The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

lavash wok saj flatbread

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

I helped a good friend plan a New Year's Eve party. We went with a Persian theme. When she suggested lavash, I was excited to give it a try. She broke out Food of Life and we found a recipe. There were two given: one was (heavily) enriched with butter and milk, the other was lean; it's basically French bread dough with sugar. We decided on the lean version.

The dough went together like any other lean dough. I kneaded it about 4 minutes in the Kitchenaid, then a few minutes by hand. Then almost a 2 hour rise and it was time to cook!

I started by cutting a ball off the dough and flattening it out. Next rolled it to about 6", let it rest a few minutes for the gluten to relax, then finished rolling it to about 8-10". After that I stretched it across my hands--a lot like making pizza--by tossing it back and forth.


Then the recipe called for a "baker's cushion". It's a round pillow with a cotton cloth tied over it. The idea is to stretch the dough over the cushion to get it round and correctly-sized. I didn't have a good substitute, so I flipped over a big, stainless bowl and put tea towels over it. Worked perfectly! You can see this is a very serious job.


Now the fun part. The recipe calls for a saj, which is a cast iron griddle that may be flat or domed. Since I didn't have one, the recipe suggested an upside-down wok. I put it over my biggest burner, put the heat on low, and it worked a treat! They only required 1-2 minutes each to cook.


And of course, the finished products. The seed mix is nigella and toasted sesame. The recipe says to sprinkle the seeds on after you put the dough on the saj, but there's no way they'd have sticked. I brushed them with a little melted butter and sprinkled after they were done.

They were delicious on their own, as well as being a vehicle for some wonderful eggplant dip, and being transformed into the magical tahdig at the bottom of the rice pot.


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