Lavash

Lavash is a flatbread popularly prepared using a yeast dough, perfect for serving as a wrap with various fillings.

Lastest Updated January 5, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
Home » Dishes A-Z » Lavash

Fact: Lavash’s preparation process, meaning, and appearance were added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014.

Flag of Kyrgyzstan#14 in Kyrgyzstan

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Basic Information

Lavash: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/lah-vash/

Alternative Name(s)

Lavas, lavasi, or lawas

Dish Type

Bread and doughs

Course

Main course

Mealtime

Anytime

Popular Variations

No
Origin and Region

Lavash: Origin and Region

Origin

Armenia or Iran

Continent’s Region

West Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Unspecified
Lavash Origin Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Lavash: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

All-purpose flour, yeast

Main Cooking Method

Baking

Preparation Process

The dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven or cooked on a griddle or wok.
A Deep Dive

Lavash: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional bread of South Caucasus and West Asia, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Taste

Neutral

Texture

Thin and soft when fresh, becomes brittle when dried

Aroma

Mild

Color

Light brown

Serving Style

With accompaniments and dipping sauce or as a wrap

Serving Temperature

Hot or at room temperature

Accompaniment

Vary differently depending on the ingredients

Occasions

Weddings

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Non diet-specific

Calories

234 cal per one piece (85g), according to data of Nutritionix for lavash bread.

Popularity

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Assyria, Iran, Iraq, Middle Eastern, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkey.

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Yufka
  2. Naan
  3. Tortilla
  4. Pita
  5. Roti
  6. Focaccia
  7. Matnakash
  8. Sangak
  9. Tandyr Nan
  10. Laffa

Popular Dining Area

Restaurants or street food stalls

Lavash is a thin, leavened flatbread of Armenia or Iran traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor or on a sajj.

Lavash Overview

However, modern cooking has made lavash easier to make using a griddle or wok. Interestingly, the earliest form of this thin bread was a type of cake cooked over heated rock.

Originating from the Middle East, lavash is a national specialty of many countries in the South Caucasus, West Asia, and regions around the Caspian Sea. It is especially prevalent in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey, especially as a street food item.

Also known by many names like lavas, lavasi, or lawas, the bread is crafted from a simple mixture of flour, water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Occasionally, it’s adorned with sesame or poppy seeds before baking, adding an extra layer of flavor and texture.

Lavash has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity twice: firstly in 2014 for its preparation process, meaning, and appearance, and again in 2016 as part of the making and sharing of flatbread in communities across Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey.

Aside from the detailed characteristics of lavash, you can uncover the history, usage purposes, custom associations, and accompaniments to pair with the flatbread. Then, don’t miss the pros and cons of lavash, how it stands with other flatbread varieties, the exciting FAQs, and other similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Lavash is a Middle Eastern flatbread prominent in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey.
  • Made from basic ingredients, lavash can be baked traditionally in a tandoor.
  • Lavash is versatile, used in both savory and sweet dishes, and pairs with various accompaniments.
  • Lavash holds significant cultural importance in traditions, religious practices, and art across various regions, symbolizing prosperity, wealth, and luck, and being celebrated in museums.
  • Lavash was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2014 and again in 2016.

Lavash Images

What Is The History of Lavash?

Lavash traces its origins to ancient culinary traditions of the South Caucasus and West Asia. The bread’s evolution is marked by a shift from baking bread as thick cakes on heated rocks or in embers to cooking thinner flatbreads on terracotta griddles, ensuring they cooked through without burning.

This innovative technique, later passed down through generations, became the foundation for lavash’s preparation. Commonly, the flatbread is often attributed to Armenia or Iran for its origin.

However, it’s crucial to recognize lavash as a shared heritage among several regional nations. Usually, each country has its own way of adapting lavash into the local diets.

What Is Lavash Used For?

Lavash offers a diverse range of uses across different cultures. When fresh, it’s flexible, making lavash an ideal choice for wrapping sandwiches. However, the flatbread also dries out rapidly, turning brittle. However, lavash also has various uses in different countries and cooking cultures:

  • In Armenian: Locals in villages, dried lavashes are stored in stacks, ready to be rehydrated with a sprinkle of water when needed. Then, Armenians use lavash in traditional dishes like khash or wrapped around khorovats, an Armenian specialty.
Lavash Armenia
After being baked, lavash is stacked on top of each other.
  • Other countries: In Iran, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern regions, lavash plays a pivotal role, pairing perfectly with kebabs, forming dürüm wraps such as tantuni. It’s rehydrated with water, butter, or cheese for quick meals when dried.
Lavash Is Used Making Kebab Tantuni
Lavash is used in making a delicious Turkish kebab tantuni.
  • Modern culinary: Many twists also use lavash to make pizza and chips.

Turkish cuisine even sees lavash in sweet dishes, accompanying desserts like kaysefe and helva. In addition to that, lavash is crucial in some traditions and customs of many countries.

What Are Some Traditional Uses and Customs Associated with Lavash?

Lavash is deeply embedded in cultural traditions. In Armenia, the groom’s mother offers the newlyweds lavash with honey, symbolizing wishes of sweetness and prosperity. Plus, the Armenian Apostolic Church uses dried lavash in Eucharist traditions.

In Azerbaijan’s Sabirabad District, a bride is often greeted with lavash on her shoulder by her mother-in-law, blessing her with wealth and luck. As for Novkhani, post-funeral customs include preparing ‘kyulchya’, sometimes with halva wrapped in lavash.

