Armenian Flatbread or Lavash, is perfect as a wrap for lunch or alongside a hearty stew for dinner. Make it at home with this easy recipe!
This traditional thin bread is an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine. It appears alongside many traditional dishes such as lamb tagine, and because it is so delicious and versatile, has spread to many of the surrounding areas.
Armenians bake lavash recipes in a traditional handmade oven called a tonir. Members of the family keep it spotless because it’s a sacred part of their home. Its existence supports the life and health of the family and community. Today it can be found in most Middle Eastern and Mediterranean markets sold in plastic bags containing 3 foot long sheets of it!
Armenian Flatbread Ingredients
For a full list of ingredients and amounts needed, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Yeast- This will leaven the bread and help it achieve the characteristic bubbly texture. Be sure to use active dry yeast and not quick rise.
- Flour- Be sure to use a quality flour that is unbleached and not bromated. As a result, your bread will have an authentic, old-world flavor.
- Sugar- Allows yeast to rise and expand.
- Salt- The use of this ingredient should not be taken lightly. Salt is a key component in the development of flavor.
- Olive Oil- Alleviates some stickiness and creates a smoother dough.
- Optional Sesame Seeds- These are for rolling into the dough before baking.
To make this lavash recipe you’ll need:
- Electric stand mixer- If you don’t own a stand mixer, a handheld electric mixer can be used. However, you may still need to work the ingredients together a bit by hand.
- Two lightweight kitchen towels
- Rolling pin
- Large griddle or skillet for cooking. Ideally, this should cover two burners.
How to Make Lavash
- Proof the yeast.
Bloom the yeast by adding it to a mixture of flour and water. Let this paste sit out at room temperature until it is double its original size. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the room, this could be anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes.
Refer to photo 2, below for approximate before and after size comparison.
- Create the dough.
Add the rest of the ingredients to your stand mixer and combine until it forms a ball. You will know it’s ready when the dough releases easily from the sides of the bowl.
- Allow it to rise.
Allow the mixture to rest until it double sin size. Then, knead it again in the mixer, using the hook attachment.
- Rise a second time.
Divide the dough evenly into 8 balls and let them rise.
- Roll into slices.
After the dough has risen, roll each piece out flat with a rolling pin. Now is the time to sprinkle the sesame seeds onto one side if you decide to use them!
- Cook the bread.
Heat the griddle, then cook your bread carefully so that it does not tear!
Troubleshooting and Tips
- Bread burns or cooks too fast. If the surface is cooking too quickly and burning while leaving the inside doughy, try turning the burners down, or even completely off, between batches.
- Dry and brittle texture. If the bread dries out after cooking, simply sprinkle with cool water and let sit for a few minutes. This should help it return to the right consistency, chewy and pliable.
- Don’t skip the second rise. While it’s tempting to not take the time, a second rise makes it easier to work with the dough. Additionally, it creates a better bubbly texture as the Armenian flatbread cooks.
It’s a small investment of time that will pay off with big results: a better tasting, better-textured flatbread!
There are plenty of ways to use Armenian flatbread! For starters, it is delicious wrapped around fresh homemade falafel.
Need a quick snack? Spread a bit of butter over it, then top with tangy Lebanese za’atar.
Armenian Flatbread (Lavash)
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (0.25 oz) packet
- 1 ½ cups warm water divided
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting (divided)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds optional
- In a small bowl, combine yeast, ½ cup water, sugar and ½ cup flour. Stir and set the paste aside for 1 ½ hours, covered (Pic 1). This will double in size (Pic 2).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the remaining 3 cups flour, salt, oil, and the yeast paste. Using paddle attachment, knead dough for 10 minutes, until dough forms into a ball, add 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed until dough comes together (Pic 3). Remove paddle, and with hands, press dough together, picking up any flour on bottom of bowl and form into a ball. Cover with light towel and rest for 20 minutes (Pic 4).
- Remove towel and add hook attachment. Mix on medium for 5 minutes and dough is smooth (Pic 5).
- Place the ball of dough in a large oiled bowl. Coat the dough with additional oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature in a warm place for 3 hours, dough doubles in size (Pic 6).
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down to release air. Knead it again for 5 minutes. On floured surface, divide dough into 8 separate pieces (Pic 7) and roll into balls (Pic 8). To shape the dough, cup the palm of your hand over one portion of dough at a time and move your hand in a circle motion. The friction from the counter will help form the dough into a ball. Cover and let rise for 1 hour (Pic 9).
- Lightly flour a rolling pin and surface area and roll each ball of dough into a thin rectangle about 12 x 8 inches. Work in batches and keep dough covered in between. OPTIONAL: once dough is rolled out, sprinkle sesame seeds on one side, and with rolling pin, press seeds into dough.
- Place a long cast-iron griddle over two burners. Heat the griddle over medium-high heat for a few minutes or until a sprinkle of water instantly steams and evaporates.
- Place the dough on the dry griddle. The dough will start to puff slightly and get blistered, cook for 1 minute. Flip the dough over to briefly cook the other side, no more than 30 seconds. For extra browning, flip it over for 30 more seconds (optional).
- Transfer the lavash to a baking sheet and cover with a dry kitchen towel while you cook the rest of the dough. Eat the lavash soon after making it or store it in plastic bags to keep the bread pliable (See Note 1).
- Eat the lavash soon after making it or store it in plastic bags to keep the bread pliable. It’s okay if it dries out and turns brittle; just rehydrate it by misting the lavash with water and covering it with a towel to let it soften. Soon after, it should be pliable enough to roll up without cracking. If it’s still cracking, mist with more water.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.