LavashWednesday, November 23, 2022
Lavash is a traditional Armenian flatbread claimed by many food specialists to be Armenian in origin, but it is well-known and prepared throughout Western Asia and the Caucasus.
The dough consists of wheat flour, salt, and water leavened only with a sourdough starter.
Once the dough has risen, it is shaped into small lumps that are rolled flat and then slapped against the inside of a clay oven called tonir. Depending on the part or region of Armenia, these flatbreads can vary in thickness, size, shape, and the method of kneading.
Because the process of making lavash is so labor-intensive, as well as time-consuming, this flatbread is typically prepared in advance. The baked flatbreads are kept in a dry place and sprinkled with water before use to restore their flexibility. Even to this day, lavash is only torn by hand and can be used either as bread, a wrap, or a spoon.
The significance of this flatbread in Armenia is reflected in the ceremonial ritual of its preparation, starting with the choice of women who are fit to make this flatbread, to the sacred and obligatory whispering of blessings or reciting of kind words while making the dough, as it is believed the dough has magical powers to make the whispered wishes come true.
As it is considered to be a symbol of fertility and prosperity, lavash has great significance in the Armenian wedding ceremonies, and is also used in traditional medicine since it is believed to have healing properties.