To add to that, the art world also celebrates lavash. Minas Minassian’s depiction of women baking lavash graces Yerevan’s National Museum of Art. With a strong bond to the culture of many countries, it’s easy to see lavash accompanying many food items.

What to Eat with Lavash?

Lavash pairs seamlessly with various dishes, here are a few examples:

Freshly Baked Lavash

Freshly baked lavash:

They are ideal for wrapping sandwiches and are often used in Armenia to encase khorovats. In regions like Iran and Turkey, lavash wraps around kebabs.

Sweet Dishes

Sweet dishes:

Turkish cuisine employs lavash in sweet dishes accompanying desserts.

Pizza Base

Pizza base:

Modern culinary explorations even use lavash as an alternative pizza base. Also, hummus is a favorite dip with lavash, with other options like guacamole, salsa, cheese, or bean dip.

Salad

Salad:

Another way to enjoy lavash is to mix the cracked flatbread with fruits or vegetables to create a delectable salad.

With that said, you should consider the pros and cons before consuming lavash.

Pros and Cons of Eating Lavash

Lavash is undoubtedly delicious, but you should consider the advantages and disadvantages when consuming this flatbread.

Pros

  • Versatility: Lavash is used for wraps, sandwiches, or even as a base for pizza.
  • Low Calories: Generally, lavash is lower in calories than other bread types.
  • Soft Texture: Its soft texture makes it easy to roll without breaking.
  • Cultural Significance: Lavash holds cultural importance in many Middle Eastern and Caucasian countries.

Cons

  • Shelf Life: Lavash dries out quickly if not stored properly.
  • Size: Its large size is potentially unsuitable for single servings or small sandwiches.
  • Availability: In some regions, it’s harder to find than more common bread types.

In evaluating the pros and cons of lavash, it becomes evident how lavash differs from other flatbread variants.

How Does Lavash Compare to Other Flatbreads?

When placed on the table with other flatbreads, Lavash has many differences with its thinness that sets it apart from many other varieties. This leavened flatbread possesses a soft and crispy profile when freshly baked.

Another feature is the cooking method, which requires a heated tandoor to cook the dough thoroughly. Additionally, lavash plays a major role in the cultures of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey.

To see how lavash stands out from other flatbreads, I’ll compare it with some of the most iconic varieties like naan, tortilla, and pita.

What Are The Similarities And Differences Between Lavash and Naan?

Both lavash and naan are flatbreads traditionally cooked using a tandoor oven to achieve the signature charred exterior. While the similarities between lavash and naan exist, they also have some distinguishing features, as shown in the following table:

While lavash and naan showcase unique characteristics and origins, it’s interesting to note how different cultures produce varying flatbreads, much like the tortillas in Latin America.

How Does Lavash Compare with Tortilla?

Let’s get to know about the differences between lavash and tortilla through this table:

After delving into the nuances that differentiate lavash from the tortilla, it’s equally intriguing to explore how lavash compares to pita.

What Makes Lavash Distinguish from Pita?

Interestingly, lavash and pita share elements that make up the dough. However, the resulting appearance and purpose of these two bread types are completely different, which are depicted in the following table:

With all of those comparisons, I hope you’re still excited to have a peek at some short questions that people often wonder about lavash.

Lavash FAQs

Yes. Lavash wraps are generally healthy when made with whole ingredients, but it depends on the specific ingredients and any added fillings or toppings.

Yes. Traditional lavash bread contains yeast. However, some versions of lavash also exclude yeast from the mix for a more natural fermentation process.

Yes. Lavash bread is made from wheat flour and contains gluten.

It depends on the type of bread. Lavash is often lower in calories than many dense breads, but nutritional value varies based on ingredients.

No, traditional lavash does not contain dairy. However, always check ingredient lists, as recipes vary based on the country it’s produced.

No, traditional lavash bread is made from wheat flour and is not keto-friendly.

No, lavash originates from the Middle East and is commonly associated with Armenian, Turkish, and Iranian cuisines.

Yes, traditional lavash bread is vegan as it’s made from basic ingredients like flour, water, and salt.

Yes. Like all breads, lavash goes bad or stale, especially if not stored properly.

Lavash bread is best consumed within a few days of purchase or baking, but its shelf life lasts as long as 2 or 3 weeks based on storage conditions.

When stored in the fridge, lavash bread lasts up to 8 weeks, but checking for signs of staleness or mold is best.

Yes, you can freeze lavash bread to extend its shelf life. Ensure it’s wrapped tightly to prevent freezer burn.

Any leftover lavash is perfectly suitable to be used for wraps, crisped up for chips, or used as a base for quick pizzas.

Adam Sam

Adam Sam

Senior Food and Drink Editor

Expertise

Food Writer & Recipe Developer, Recipe Tester, Bartender, Cooking-video Maker, Editor In Chief

Education

  • University of Gastronomic Sciences – Pollenzo (Italy) (MA Food Culture, Communication & Marketing)
  • Johnson & Wales University (US) (Baking and Pastry Arts)
  • Professional Bartender at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Adam Sam, an experienced food writer and recipe developer, is passionate about blending diverse culinary traditions, national dishes, and innovative beverages, showcasing his proficiency in both traditional and modern recipe testing.

As the Editor-in-Chief, he elevates culinary content from street food to fine dining, focusing on Western cuisine and types of drinks at azcuisines.com, and is professional in creating engaging cooking videos that simplify complex dishes and ingredients.

His passion for food is evident in his writing, where he uniquely merges various cultures, traditions, and contemporary trends, skillfully combining classic recipes with modern cooking methods.

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