads stay soft and flexible.
As each bread is done, fold it in quarters, and wrap it in a dry towel. Serve the breads warm.
Refrigerate or freeze the breads when they have cooled thoroughly. Wrap and reheat at 350° for several minutes.
- Here are more recipes for global flatbreads.
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