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lavash | lawasha

Ingredients

For the khmira | flourless starter:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup 118° warm water
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the dough:

  • 27 ounces all purpose or bread flour (about 5 cups) , plus more for dusting
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • The khmira (the above yeast and water mixture)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup warm milk, heated to 118° F
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup 118° water (divided in half)

Instructions

  1. Make the khmira/flourless starter: Combine the yeast, water, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil. Stir until the yeast dissolves.
  2. Cover it and let this sit for 30 minutes, until it becomes very foamy.
  3. Make the dough: While the khmira is proofing, sift together the flour, salt, and sugar into a big mixing bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the bubbly khmira, melted butter, milk, oil, and 1/4 cup of the water. Mix everything together with your hands until it starts to form a sticky ball. If the ball looks a little dry as it’s coming together, add 1 tablespoon of the remaining water at a time until it’s the right consistency. It should be sticky and soft, but it should form a ball as you knead it in the bowl (don’t make it so soft that it starts to turn into a batter instead of a dough).
  5. Knead the dough in the bowl, wetting your hands with additional water every minute or so if it looks a little dry. Knead by pulling the dough from the sides into the center of the ball and repeating. As you knead dough will start to become more elastic and will form a more cohesive ball. Continue to knead until it smooths out and becomes much less shaggy (about 10 minutes).
  6. Cover the bowl and then wrap it up in a blanket. Leave the dough to proof for 1 hour in a warm or room temperature place. The dough will more than double in size.
  7. Shape the dough: Once it has finished rising, divide into 10 equal chunks on a lightly floured surface. Knead and form each chunk into a smooth ball by folding it in half on itself a few times, and then smoothing the surface while gathering it in at one end until everything smooths out.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough balls rise for another 45 minutes.
  9. Once the dough balls have finished rising, preheat the oven to 500° F.
  10. Place the first dough ball on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a little flour on top. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a disc with a thickness of about 1/4 inch. At this point, you can either toss the disc back and forth between your forearms, opening it up as you go (see video). Or you could continue to roll it out with the rolling pin. Either way, the dough needs to become very thin (thinner than 1/8 inch). You should be able to see light through it when you hold it up.
  11. Bake the dough: Very lightly grease the back of a rimmed baking sheet and place the stretched out dough on top, pulling the corners over the edges to make sure it stays stretched out.
  12. Dock the dough by poking a few holes in the surface with a fork. This prevents really big air bubbles from developing.
  13. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and close the door. Let it cook for between 2 to 5 minutes (keep a close eye on it), just until the dough starts to slightly brown. It will be crispy, but very slightly pliant straight from the oven, and it will become completely crisp once it cools.
  14. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a towel for 2 to 3 minutes.
  15. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  16. To serve: You can break the lawash into shards and serve them crisp, like crackers. This goes great with dips and spreads, like hummus, muhammara, labneh, jajik, banadurah harrah, and baba ganoush.
  17. Alternatively, you can rehydrate it to serve it soft. To rehydrate, evenly sprinkle a sheet of lawasha with a little water (about 1/2 teaspoon per sheet), and cover with a towel for about 10 minutes. Don’t use too much water or the lawasha will get soggy, instead of flexible. Soft lawasha can be used for wraps and sandwiches, but it also works great for the above dips and spreads.