Lavaş

Lavaş

Flatbreads

By
From
Istanbul
Makes
16
Photographer
Steven Joyce

Bread is a very important part of a Turkish meal and these flatbreads are both tasty and versatile. In Istanbul they can look a little less flat: some restaurants take great pride in turning them into balloon breads, displaying freshly made, puffed up lavaş by the doors. (I also once saw one taped to the wall of a restaurant, which I suspect was a little less fresh ... ) Use lavaş as wraps or cut them into wedges for scooping up dips or mopping up sauces. You can also cook these on the barbecue, giving them a lovely smoky taste. Once the flames have died down and the coals are white, place the breads directly onto the metal rack – keep an eye on them as they may cook very quickly if the coals are very hot.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
350ml lukewarm water
1 tablespoon active dried yeast
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt

Method

  1. Mix the water, yeast, sugar and oil together in a jug. Leave in a warm place for 10–15 minutes to activate the yeast. It should form a thick, frothy head.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast mixture to the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. The dough will be fairly sticky at this stage. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 10 minutes, using floured hands and knuckles to stretch the dough out, before folding it back on itself until smooth and elastic. (If it is really too sticky to do this, add a tablespoon or two of flour to the mix.)
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or oiled clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. (Depending on the temperature, it may take longer to double in size. You can tell when it has finished rising as the dough will dent rather than spring back when you press it.)
  4. Knock back the risen dough. Divide in half, and then continue dividing it until you have 16 little balls of dough. On a floured surface and using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into circles about 20 cm in diameter and about 5 mm thick. If you want bigger lavaş, stop when you’ve divided the dough into 8 pieces and roll them to about 30 cm in diameter.
  5. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat (don’t add any oil). Cook the lavaş on one side until the dough bubbles and begins to brown, just 1 or 2 minutes, and then flip over. Once the other side has started to brown, remove from the pan and keep warm while cooking the remainder. They should still be floppy enough to fold or roll into a wrap. If you accidentally overcook the lavaş, put in a plastic box with a lid and allow to steam slightly to soften, or mist with water. Before cooking the next lavaş, wipe any specks of flour out of the pan with a sheet of paper towel, as they will burn and stick to the next flatbread you cook. Repeat until all the lavaş are made.
Tags:
Istanbul
Turkey
Turkish
Rebecca
Seal
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